WAP: The Cultural Checkpoint.
Vaginas are being used to break patriarchy - Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion produce the ultimate cultural checkpoint.
My swerve away from talking about female sexuality thus far is a product of two things:
1. My culture
2. My sex education at school
And really, these come down to one thing: Patriarchy.
To those who know me personally and feel I shouldn’t be talking about this – welcome to Matriarch.
Let’s be honest, WAP by Cardi B ft Megan Thee Stallion awakened something in all of us, even if it was anger. It was a cultural shift but not by new standards. Women have traditionally been ‘pushing’ boundaries whether it was wearing a bikini illegally or talking openly about vaginas in a rap video. It was only in 2014 that we were given Nicki Minaj’s thrilling Anaconda – this is nothing new. And really, this is the signature move of any supressed group who are pushing for change: it’s always confirmed by the backlash. But why does this feel so much bolder?
Well, dear reader, it’s because vaginas are being used to break patriarchy.
Even writing that is goosebump worthy. I want to write: what a welcome to the new post-WAP age, but I think we need to be more careful than ever of tricking ourselves into thinking we’re at the end product of cultural change – we’re not.
When I first watched the video and heard the song, I was overwhelmed. Not negatively, I was actually incredibly engaged and excited, but overwhelmed in the sense that this was arguably the most explicit discussion in pop culture about female pleasure that I had ever encountered. And honestly, it was electric, it was revival that hit me. Naturally, however, there was an absolute outcry from conservative audiences. How dare they talk about sex, liking it, what they want/expect, their desire and most importantly so blatantly? The horror! As if we hadn’t made room for, not only the discussion of sex in male music but often misogyny in music for years – I would recommend the Wikipedia page on misogyny in music as a starting point. And when we start to unpick this, we again come back to patriarchy.
Why is misogyny so popular in music especially on the topic of sex?
Hypermasculinity, toxic masculinity, stereotyped females, submissive/dominant culture etc. Because these sub-categories continue to promote the definition of patriarchy that men are followed by women also promoting heteronormativity.
Then why did we see those violent reactions from conservative audiences? Simply, it’s fear of a structure that serves them slipping away. And the fear is a real one because of the intelligent move Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion use here. Usually, when we want to rebel, revenge is our inclination, let’s do what they did to us back! But the class of their song is that they rapped about sex without the piping hot side dish of oppression against any other group aka misogyny, or in this case, misandry (prejudice against men).
And so, these two women have reclaimed discourse by a) bringing taboo into the forefront and b) doing it without harm to anyone else.
People, we have a turning point.
(And it probably scares those upheld by patriarchy that it was done by two black women no less)
Vagina’s should be wet!
What I think is the most comedic part about this all is how offended people are about the namesake, Wet Ass Pussy. And it’s laughable because it’s a testament to the disgrace of sex education across the world – vagina’s should be wet! And not just from pleasure but to prevent injury, to clean themselves and protect you from infections! Who knew nature could be ever so offensive… Turns out it is when it’s presented without the male gaze, without that quality assurance tick of patriarchy. We just aren’t used to it yet because we are still avoiding education on sexual pleasure, we are still hiding vibrators and we are still not celebrating female sexuality as necessary and justified in its own right.
As a comparison, not only is sex education in the UK based on and ends with male orgasms, male orgasms are synonymous with tried and tested biological necessity – apparently it’s the 3 minute starring role of a penis we should be focusing on rather than the body that grows the damn child.
This idea of shame is one that is owned by patriarchy, it’s a tool used to act on it. This is why women felt awkward watching this video, discussing it, sharing it because we are conditioned to think that female sexuality is just outright shameful. But that doesn’t mean you’re wrong not to want to talk about it. If you don’t feel comfortable to speak about your sexuality so openly, that’s okay – as long as you’re not shaming others who chose to do so. It is important to distinguish our boundaries without shaming others for how theirs might differ.
And so I argue that those who are ‘shameless’ are scoping out a space for us to live without shame.
Happy Black History month – here it is in the making.