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What's the problem with 'WAP'?

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 empowers black women

Black women are marginalised in Western society. WAP's celebration of blackness from a female perspective challenges prevailing racial bias by recognising its cultural agency.

WAP establishes female power in a male dominated genre

WAP subverts the mainstay of the genre, in which women are assessed by their sexual value to men.

WAP is a feminist battlecry

WAP legitimises the work of female sex workers, who have long been seen as victims in the West. By showing that women can choose to sexualise and commodify themselves, the song empowers these groups.

WAP represents a crisis in feminism

Both WAP's video and the lyrics perpetuate degrading ideas about women, their role and value in society.

WAP commodifies female sexuality

Sex sells. WAP's singular representation of women as sexual objects is worrisome. Its success reinforces beliefs that female sexuality is a product to be consumed.

WAP reinforces patriarchal ideals

WAP gives credence to misogynistic perspectives by sexually objectifying women.

WAP is a gross indictment of modern values

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.

WAP is an expression of rampant Capitalism

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 lies with the critics of WAP

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.

WAP critics dehumanise black women

As History Professor Michell Cresfield writes in The Conversation, the backlash against WAP exposes "the fear of sexually liberated black women".

WAP critics are body shaming women

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."

This page was last edited on Wednesday, 16 Sep 2020 at 07:06 UTC

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