"There's some whores in this house / I said certified freak, seven days a week / Wet-ass pussy, make that pullout game weak, woo."
When Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion's "WAP (Wet-Ass Pussy)" dropped on Friday, to say that the reaction was divisive would be an understatement. While several outlets chose to cover the Black-woman led project by concentrating on a cameo from a certain white woman, some decided to erase their message altogether. And by "some," we mean conservative political commentator Ben Shapiro and Goodie Mobb's CeeLo Green.
On the most recent episode of The Ben Shapiro Show, which aired Monday, August 10, Shapiro delivered a nauseatingly cardboard line-by-line recitation of the song, while its NSFW visuals played in the background. He replaced the word pussy with "p-word," referred to the lyrics as "vulgar," and took it upon himself to whitemansplain feminism. And by a quick scroll on Twitter, it also looks like he managed to dry the house for every woman watching his recap, which, while sharing a screen with Cardi and Meg, is quite an achievement.
"You f'in with some wet-ass p-word," he began. "P-word is female genitalia. Bring a bucket and a mop for this wet-ass p-word. Give it everything you've got for this wet-ass p-word ... And it gets significantly more vulgar, like, a lot more vulgar."
He then moved on to discuss how he feels the work reflects on women as "full-rounded" humans: "Guys, this is what feminists fought for. This is what the feminist movement is all about. It's not really about women being treated as independent, full-rounded human beings. It's about wet-ass p-word. And if you say anything differently, [it's] because you're a misogynist, you see."
The backlash to Shaprio came thick and fast (and included a rather spectacular remix from iMarkKeyz, the DJ and producer behind the iconic Cardi coronavirus rant remix, and the incredible burn below). In response, he took to Twitter to double down on his stance, throwing in a sardonic shout out to women's rights activist Susan B. Anthony: "Listen, guys. I fully explained on the show that it's misogynistic to question whether graphic descriptions of 'wet-ass p****' is empowering for women. 'WAP' is obviously an incredibly profound statement of women's empowerment, a la Susan B. Anthony."
The irony here is palpable. Imagine being the kind of person (man) that feels entitled enough to discuss whether a woman's project is empowering for women. To sprinkle sarcasm on commentary that insinuates that the lyrics in "WAP" discredit women's fight to be "treated as independent, full-rounded human beings," while simultaneously shaming women for embracing their womanhood. For loving their bodies and sexuality, and celebrating that. Naturally, feminism in Shapiro's world only exists inside wholesome fencing.
Also imagine having a political platform like Shapiro's and using it to discuss feminism and equal rights in the form of negative critique against Cardi and Meg, rather than, oh I don't know, how women are treated in society. About gender pay gaps, assault, violation, and murder. How he supports a president that talks about grabbing women by the pussy and objectifies his own daughter. Or, as activist and writer Raquel Willis puts it: "Imagine if more folks put their energy into ending people being violated and assaulted instead of denouncing when people embrace their bodies. Imagine if women and other folks could love their selves on their own terms without being concerned with the white cis-hetero patriarchal gaze. Imagine if folks weren't more accepting of voting a guy to office who brags about taking advantage of women than women saying how much they enjoy sex."
If Shapiro is indeed concerned with how women grow to be perceived as more than Wet-Ass P-Word, it'll be interesting to see if he decides to take it upon himself to discuss how women are referred to by male rappers, too. CeeLo Green did this while talking to Far Out Magazine recently, employing an almost certifiable level of selective memory: "A lot of music today is very unfortunate and disappointing on a personal and moral level," he said while talking about Nicki Minaj. "There was once a time when we were savvy enough to code certain things. We could express to those it was meant for with the style of language we used. But now music is shameless, it is sheer savagery. There should be a time and a place for adult content."
On the "WAP" women, Green continued: "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?”
Um. How do you talk about what cost with a man who has spit bars like this: "It's naughty, very naughty necrophilia / Without a care I'm compassionate about killing her / I'd have my way with what's left of the will of her / Cosmopolitans, and cocaine, and an occasional pill in her / When she spoke I saw a spark, but it was dark so / I drove her home when she died, sexy suicide." Asking for a friend. Leave your theories in the comments, please.
Of course, these two examples are not in isolation, but their reactions speak volumes about how much further society has to go before men realize it's not up to them to speak on how women are allowed to use their bodies. And until that conversation starts to actually happen, we're just going to play "WAP" on repeat. Pass the tissues.