If you're on TikTok like I am (along with millions of teens worldwide), you've probably heard rappers Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's new song, "WAP". The song, short for "Wet A** Pussy," has blown up on the social media platform, sparking several dances.
Many people have criticized the song as being vulgar, inappropriate, and degrading. Ben Shapiro, a well-known conservative influencer, analyzed the lyrics on his podcast, claiming that because the lyrics were sexually explicit, the song wasn't considered "feminist".
Ben hasn't been the only one to criticize the song. Many people -both male and female- disapprove of the song. But here's why I think it's a feminist anthem, and why sexual music made by women should be praised, not attacked.
Disclaimer: This article is about the sexual empowerment of adult women, not teenagers. Child sexual empowerment should not be praised: it can be considered or escalate to child pornography. But even so, teenagers and children should not be objectified by having female features or wearing slightly revealing clothing.
Embracing Your Sexuality Is Great
"Hop on top, I wanna ride / I do a kegel while it's inside / Spit in my mouth, look in my eyes / This pussy is wet, come take a dive".
We can all agree that these lyrics are certainly blunt, which may explain how uncomfortable people get listening to the song. But being sexual is normal! Women are always criticized for being too sexual, while male musicians get away with sexually explicit lyrics all the time. For example, Juicy J's song, "Having Sex," which, similarly to WAP, starts with an explicit sample: "If you believe in having sex say 'hell yea;'". Yet, there was no backlash from Juicy's release - or for that matter, any explicit lyrics of any male musician - of that song. Why? Because society considers male sexual behavior as normal and "boys being boys", while women are shamed for having or thinking about having sex.
Countless famous male artists - Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Kanye West - have all released explicit, degrading music in the past. Even my favorite artists - Chase Atlantic, Lil Skies, blackbear - they have all objectified women and received little to no criticism.
Here are some examples of such lyrics:
"Bend over, shake your ass / Shake your ass, show your titties, girl." - blackbear's "Shake Ya Ass"
"That's why I f*cked your b*tch / You fat motherf*cker." - Tupac's "Hit Em Up"
"So I approached the chick with the real pretty face / Nice curves on her with a lil bitty waist / I whispered in her ear, "Lil momma, what you drink? / I know that you're a freak." Snoop Dogg's "Sexual Eruption"
Let's also acknowledge that in almost every popular male rappers' music videos, there are always attractive models in bikinis dancing or twerking. Yet, no one bats an eye. Why? Because men are the ones creating the video, which somehow makes it okay.
Women's rights have progressed significantly in the last couple of decades, but there is still controversy about certain aspects of the movement. When it comes to topics like sex education, men still think they are in charge of women's bodies and can dictate what they want to do with them. But women are in control of their own bodies, and should still feel that way when dressing or dancing provocatively. No means no.
Women Are Objectified Regardless
If you identify as a woman, you probably have already been objectified without even realizing it. Look at the comments of a video with an attractive woman in it - you will almost always find degrading, sexualizing comments written in the comments section. Take what happened to the actress who played “Lily” in several AT&T commercials. Actress Milana Vayntrub was completely violated with sexually harassing comments on Instagram — users commenting, “Man I wanna suck on those big juicy milkers” and other sexually explicit comments about Vayntrub's appearance. Vayntrub literally made a commercial — which is her job — and people objectified her.
Women are catcalled, sexually harassed, and assaulted every day. No one deserves to be objectified, and clearly, judging by Vayntrub's situation, what women wear doesn't matter. Society has taught us that our bodies are not our own. We are taught to cover ourselves around men, to carry around pepper spray, and learn how to fight, even though these problems all stem from the patriarchy, and shouldn't be our responsibility to fix; instead, we should tell boys and men to do better.
When you teach a woman that owning her sexuality is wrong, and make excuses for creepy behavior, you are teaching her that she is not in control of her body.
In no way am I saying "Objectify yourself because society already does it". What I mean is that if you want to dance and twerk to a sexually explicit song online, you deserve to do that without being subject to sexual harassment. That brings me to my next point:
You Can Be a Sexual Human Being Without Reducing Self Respect
2020 has opened the door for sex workers - many people have started an "OnlyFans" account as a side hustle. OnlyFans is a platform in which adult users can release content - most of which is sexual - to viewers for a monthly fee. The assumption that people who release sexual content don't have any respect for themselves is absurd: you can embrace your sexuality and still have the utmost respect for yourself. Sex work is real work, period.
Stop being a Prude
It's 2020. It's time to be more progressive and allow yourself to listen to sexual music without being uncomfortable. Sex is normal and healthy. If you shame women for having sex, you're the problem. If you're a woman shaming other women, educate yourself on the harmful effects of internalized misogyny. If you're a man shaming women, here's a reminder that it's none of your business what a woman does with her body. Twerking, being sexy, or wearing revealing clothing does not make you entitled to her body.
In conclusion, "WAP" is a great song. It's fun, a banger, and has inspired multiple mashups and remixes with other iconic songs. I love listening to it in the car and watching videos of talented dancers doing the "WAP dance", originally created by TikTok user @besperon. I can't wait to hear more sexually empowering songs released from female musicians, and I hope that both female and male misogynists one day understand that women have the right to do anything, and they don't get to dictate that.
We have to dismantle the patriarchy one step at a time - "WAP" is just the beginning.