When I first heard of the song WAP and subsequently seeing its visuals trending on twitter, I knew that I had to listen to it. To kick off, the song was made by two of my favourite pop culture artists who have shifted the narrative on women’s sexual agency in the industry. Cardi B a former stripper and Meghan Thee stallion, a big bootied black girl, who have twerked their way to the billboard charts have given us a song “ Wet Ass Pussy” aka WAP. How great is this title? Two formidable badass pop stars talking about their pussies and how they would like to have it.
It is common knowledge that for some time, rap music has been staged around the sexualisation of women’s bodies and how these bodies have always been controlled by men’s. Rap lyrics that quickly comes to mind in this regard are Lil Wayne’s in the Tap out song that goes:
If you hating, you just need some pussy. She fucked up when she gave me some pussy, Say I fuck you better than that other nigga. She say tune, I’m ’bout to cum, I say, I’m cummin witcha.
The entire song, even with Nicki Minaj’s intervention, is just about making her “tap out” that literally translates to defeating the pussy and ultimately the woman. Adding to this; it is not just about the defeat of the pussy but it is also about the objectification of a woman’s body that Nicki unfortunately also plays into. She assigns value to the pussy in the form of a currency that leaves us asking which pussies are expensive and which ones aren’t. Now this is just one of the many examples of the rap songs that have successfully objectified women through their pussies.
Artists like Future have made an entire career out of objectifying women so much so that they have been certified as a ‘man of the streets’. Some people also refer to his so called teachings as the ‘Future bibles’ where these teachings are based on how to treat women as subhuman as possible. His music videos also reek of this otherness where we see women just as sex objects of men, some things displayed in the video for the amusement of men and then be tossed aside once the objective has been satisfied.
We see this with so many male artists from Rich Gang, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross to the locals; Big Nuz, AKA and Cassper Nyovest. In these music videos, even when the song has nothing to do with a woman’s body, a half-dressed woman would be seen parading around making the video more appealing. The notion that sex sells might be true here. This is especially with the notorious “Bound 2” song by Kanye West on his Yeezus album. The music video shows a simulation of Kanye and his spouse Kim making love on the scooter. What is objectifying about Kim’s body on this video is how we are shown Kim being topless on the video whilst she is humping on Kanye, with Kanye having his tee shirt on. This again is one of the many examples where men have used women as their tokens in their music videos to get attention with their work.
Returning to the WAP song, it is refreshing to see Cardi B and Meghan affirming women’s sexual agency. Rapping about one thing that is frowned upon in society, especially where women are concerned. For centuries, women have been taught that sex is for the enjoyment of men. It is as if women are bystanders in sexual intercourse. Women too are not innocent in pushing this narrative. We have seen Cardi B falling victim herself. On many occasions, Cardi B has praised her cookie for gripping whilst other pussies smell. She, as many women in society, has fallen prey to internalised patriarchy where women have sex for men. This is something that Dr Tlaleng speaks vehemently against in her ‘ A guide to Sexual Health and Pleasure’. However, I argue that Cardi B undoes this damage with the song.
The song kicks off with, “I said certified freak, seven days a week Wet-ass pussy, make that pull-out game weak,[…].” This is when we see Cardi B giving her own self a label. This is something that is rarely done in the affirmation of women during sexual pleasure. Here she describes her sexual appetite, narrating to us how much she loves sex and how she would like to have it.
In this song, we see the word “whores” being used in an affirmative light, taking away the power from men when they normally call women whores. Usually women that are called whores are women who are looked down upon based on their sexual lives. WAP totally rewrites the rules where whores are concerned. For a change, we see the men’s sexual abilities being questioned, their pull out game being ridiculed and the pussy power being great.
WAP affirms a wet pussy where women with such pussies have been called whores so many times. Even culture has been forced to take a stand and make vaginas ‘more tight’. We see this with the numerous gender mutilation practises being done in most parts of Africa on women.
An argument can be made that the song may be about making the vagina monolithic due to the power that Cardi B and Meghan talk about when they are riding a man. However, this may be a misguided argument as we listen to them giving life to the pussy. This is fantastic because here Cardi B and Meghan shine light on the pussy being a living organ, giving pleasure to women. Women here are centred as human beings. This includes having pussies that actually cream and women who scream when this amount of pleasure is exerted on them during sexual intercourse. Here, we learn of women who have full autonomy over their bodies, women who clearly communicate their sexual desires and women who use their voices to state what they want done to them during sexual intercourse – women with voices. It is also satisfying how WAP can be interpreted to understand consent during sexual intercourse. We see this when Meghan raps:
I tell him where to put it, never tell him where I’m ’bout to be (Huh) I’ll run down on him ‘fore I have a nigga runnin’ me (Pow, pow, pow) Talk your shit, bite your lip (Yeah) […].
It sorts of reminds me of Dr Tlaleng when she speaks of consent in her book. She discusses that sex is not just about yes or no but more about how you would like to have it, including the involvement of sex toys, anal or oral sex. The two women clearly communicate their desires on how they would like their sexual desires fulfilled by saying “I need a hard hitter, need a deep stroker.” Of course these desires have been scrutinised in the public realm because of the conservativeness of our society. One that restricts women in what they are allowed to say or not say about sexual desires.
Conservatives such as James Bradley (R), a current candidate for the seat in California’s 33rd congressional district and Pundit DeAnna Lorraine, who recently ran unsuccessfully to challenge speaker Nancy Pelosi in California, have called for the total ban on the song. They cite that the song promotes promiscuity, encouraging wild and unsafe sex to which Cardi B responded to as “Iconic”, and “living for it”.
What I find most pleasing about Cardi B and Meghan’s WAP is how they have used their art with lyrics and the song’s music video together. The music video is a clear depiction of the female body being the centre of attention and even though the male gaze cannot be avoided in a patriarchal society, the female body dancing to a female voice definitely comes close to ascertaining women’s sexual agency.
In closing, WAP is an affirmation to women, especially young girls, in saying that there is no shame in having the kind of sex that you love and having it given to you in the pleasurable manner that you want.
Thuli Zulu is a Candidate legal practitioner at CALS ( Wits) , An LL.M Candidate in Human Rights at the University of Pretoria and a Feminist. She is writing in her personal capacity.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Vernac News.