In August 2020, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion broke streaming world records with their rap duet "WAP". Its critics point to its allegedly raunchy video and lyrics, calling its proud descriptions of female arousal as morally corrupt, anti-feminist and grotesque. Others say that lyrics such as “I said certified freak, seven days a week” are liberating; that they reclaim female sexual agency and empower marginalised groups.
There is no problem with WAP
WAP redresses existing power imbalances in our societies.
WAP celebrates female sexuality
The song subverts mainstream narratives around sex, where female pleasure is secondary to male enjoyment.
WAP represents the decline of Western civilisation.
WAP spits on Christian America
WAP is an affront to the Christian values at the heart of modern America. Its glorification of gratuitous sex represents the eroding Western moral code and the principles that have traditionally guided it.
There is nothing revolutionary about WAP, its lyrics, or its hypersexuality. More than anything, it shows how modern celebrity is built on the unapologetic pursuit of wealth. And, the lengths its members will go to for it.
The problem is with the grounds on which WAP is being condemned.
WAP critics weaponise female sexuality
The main critics of WAP are men who are are uncomfortable with sexually empowered women. As these representations enter the mainstream, women are perceived as threat to their own dominance. It is telling that hit songs by men such as "Suck it or not" have not caused such international uproar.
Right wing commentators such as Ben Shapiro have used WAP to ridicule female bodies. As influential author Dr Jen Gunter notes, this is “the ultimate weapon of the patriarchy: to have women feel bad about our bodies – we are too wet, too dry."