First, let me say that I think Cardi B’s actions are wrong.
If you don’t know what I’m talking about, a three-year-old video resurfaced of the rapper saying that she used to drug and rob men when she was a stripper. Cardi recently defended herself on Instagram, saying that she’s not proud of her past behavior, but felt she had to do it to survive.
“I made the choices I did at the time because I had very limited options,” she said. “I was blessed to have been able to rise from that but so many women have not.”
I’m not going to go into why drugging and robbing anyone is wrong, I hope that part’s pretty explanatory. What I do find interesting is how this story has been used, mainly by men, to shove it in feminists’ faces and essentially saying, “Hey look women can be terrible too!” And if they knew anything about feminism, they’d know it’s not a movement that defends the actions of every woman. It’s also a movement that wants to combat assault against men as much as the assault against women. We know that boys and men are told that they do not experience assault, or that they are weak if they do. We understand the consequences toxic masculinity has had on individuals and society as a whole.
However, I have seen a lot of responses to this Cardi B story, many comparing it to the #MeToo movement, saying that if the roles were reversed, the man would lose his career. Others compared the situation to Bill Cosby, who drugged and raped about sixty women, destroying their lives and causing irreversible emotional trauma. Even the hashtag #SurvivingCardi was a reference to the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” which chronicled decades of singer Robert Kelly’s alleged sexual violence.
Some have pointed out the multitude of male rappers who have admitted to killing people, assaulting women, and doing drugs, with no legal repercussions. I don’t want to go tit for tat on crimes or compare and contrast the situations, though the circumstances in each are very different from one another.
I do, however, want to highlight that this is an instance where an event is used to discredit a larger movement and a deeper issue. You can condone Cardi B’s actions, call for legal action, or even use it to shine a light on male assault, but don’t use this story as a way to devalue the very real and overwhelming violence men commit against women every day.