WAP Inspired Post
Updated: Sep 13
Edited by Lauren Flanigan
Image: Atlantic Records
I know I am late to the WAP party, but I’ve been thinking about the best way to articulate my thoughts regarding the song and even more importantly, reactions to the song. I’ve seen personal social media rants and criticisms from public figures that feel that WAP is too sexualized or that Cardi B and Megan The Stallion are bad role models for making the song and video.
My thoughts inspired by the song and video are below. Before we jump in, I would like to apologize to anyone that I may have shamed in the past. There was a time when I believed in abstinence only education and had a conservative and narrow view of sexuality. As a result, I engaged in abstinence based promotional campaigns at my high school. I led an abstinence pledge campaign in response to learning that many blood donations obtained during a blood drive at my high school were unusable due to STI infection.
I am sorry if my delivery was offensive and I apologize for not providing you with all of the facts and information you needed to truly be safe. I am older and wiser now. I am also well education in public health, mental health and wellness and have learned how to properly talk about sex. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, lets jump in!
Shaming Women for Celebrating and Owning Their Sexuality is a Form of Patriarchy.
Women should be empowered to celebrate their sexuality. Whether this is abstinence, safe sex, monogamous sex, sex with multiple partners, same-sex sex, self-pleasure or asexuality. When women are empowered, they feel free to ask for what they want without shame. When women are empowered, they have the power to choose what they do and do not want. When women are empowered, they are in control of their own bodies.
Shaming women for embracing and celebrating their sexuality creates a space for people to believe that a woman’s sexuality is not hers to own. This helps perpetuate a culture in which sexual assaulters believe that women cannot say yes, and therefore, in the assaulter’s mind, when women are saying no, they do not really mean it. This is dangerous. Sexual assaulters may continue to pressure women after they say no, which may result in a violation of boundaries or rape. This is why shaming women for celebrating their sexuality is a form of patriarchy.
Patriarchy can be defined as a system of society or government in which men hold the power and women are largely excluded from it. Shaming women for celebrating their sexuality excludes them from the power of their own sexuality. There is also a double standard when it comes to sexuality.
Men are not shamed for their sexuality the way men are. Many male hip hop artists rap lyrics that are sexual. Billboard named Lil Wayne, Plies and Too $hort amongst the Top 10 Dirtiest rappers. Each of these male rappers have lyrics just as provocative as WAP’s lyrics but have not been met with the same criticism as Cardi B and Megan the Stallion per my review.
The Stanford Rape case involving Brock Allen Turner is another example of patriarchy and white male privilege. Turner was given just a 6-month sentence for raping an unconscious woman as Judge Persky felt that a longer prison sentence would have a severe impact on him. This ruling perpetuates the narrative the women are not in control of their own bodies.
Abstinence Only Conversations May Omit Important Discussions About Consent and Safe Sex.
When conversations about sex end and begin with don’t do it or wait until marriage, opportunities to discuss important topics like consent are missed.
Rape does not always look like a stranger assaulting a woman on the way to her car at night or slipping her sedative drug. Sometimes rape happens between two people that know or even like each other. Rape can also occur even if consent was previously given. No means no, no matter what the circumstances are.
If you have already said no to something, your partner should respect that. Regardless of the setting. Consider the strip club. In most strip clubs, women are profiting on sexuality. However, strip club goers are expected to respect the boundaries of the women who work there. They are not allowed to disrespect the women and definitely are not allowed to assault them.
It is my hope that this metaphor will empower you. Even if you find yourself in your partner’s bed after a romantic night or have engaged in foreplay, you are allowed to say no and to have your no heard and respected no matter how hot and heavy things have gotten in the moment.
If your no was not heard or respected, that is not your fault. I repeat, it is not your fault. Do not buy into shaming statements like “ why were you in your partner's bed” or “Why were you dressed like that?” or “You should not have been drinking.” or “You led your partner on.” No means no. Periodt!
Consider a woman that is practicing abstinence and has a partner. Imagine that her partner continues to pressure her about sex and disrespects her when she says ““no, “stop” or “I am uncomfortable.” Abstinence only conversations may lead this woman to a place of shame. She may blame herself for being with that abusive partner in the first place or assign misplaced blame to any of her actions that led to the moment in which her no was disrespected. Even worse, she may feel the need to stay with that abusive partner and pursue a marriage as a result of the forced intercourse or sexual act. Without and understanding of consent and the types of rape, it is easy to falsely blame yourself when a partner violates you.
While this scenario may not always be the truth for all women, it is still possible if women are not educated about consent and all forms of rape, to include marital rape. No means no even in marriage.
As a consequence of sexual education and conversations that omit discussions about consent and rape, there are women out there that have been assaulted and may not even realize it. There are women carrying shame and guilt that is not theirs to carry.
When conversations about sex end and begin with don’t do it or wait until marriage, opportunities to discuss important topics like safe sex are missed. Women may not be given the opportunity to learn about condoms and birth control. They may also feel ashamed or afraid to seek out these important resources if they are considering having sex or are already having sex.
This is dangerous and it may lead to unplanned pregnancy or Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Both are 99.9% avoidable with condoms and birth control. It is important to empower women to learn about these resources and to have these resources available should they feel prepared to consent to safe sex.
It is my hope that WAP will lead to empowerment based conversations about sex. A woman should feel free to celebrate her own sexuality without shame. This celebration is not an invitation for disrespect or assault. “This pussy is wet, come take a dive” can be considered an artistic expression of consent while “Quick jump out ‘fore you let it get inside of me” may be considered an artistic expression of setting boundaries and use of the withdrawal method as a form of birth control.
I hope that WAP will empower women to feel in control of their bodies and pleasure, no matter what it means to them!
Shoutout to my friend and social work colleague, CJ Washington for bringing arousal non-concordance to this discussion about sex. Arousal non-concordance is the concept of the amount of blood flowing to you genitals not aligning with how "turned on" or aroused you feel. This works two ways. You may be aroused but unable to obtain lubrication or an erection.
Most relevant to this discussion is the other form on arousal non-concordance, blood flowing to your genitals when are not aroused or you are being assaulted. Do not allow your bodily functions to make you feel bad or responsible for being assaulted. Women's arousal concordance is 10% accurate, which means there is a 90% chance that your genitals will respond when you are not aroused.
If you have experience arousal non-concordance, do not feel ashamed!