The Double Standard Within WAP

“Certified freak / seven days a week.” If you have a social media account, you likely know what lyrics follow. “WAP” by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion went viral upon release, seeping into the For You page of TikTok with a dance to match. 

But beneath the surface, past the rhythmic hip thrusts, “WAP” has been the face of controversy. The most famous critics ranging from male rappers to male politicians, have scrutinized both Cardi and Megan, which, when it comes to a song about female sexual empowerment, is anyone shocked? 

Each response to “WAP” that aims to attack the artists’ character, rather than a critical look at the song itself displays a type of misogyny that feels outdated and conservative, a relic of a bygone era where women’s sexuality was taboo. 

So why is it still happening in the year 2020? After all, explicit lyrics and innuendos have been dominating every genre in the music industry for decades. Male rappers like Lil Wayne remain notoriously raunchy, and Chris Brown, a known abuser, continues to put out albums that go platinum. 

Meanwhile, female artists like Cardi and Megan have to deal with the double standard all women must face, where sexual pleasure is okay, as long as it’s a man partaking. Because of this, and somewhat unsurprisingly, men felt compelled to weigh in. Singer and rapper CeeLo Green offered his opinion in an interview with Far Out magazine

“A lot of music today is very unfortunate and disappointing on a personal and moral level,” he said. Of course, he references the music made by three women -- Cardi, Megan, and their fellow rapper, Nicki Minaj. 

"Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, they are all more or less doing similar salacious gesturing to kinda get into position. I get it, the independent woman and being in control, the divine femininity and sexual expression. I get it all. It comes at what cost?”

A single Google search can verify the hypocrisy in CeeLo's statement. He fantasizes about necrophilia in a song accurately titled “Necromancer,” with lyrics like “I'm compassionate about killing her / I'd have my way with what's left of the will in her.” Although he’s since apologized for his comments on Cardi and Megan, this fact alone makes CeeLo’s position incredibly clear: a woman’s sexuality is only offensive when she’s in control of it. 

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro faced even bigger backlash when he decided to throw his opinion into the mix. After making an initial response video to “WAP,” Shapiro took to Twitter to fight back when people began to mock him.

“As I also discussed on the show, my only real concern is that the women involved -- who apparently require a ‘bucket and a mop’ -- get the medical care they require. My doctor wife's differential diagnosis: bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, or trichomonas.”

The internet exploded not only at Shapiro’s blatant misogyny but also at how he insinuated that women don’t experience lubrication during sex. Twitter, it seemed, was in collective disbelief that Shapiro--joking or not--felt that this would be an appropriate comeback.

Again, there lies the great loophole that ridicules women for owning their sexuality, but men can do as they please; this includes commenting on women’s bodies, how they use them, and present them to the world. The sexist double standard lives on.

One thing is for sure, though: women like Cardi and Megan are helping to destigmatize female pleasure and sexuality by pushing the envelope. That’s all any of us can ask for in the end.