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WAP, Sexism, and Double Standards

The song WAP by Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B has received a massive amount of media attention since its release on August 7th, 2020. This song has explicit lyrics that detail female sexuality and empowerment, which is an apparent taboo due to its reception. Ben Shapiro, far right-wing talk show host, even took it upon himself to break down the lyrics of WAP on an episode of his show and criticize the women for putting it out. Line by line, he analyzed the lyrics and sarcastically diminished the entire message of the song, and even diminished the movement of feminism as a whole based upon this song. He reduces the women that wrote this song into something of disgust, and describes the controversy of the song in a satirical tone that is deeply misogynistic.


The fact that WAP is even controversial reveals deep-rooted sexism and misogyny in present-day society. 


We do not see the uproar we saw with WAP with every single rap song that gets released. When male hip-hop artists release a song bragging about sex, it is praised, and nobody questions it. From the 1990s until now, men have rapped and sung about women’s genitalia and bodies without intense scrutiny from the public and even the political community. One of the most striking parallels that is a staple song in the rap community is titled Slob on My Knob by Tear Da Club Up Thugs. Most people that listen to rap music can recite at least the first verse, and it also is somewhat of a meme on social media. This song details male sexuality and violence, yet it did not receive the same negative attention that WAP did - rather, it is revered as a classic song.


When men brag about having sex with women, society honors and normalizes it. When women brag about and take control over their own sexuality, they are seen as negative role models for the youth. People say that these women sexualized themselves, but don’t look at the men who hypersexualize and objectify women in every other way. Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B are doing the exact same thing that male rappers have been doing for thirty years. Rather than listening to men rap about their bodies, they took matters into their own hands and rapped about their own bodies, yet faced harsher criticism than any man has. Men’s songs have rarely been under scrutiny by political commentators when they rap about women’s bodies; when women rap about their own bodies, they are demonized. In essence, men can talk about women's bodies, but women can not talk about their own. Makes sense, right?


The hypocritical double standards in the music industry speak for society as a whole. The misogyny we have seen with the reception of this song is telling of how society views women versus men in terms of taking control over their own sexuality. WAP is an empowering anthem for women everywhere, and should be held to the same standards as male rap.