Cardi B’s New Wave of Feminism
With their booties twerking and bosoms bouncing, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are jaw-droppingly gorgeous in the video for “WAP.” But the song — whose title is an acronym for Wet-Ass Pussy — ultimately blew the doors wide open for women to speak freely and candidly about their sexuality, making it a modern-day anthem for a new wave of feminism.
Upon its release last year, the Cardi B tune, which features fellow rapper Megan Thee Stallion, sparked discussions often absent from mainstream media and usually restricted to adult magazines. One may not think the phrase “wet-ass pussy” in itself could ever be particularly shocking — especially at time when porn is so easily accessible and men have been explicitly rapping about sex for decades. However, in the time it took for the ladies’ dangerous curves to be showcased in their video — alongside sleek leopards and tigers — Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion had nearly every conservative figure in America taking up airtime to huff and puff — and even allegedly pour holy water in their ears!
It was as if the pundits were grousing: How dare Cardi B radiate unfiltered sexual heat and commit the audacious offense of rapping about her own female body and her own lived experiences!
But is audaciousness necessarily a bad thing?
Indeed, Rep. Maxine Waters echoed the word in praise of “WAP” when the Democratic congresswoman from California said, “Now that is audacity! That is audacity. That is the ability for women to take charge of what they want to say.”
Waters went on to commend Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion for using their art to take control of the prevailing narrative about women and sexuality in hip-hop, one that has long been dominated by men.
Cardi B — a former stripper herself who refuses to hide her past in shame — not only challenges the patriarchy but is a beacon of light to all women who are tired of living in a society still being dragged down by a serious madonna-whore complex. Most importantly, though, as a sex-positive feminist figure, Cardi B is inclusive of all women and expresses this in both the lyrics of “WAP” and its video.
The clip provides a bevvy of lush and extravagant scenes and cameos from stunning women, including artists Normani, Rubi Rose, Sukihana, Rosalía and Mulatto. But Cardi B also invited beauty mogul and Keeping Up with the Kardashians star Kylie Jenner to strut her stuff — and then fought back against critics who demanded her pal be removed from the clip! Cardi B explained, “I wanted a lot of different females, not just female rappers … And I’m like, ‘These are the girls that I personally like.’’’
This spirit of inclusivity is an overdue slap in the face to those who insist women must meet certain criteria to be considered feminists or must fulfill certain domestic roles in order for society to validate their femininity. As the song’s lyrics boast: I don’t cook / I don’t clean / But let me tell you how I got this ring!
It’s true that sex-worker exclusionary feminists exist — and many are also the driving forces behind policies that ultimately limit a woman’s choices, including how she may earn money. Cardi B clearly has no time for this nonsense. As the tune says: There’s some whores in this house. Clearly, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion are proud to be alongside them. After all, why shouldn’t they be?
While some might focus on the tune’s erotic and whimsical descriptions of sex acts, the ultimate takeaway from the song is that a woman’s sexuality is a source of both power and freedom, and it’s telling that some people are still terribly threatened by that.
But for all of us “certified freaks” out there, Cardi B’s encouragement of women to embrace their bodies and sexuality without fear or shame already resonates and holds immeasurable value. However, if everyone embraced the sex-positive message of “WAP,” the benefits to society at large would undoubtedly trickle down. And if Cardi B — who’s continued the charge with her sassy single “Up” — keeps at it, our cups will runneth over in no time!
Yeah, this whole thing makes so much more sense when you realize that WAP does not represent some advertising slogan that means What About Pepsi? See, that was really confusing. … Now before you go thinking us all hopelessly aged, Cardi B did in fact do a Pepsi commercial for a recent Super Bowl, although the producers perhaps wisely let her reflect the New Wave Feminism silently. If you have ever heard a Carld B song — including most definitely “WAP” — then you will likely understand this decision. Even people born before the RAP Music craze understand the Carli B style, however.