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Are WAP reactions justified?

Cardi B and Meghan Thee Stallion’s new single WAP (Wet A** P***y) was released earlier this month, along with a raunchy music video and it wasn’t long before fans of the single started the #WAPChallenge. However, some people were not too keen on the lyrics. We take a look at whether overt sexual expression by women is accepted in this age. Warning: We have tried our best to censor any explicit language or imagery – but the music referenced is explicit.

WAP is an x-rated single containing lyrics about female sexual pleasure and the body’s anatomy – it samples DJ Frank Ski’s “Whores in This House” (1993). Many have praised it for it’s sexual expression, whilst others have taken a swipe at Cardi B and Meghan Thee Stallion for being “vulgar.”

The opening lyrics of the song are: “There’s some whores in this house (x 4), I said certified freak, seven days a week, wet-a** p***y, make that pullout game weak (ah). Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah you f****n with some wet-a** p***y, bring a bucket and a mop for this wet-a** p***y, give me everything you got for this wet-a** p***y.”

The level of detail used to describe sex and pleasure may just surprise you – WAP certainly has a shock factor – you may even admire it. However, art – of any kind and your enjoyment or disapproval of it, is subjective.

The song is certainly popular, as it had over 93 million plays within the first week of it’s release (this broke a record). The music video, which features Kylie  Jenner, Normani, Rosalia, Rubi Rose, Sukihana and Mulatto, also currently has over 144 million views on YouTube; if you’d rather not listen to the explicit version, you’ll be pleased to know the the lyrics are somewhat censored for the music video.

Cardi B and Meghan Thee Stallion’s music video for “WAP”

The #WAPChallenge is currently trending on TikTok and popular on twitter – in order to participate, you simply have to record yourself performing the known dance moves to the song – some have chosen high kicks, while others twerk or show off other dance moves.

However, some people, such as conservative Ben Shapiro have been very critical of the song, citing that it does not empower women and is too sexual in it’s nature. He used sarcasm to get his point across by reading out the opening lyrcis. He then said: “It gets significantly more vulgar. This is deep guys – this is what feminists fought for – this is what feminism is all about. It’s not about women being treated as fullrounded human beings, it’s about wet a** p-word. And if you say anything differently, it’s because you’re a misogynist, you see.”

Shapiro’s argument is a double edged sword – there are many waves of feminism. Some would argue that WAP objectifies women, and is therefore not beneficial for how women are seen and treated. Others would say that women embracing their sexuality is empowering. It really depends on what you prescribe to.

However, the focus of the female autonomy for pleasure in music is nothing new – male artists have rapped and sung about women in a sexual manner for decades. Is society as outraged or is it only a deeper issue when women sing sexually about themselves? You may recall similar reactions when Rihanna dropped “S &M”.

Cardi B defended the track on Australian radio show The Kyle and Jackie O Show . She said: “The people who the song bothers are usually conservatives or fake religious people, but my thing is I grew up listening to this type of music. So to other people, it might be strange and vulgar, but to me it’s really normal…It’s for adults, like, f**k it.” She also expressed that she hated recording the clean version of the song, as she dislikes the word “gushy” which replaces the word “p***y” in the music video.

Radio host Kyle said: “That’s how adults speak! It’s not 1970 anymore, we all swear, we all love sex, we all like to say what we think we say. I thank the Lord that people like you exist because it is what is going on in the suburbs, in the clubs, in people’s houses – this is how we are. People need to start getting used to the fact that not everyone has a stick in their a** and doesn’t want to speak the truth.”

She was challenged on the point of children’s exposure to adult content. To that, she responded: “No, of course I don’t want my child to listen to this song and everything. It’s for adults.”

We are in an age of accessible explicit content and pornography – unfortunately, it is still very easy for children and minors to access pornographic content online. There have been measures put in place, such as the 2017 Digital Economy Act – and there were further plans to push for pornographic websites to verify users are over 18 before they view content, but the full measures of this have been dropped. Children’s ability to access such content is worrying – but it is that of those who guard and care for children. Artists can choose to be mindful and tactical in the way that they discuss certain topics – but they aren’t required to censor themselves.

However, CeeLo Green (Thomas DeCarlo Callaway) seems to think differently. In a recent interview with Far Out magazine, he was critical.

 He said: “A lot of music today is very unfortunate and disappointing on a personal and moral level. There was once a time when we were savvy enough to code certain things. We could express to those it was meant for with the style of language we used. But now music is shameless, it is sheer savagery.

“Attention is also a drug and competition is around. Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, they are all more or less doing similar salacious gesturing to kinda get into position. I get it, the independent woman and being in control, the divine femininity and sexual expression. I get it all. It comes at what cost?”

CeeLo Green apologised for his comments afterwards, but his initial reaction shows that there are people who feel uncomfortable with certain levels of sexual expression publicly. Furthermore, criticism seems to be more prevalent when women are the focal point.

You may be a big fan of WAP or it may not be your cup of tea, but it has certainly got people speaking about what’s deemed as acceptable in society.

 

Courtney Carr
Courtney Carr is a freelance journalist who first began writing for media outlets at age 14, after experiencing and documenting the Tottenham Riots (2011). She is passionate about uncovering hidden stories, championing justice and enjoys singing, dancing and gaming.

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