Call it what you want, “WAP” is overdue

Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s collaboration is an unabashed expression of women’s sexuality

The single has been met with backlash.
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“WAP,” the highly anticipated collaboration between Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, has set tongues wagging over its explicit lyrics and raunchy music video. 

Aside from being an objective bop, Cardi and Megan’s track is making waves because it’s occupying a theme of mainstream music often reserved for male artists: sex.

Although we may not stop and take the time to think about it, a significant majority of the popular music we listen to about sex and sexuality is written and performed by men. From bizarre and crass tracks like Lil Wayne’s “Lollipop” to the somewhat more tasteful songs like “Versace on the Floor” by Bruno Mars, male artists have had ample opportunities to express their sexual preferences through music—with many songs objectifying women in the process. 

With an endless supply of songs catering to male sexuality, where are the songs about sex for women? 

Thanks to Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, they’re at the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

“WAP” isn’t another song about sex through the male gaze. It’s an unapologetic, carnal, filthy expression of two women’s sexual desire—and it’s catchy as hell.

To no one’s surprise, “WAP’s” success has been met with potent backlash, particularly from men. For some, an articulation of sexuality that centres on women, particularly one so explicit, has no place on streaming platforms and radio airtime.

Apparently, while sex-themed pop music that features Robin Thicke chanting “I know you want it” at women is acceptable to jam to, Cardi’s request that her partner “Bring a bucket and a mop” is enough to get Ben Shapiro up in arms.

The double-standards that exist for female artists are not anything new and yet they continue to influence our collective perception of popular music. Male rappers are celebrated for their lyrics about sex with women, yet rappers like Cardi and Megan can’t release a song about what they want out of sex without inspiring a Twitter meltdown.

“WAP” is probably the best song about pussy released in the last year—with Harry Styles’ “Watermelon Sugar” coming in second and Justin Bieber’s “Yummy” in dead last—and it’s clearly because the single is written by people with vaginas for people with vaginas.

Straight men aren’t entitled to the monopoly they have over expressing sexuality in popular culture. Women, queer people, and non-binary folks have just as much a right to sing or rap about the things they like in bed, and they certainly don’t deserve to be shamed over it. 

If you are made uncomfortable by sexually explicit lyrics, that’s okay—just don’t listen to it. If you don’t like “WAP” because it’s not your kind of music, no worries. But there’s zero excuse for participating in the rhetoric that puts down women for rapping about sex the same way men have for decades.

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