Over the last year or so, some people have found themselves wondering, “What does WAP mean?” Maybe you’re one of them! In literal terms, WAP refers to the hit track Wet Ass Pussy recorded by rapper, songwriter and actress Cardi B last year. The song is raunchy, it’s unapologetically feminist, and it won an American Music Award for Favorite Song in the rap/hip hop category. It’s also surrounded by controversy, thanks to the in-your-face vaginal theme. That controversy, by the way, is very interesting to note, particularly when we take into consideration the fact that male musicians and artists have been using similar terms (and themes) in song lyrics for years.
Culture and music are linked, there’s no way around it. Lyrics in popular songs like WAP can influence listeners to be more open or close-minded about all sorts of things, up to and including sex. Thankfully, forward-thinking musical artists like Cardi B have been taking, and will continue to take a stand against degrading rhetoric often found in the lyrics from, unfortunately, some of the biggest names in the music industry.
The Music Industry’s Unsavory History
Misogyny, sexual hostility, and casual contempt for women are deeply ingrained in the history of popular music. Since the trend has been going on for so long, its actual origins are hard to pin down. Regardless of where and how all the musical misogyny began, though, the habit of degrading women sexually in music has gone on for far too long.
Misogyny is rampant across all genres. That said, there are tons of artists who are doing things right, calling out all sorts of social issues, injustices, inequivalencies and so on. Hip hop and rap music has always been at the forefront of change, but unfortunately, the genre also holds a pretty bad record in the misogyny category, historically. As we know, though, change is in the wind, as more and more cultural attention, music included, turns to the importance of equality and empowerment for all. Example: Cardi B!
What is slut shaming? In most cases, it’s where a woman (yes, and sometimes a man) is socially ostracized for dressing or acting provocatively, engaging in what some would call “promiscuous” behavior, or simply having sex with a certain person. Sometimes, slut shaming is done by men in retaliation for a woman ending their relationship or not accepting their sexual advances. This is seen in many popular song lyrics over the last few decades (e.g., Eamon’s “Fuck It [I Don’t Want You Back]”, 2004).
If we’re going to talk about slut shaming, we have to discuss the double standard. Many rap and hip-hop songs feature the artist praising themselves for having sex with whoever, whenever. Take a look at Shaggy’s 2000 hit “It Wasn’t Me” where he brags about getting caught cheating on his partner. Some lyrics even include phrases like, “better watch your back before she turn into a killer.” The angry woman trope is so overplayed, it’s as if women only exist in two forms, the “hoe” or the “hater”. Thankfully, we’ve got songs like “WAP” to turn insults into boasts.
Encouragement of Rape Culture
Most of the millennial crowd will remember Usher’s 2008 song “Love in This Club.” He has a delusion that a girl is into him because he sees her from across a club. Or try listening to Enrique Iglesias’s 2010 hit “Tonight I’m Fucking You” if you want an example of completely ignoring the need to obtain consent. The bold lyrics imply that he has made up his mind and is going to do what he wants. He has convinced himself that she wants the same thing without even asking.
Some will argue that these kinds of lyrics actually glorify and celebrate the beauty of women, while others argue that women are treated more like property than human beings. If the lyrics aren’t bad enough, the music videos make it even worse in most cases. Sadly, watching a few such clips shows women as props rather than characters.
Even Robin Thicke’s 2013 song “Blurred Lines” song is all about confusion over consent. The lines are all about what a woman is doing to show she is interested without really saying so. Many argue that the music video is the opposite of most videos depicting women twerking, and it does seem more tasteful. BUT, there may be more than meets the eye when looking at possible symbolism. Throwing giant dice around could insinuate the women are playing games and aren’t serious about sex. Their see-through clothes might be a way to slut shame fashion choices – kind of a “she was asking for it.” One girl is depicted swinging around a sausage rope potentially standing for a woman teasing a man. The naked girl holding a sheep could represent a woman feigning innocence. Regardless of what some think the strange props could mean, Thicke has done an interview to clear things up. There’s still a possibility he’s playing dumb, or he’s clearly still “blurry” on his own material.
Misogyny in Every Genre
It’s no secret that the country music industry is no stranger to promoting big male chauvinistic tropes. Who could forget the early 2004 hit “Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy)” by Big & Rich? Back in 2014, Dierks Bently released a song where he begged an ex-lover to lie about wanting to have sex with him in “Say You Do.” What happened to consent?
Rock music also has a few groups and solo acts that unapologetically sing about rape. The Rolling Stones produced a song called “Brown Sugar” back in 1969 that is about the rape of slaves. Rock in recent years hasn’t gotten much better. Case in point: Paramore’s “Misery Business,” which features the lyrics, “Once a whore, you’re nothing more.” Leader Haley Williams has stated the band will no longer play this song live due to anti-feminist and slut-shaming lyrics.
Cardi B - What Does WAP Mean?
Jump forward to 2020! Cardi B debuted WAP featuring Megan Thee Stallion. Since 2020 was such a crazy year, we’ll give you a quick overview of the lyrics and meanings to this monumental song. While it features some vulgar language, the overall tone promotes positivity. Still, some don’t see it that way.
What is a WAP?
LIke we mentioned above, WAP stands for “wet-ass pussy.” For the most part, that’s what the song is about, but it also mentions oral sex, bondage, role play, rough sex, and making money (probably for having sex). Lyrics like, “now get a bucket and a mop,” and “macaroni in a pot,” have become iconic ways to describe what happens when a vagina is aroused.
In a way, WAP is an anthem for women to take back their sexual power. The song begins and ends with a sample from Frank Ski’s single, “There’s Some Whores in this House,” (he recorded tracks with Miss Tony, a gay man, so check that out when you have time). For far too long men have created music that depicts women as lesser for being openly sexual (and in some cases just for being a woman). Cardi B rapping confidently about her body is a message for this decade’s young women to show the world that talking about sex shouldn’t be considered taboo.
WAP has been highly criticized by many, but most notable outcries have come from social conservatives with political platforms. They’ve claimed the vulgarity in Cardi B’s and Megan’s lyrics stem from lack of religion and absence of father figures. Both these claims are contrary to the actual lives of these two women.
Others have brought forward health concerns about the reasons a vagina would be that wet. Many claimed an STI or other health conditions were the only reason someone would need a “bucket and a mop”. The sources of these claims clearly missed that these are figures of speech, the same way a man might exaggerate the size of his penis or how much semen he produces.
Why the Controversy Shouldn’t Exist
Cardi B is not the first woman to rap about sexuality (Missy Elliot deserves some heavy credit for 2002’s Work it, for example), but it’s nice to see that she’s being recognized for making the world openly admit that it’s not a bad thing for women to be overtly sexual.
Should it really be that shocking for women to use the same terms as men to promote empowerment? “Get Your Freak On” is another controversial song penned by Elliott. Cardi B possibly even throws a nod to Elliott with the lyric, “Big D stands for big demeanor,” as Elliott often goes by “Misdemeanor.”
Taking Control of Your Confidence and Body Positivity
If we can learn one takeaway from WAP, it’s that we need to exude confidence in our bodies. It’s time to promote positive self-image about everything to do with sexuality, whether you have a penis, a vagina, or other genitalia. To do that, you don’t need to downgrade other sexes and gender identities. So how can you learn to love yourself sexually?
How to Love Your Unique Sexuality
Learning to love yourself can be a struggle for some. There are a few things you can do if you’re struggling to feel sexy or enjoy yourself.
- Masturbate – finding out exactly what you like will help you avoid frustration and appreciate that part of yourself more
- Practice self care – taking time to destress can help you think more positively about yourself, because you are worth the time and effort
- Take pictures of yourself/wear lingerie – even if you’re single, you can still wear lingerie and take pictures of yourself in sexy poses to discover what you love best about yourself
- Words of affirmation – telling yourself every day or journaling about what you love about yourself sexually can help you overcome a negative mindset
How to Get a WAP
If you’re experiencing a medical issue that is affecting your sexual function, you should seek care from your doctor or OBGYN. They can point you in the direction of medications, possible procedures, or therapists to help treat your specific conditions.
If you’re not experiencing any health-related problems, you can focus on strength training.
You can try Kegel exercises or use products like ben-wa balls. If you’re experiencing a pelvic floor that is too tight and possibly painful, you can try vaginal dilators, or practise with smaller dildos and penetrators until you’re comfortable. Find out more about strength training for your vagina.
People with penises can also do Kegel exercises. If you’re looking for help with making your erection more pronounced, a penis pump might do the trick. Cock rings can help you maintain your erection alone or in combination with a penis pump. For more ways to give your pecker a pickup, check out some tips in our article on Strength Training for Your Penis.
Trust Your Self Empowerment to PinkCherry
Trying to find out how to get a WAP? Some other helpful tools in having great sex come in the form of lubes, female enhancement, and delay sprays. There are also flavoured lubes and throat sprays for enhanced oral sex. PinkCherry provides a wide variety of sex toys and sensual products to help give you or your partner the “WAP” or the “king cobra” you’re aiming for.