For the life of me, I can’t, even with my fair level of intelligence, understand a lot of the uproar about Cardi B’s new song. Specifically, I can’t understand why much of the harsh criticism has come from older white men in the media (through a channel I don’t have to mention, and for a party I don’t have to mention to be understood) and why this song has just made them lose their minds a little bit and want to keep talking about it. Why talk about this song when we are in one of the most tense time periods in history, with the Pandemic, protests, wild fires, and everything under the sun to make it to gain news ratings. When I think hard about it, of course, this is just what I’m seeing personally, it appears that it’s simply the issue of women talking their sexuality, their sexual preferences, and how they embrace them. Even just talking about straight forward “vanilla” sex seems to set them off for some strange reason, let alone anything like B.D.S.M. being brought into the conversation. There just seems to be an issue for them, with women, talking about sex.
Well, even though there are much more pressing matters to talk about in the world, this is an important debate to discuss, so let’s get started shall we.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, a female musician by the name of Cardi B. released a very provocative song titled WAP, which if you’re confused about what that means; it’s referencing what happens to a woman’s genitals when she is sexually aroused, so I don’t need to spell it out for you. If you still don’t know, just go look it up. The song has hit number one on the billboard charts, has been shared by millions, while also creating some controversy among older and more conservative individuals. While there is a valid argument to be had about young listeners possibly being exposed to music or material that might be too mature for them, the backlash towards this song seems much more aggressive than just a concern over kids, and stems from a much broader issue that’s been taking place for many, many years. The issue of attempting to limit the exposure of female sexuality to the public in general, for the reason it doesn’t paint the picture of what these men find to be nice, classy, ladies.
One of the more talked about statements made about the song was made by Ben Shapiro for his internet show. One the show, he read the lyrics to the song, awkwardly trying to censor the most explicit portions of the song. After doing so, he said this:
“This is what feminists fought for. This is what the feminist movement was all about. It’s not really about women being treated as independent, full rounded human beings. It’s about Wet Ass P-word. Anything different is because you’re a misogynist, you see. It gets really, really, really, really vulgar.”
He then later stated in a tweet all the illnesses that can be associated with having a WAP, based on what he claimed his wife, who’s a doctor, told him.
There are a million things wrong with this statement. But before getting into that, the question I want to know is who really cares? Why does Shapiro care so much about this song, when so many other things in the world are going wrong and are worth talking about? However, since he’s opened himself up, and many others with the same thought process, to a debate, I’ll give them one. One that might make their heads spin, even if it’s something they’ve been told a million times.
First of all, his condescending attitude about what feminists fought for or what they haven’t fought for, is very ignorant, and close minded to the many different shades of feminism.
I’ve mentioned in a previous essay how my own personal approach to feminism comes from a very sex positive perspective. There are feminists who disagree with me, I’m sure of it, which is fine and they’re more than free to do that. Personally, I love the song. I’m not going to say it’s the greatest song in the world, but it does have a great sound, the rhymes work very well, and above all it’s a song that knows exactly what it is, a song about a woman who enjoys sex. Where’s the problem in that, when you consider all off the songs about men who enjoy sex get little to no backlash? A woman should have the right to talk about sex in just as vulgar a fashion as men have for years, without any shame behind it. To say they shouldn’t talk about it or sing about it can be very damaging. Of course, not everyone is as open about the topic of sex even if they enjoy it, and that’s also fine, every person has their boundaries. It’s when one tries to say “NO YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT SEX” where the oppression of a woman’s freedom with their bodies can lead to some scary territory, the kind of territory where women feel ashamed for their sexual interests because they’re not being “good girls”.
Why is it that women, who have the power to give birth to another human being should they choose to, are often considered second class citizens in most instances, let alone when it comes to talking about their own natural sexuality? The answer to this, is a large one, and can take many essays to feel it’s been covered completely, but to start, we have to go back to where this all started.
White, apocalyptic, patriarchy, the forces who started this country, or better yet, stole it from those who were here started it long before them. Women, for many, are the ones who stand behind the great man, who cook the nice dinner for the man’s colleagues, who make the beautiful babies that will tie together the image of the beautiful ideal nuclear family. All of these things are fine for women to do, if they should decide they want it. However, for it to be the first thought that comes to a man’s mind when he sees a woman, is something that causes problems; the reactions to this song being a prime example of men being unable to accept women for anything outside of the 1950s housewife, while still being unable to stop talking about songs like WAP. I say white because much of the criticism has come from white men, there haven’t been many, if any, harsh reactions like this from black commentators. They have either praised her, laughed at the reactions of others, or have just moved onto something actually worth talking about. I say apocalyptic for the reason that this kind of black and white thinking is what leads to women having their rights taken away, such as defunding Planned Parenthood, or banning abortions all together, taking away rights when this particular class of men have no bearing on what a woman does with her body. If these kinds of rights get taken away, there will be a lot more stories of unwanted pregnancies and women being unable to do anything about it, other than go somewhere else to fix it. I say patriarchy because that has been the construct of how this and many other countries works, men have been in charge, and the women have been there to offer the support when asked, but not make any of the major decisions. Men have been the one more often than not believed, when a woman cries she’s been abused, or she’s been raped. These are the kinds of issues worth talking about, not about whether or not a song will turn “good girls” into “vulgar whores”.
I’m sure Cardi B. hadn’t intended to start any huge debates with this song, but instead make something fun that other women could enjoy and relate to. But since the conservation has started back up (since it’s never really ended) it’s more than worth taking the time to at least have the conversation like adults. It’s sex after all, we should all be able to talk about it like adults, shouldn’t we?