If Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion were men, we wouldn’t be talking about WAP right now, says Feminists for Liberty’s Kat Murti in a BoldTV debate about the representation of women in music, featuring conservative musical artist Joy Vila, who made international headlines by wearing Trump dresses on the red carpet.
Is the song itself feminist? Well, sort of. On the one hand, it undeniably caters to the male gaze; on the other, it does so in a way that pokes fun at the “video hoe” trope and reclaims ownership of women’s sexuality while putting the focus on their pleasure.
Where previous hits have slurred “whore” in an attempt to degrade women men sexually desire, WAP’s chorus cheerfully embraces the word as a celebration of women’s sexual empowerment.
Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro says, “This is what the feminist movement is all about. It’s not really women being treated as independent, full, rounded human beings.”
But, he’s wrong: a woman’s sexuality IS a part of what makes her a full, rounded human being. There is nothing inherently shameful about women expressing and taking ownership of their sexuality.
It has been widely acceptable and encouraged for men to express themselves in this way for decades, and, if anything, songs like WAP are a reaction to the centuries of women’s agency, particularly sexual agency, being taken from them, by the oppressive of a patriarchal state.