The Double Standards for Women in Music
How far is too far ?
On August 7th of 2020 all social media outlets turned their heads to the release of rapper/songwriter Cardi B’s W.A.P music video, featuring fellow rapper/songwriter Megan Thee Stallion. The abbreviation “W.A.P” stands for “Wet Ass Pussy” ( Heard repeatedly throughout the song, along with other sexual innuendos and incantations ) which has earned it a claim of over the top vulgarity and obscenity. However, following the mass criticism and harsh critiques the true problem within, not just the music industry but society as a whole, reared its ugly face. Sexism, Misogyny, Insecurity, Dependency, Ego, and Masculinity v.s Femininity.
Sexism and Misogyny when it comes to female lyrical freedom
Dainty, delicate and codependent are the themes believed to be synonymous when referring to women. They are not allowed to be emotional, empowering, independent, or self serving. Wherever there is a powerful woman there is a story of triumph earned through severe tribulations and disadvantages that she fought through in order to obtain her power. Sexism (the discrimination, stereotyping and prejudice against the sex of a person) and Misogyny (the hatred and disdain for women) have worked hand and hand for centuries to keep archaic ways of thinking upheld. Not to the extreme standard it was before, but both still have a strong grasp within society that affects women of all trades today, most observably within the music industry. Men in music have profited off of talking about women’s bodies for years, with multiple songs solely based on receiving sexual polygamy, praise and rewards of lust from women. However, when a women makes a song empowering herself or sexual life she’s branded as distasteful, a failed example for the kids, and somehow sexist themselves for not including a mans role. Men in music can get the excuse of “it’s just story telling ! They’re reflecting on past encounters ! Their lyricism is for male understanding !” Then why are women who do the same met with “ You're suppose to set an example for young girls ! This is outlandish and too far ! People can’t relate to this, it must be censored !” ? Women’s promiscuities are seen as vile and contradictory to their stereotype of being orderly and secretive while men get praise for that very thing, promiscuities. Multiple songs from male counterparts involved the word and obsession with “pussy” (something no man has ownership of) yet over history’s course it seems to be a trademark only they are allowed to speak on without resentment or consequence.
Male Insecurity, Male dependency, Male Ego
Male’s overall sense of self is a huge driving force for the discrimination against women. The insecurity of women thriving without them, the need to be depended on in order to fill the niche of being a provider and having control, coupled with the typical male ego of having to be an alpha and in charge, further perpetuates harsh critiques on women’s business. When it comes to women operating as sole providers for themselves or obtaining a solo sense of euphoria, men are quick to delude and slander women’s actions. In music, it’s rare for men to talk positively about women let alone defend female songs that are labeled under vulgarity as their songs are. I’m sure we’ve all heard of cancel culture and it’s reach to uphold accountability and shine spotlight on morally degrading subjects, so why are there so few men “cancelled” for objectifying women in music ? The primary answer to that is because they’re masculine straight men, which is looked upon as the greatest thing in the world of machismo. Speaking out against them would be viewed as being against the male culture yet women like Lizzo, Megan Thee Stallion, Kehlani, Cardi B, Beyoncé, Rihanna and multiple other artist get hate everyday for seemingly just being successful and self loving in a “mans world”. When songs fail to include the role of men as pleasure providers or the focus is away from male genitalia regarding a women’s intimate life, the song is deemed as obscene. When a song features men upholding traditional gender roles or being the center of attention then it passes under the radar and is acceptable. Women are expected to “fix” broken men, be healers, therapist, doctors, their entire livelihood is “suppose” to be catering to men’s needs as a service provider yet their mental, physical and emotional health and needs are suppose to be secondary.
Masculinity V.S Femininity
Masculinity (attributes and qualities regarding being a male) is never suppose to be an opposition to Femininity (attributes and qualities regarding being a female), yet there seems to be a constant war between the two. Both are prone to having toxic and abusive traits applied to them but majority of the assault and offense comes from toxic masculinity. Within mainstream culture, as established before, women are suppose to be hero’s to fix men’s blights, be mother figures to children they never birthed and teach love while expected to neglect themselves. Femininity and the ideation of self love, self acceptance and self approval are seen to be weakness in the eyes of a toxic masculine man. For women to be well versed within their self image is viewed as to degrade what the idea of a man is. Anything regarding respect and protection of women has earned multiple discriminatory titles and accusations like “not being a real man” or to take away ones “man card”, demasculating and alienating them from the socially accepted pack. Chivalry in the modern age has been targeted by toxic masculinity leading a wave of boys to believe this behavior is what’s standard to survive in the world. As a result, when women get a song signaling their call for feminity and to embrace themselves the direct result is a negative response from the boys and broken men who were raised to take that as a threat. The immediate reaction is to dogmatically demoralize any lyrics that can provide something incomprehensibly important to women. Their masculinity gives them a sense of false entitlement because they believe their principles and what they know is concrete judgement. The double standards when it comes to women making celebratory songs, remarks, or acts of self indulgence will always be met with rebuttal unless sexism, misogyny, and toxic masculinity are acknowledged within, not just the music scene, but the entire sociological climate.