“Bring a bucket and a mop,” Cardi B instructs in her latest #1 hit single WAP, featuring Megan Thee Stallion. You likely don’t need for me to tell you what exactly needs to be cleaned up, because this song has been blasting from every car, phone, and news station, but I’ll break down the acronym anyway: she’s rapping about her Wet-Ass-Pussy, and it’s caused a nation wide stir, some in pure celebration (hi, I’m in that camp) and others in complete and total outrage.
The music video for this bonafide hit takes place in a CGI mansion, and features Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion seductively dancing in matching ensembles, occasionally soaking wet, momentarily lounging with some slithering snakes, and popping in on talented up-and-comers like Normani and Rosalía (okay and yes, there was a Kylie Jenner moment too). Nothing about it was out of the ordinary, as it had all the makings of a smashingly successful summer rap video — but the backlash was swift and very, very angry.
Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson said he refused to say “wet ass pussy” on the air. “Can you imagine what this is doing to young girls?” he asked his television audience, dumbfounded. “Cardi B & Megan Thee Stallion are what happens when children are raised without God and without a strong father figure,” tweeted U.S. House candidate from California, James Bradley. The outcry continued around a video that was sexual and playful, but not particularly groundbreaking (don’t @ me, I still loved it!) — what truly seemed to alert and anger folks was that two women were not only celebrating their vaginas, but it’s wetness, which happens when women's bodies are experiencing desire and pleasure.
We’ve seen outrage like this before, directed at the likes of Nicki Minaj, Miley Cyrus, and Janet Jackson, to name a few, and the criticism isn’t subtle: she’s showing too much of her body. Her lyrics are too provocative. Her dancing is too suggestive. What are young girls around the world going to think? I went back and tried to find any critiques of Justin Timberlake after he released Future Sex/Love Sounds, and all I can find was universal praise.
Like the simultaneous criticism and praise it’s receiving, WAP is also direct. The song contains thrillingly specific descriptors and gleeful vulgarity. But beyond all else, it's a celebration of female arousal, which is rarely centered in pop culture in such direct terms. Not only do Cardi and Megan map out their sexual fantasies throughout the song, they also overtly reject traditional gender stereotypes. “I don't cook, I don't clean/But let me tell you how I got this ring.” WAP is a declaration of women owning their sexuality, and reclaiming language that has been traditionally used to demean them. Cardi B dares to push the envelope, committed to bringing women's pleasure to the forefront of everyone's mind during this particularly gloomy summer.
While we’ll continue to blast WAP on repeat, it's important to remember not everyone with a vagina has the ability to get wet naturally. In fact, about 17% of people with vaginas experience vaginal dryness, While vaginal dryness can be caused by a number of different factors, a good lube can typically help you have comfortable, enjoyable sex.
Whether you have a naturally wet vagina or it takes you an additional step to get there, using direct communication about your sexual desires, like in the lyrics of WAP, can be beneficial for everyone.