Raising Boys in the Age of WAP

So – it’s been a week or so (maybe more, I dunno) since Cardi B’s new single WAP debuted at the top of the streaming charts. Initially, like many people, I didn’t get the buzz. After seeing the video (with its edited lyrics) I could understand a little bit more. But still — I’m a big music nerd and I know that you had sexually explicit pop songs back in the 1930s even. One of my favorite Trojan Box sets is the X Rated Box Set which includes such gems like Wreck A Buddy by the Soul Sisters.


Now, let me just get this out of the way right now. To those who are judging or more prudish and coming with the argument that religious people don’t tolerate such filth; I do not totally disagree. But there are two things that sort of overt take that argument for me: #1 – Sex and sexuality are not shameful but beautiful and #2 – I don’t want to be held to anyone else’s moral standard so I’m not going to hold others to mine.

Now….more specifically….about WAP…..

The Good

Almost since the beginning, men in hip-hop have been bragging about themselves, sexuality included. It’s a complete double standard to have an issue with Cardi B and Megan The Stallion for this song when men rap about giving chicks roofies and gang raping them. I think that the aforementioned is much worse them two women rapping about how lubricated their vaginas get. I would stop short of calling it a ‘female empowerment’ song, but it does level the playing field in mainstream rap quite a bit.

The Bad

Well, it is just downright vulgar. No question about it. The lyrics are not something that you would repeat in polite company. Being empowered in your sexuality is one thing; but reducing sex to the level of body features and physiological reactions is unfortunate. You will never reach a nirvana level of sex on that alone. There is a huge mental component. And a part of that mental component is trust and comfort – which is completely glossed over in songs like these.

The Ugly

WAP‘s full effect comes not only with the song alone, but together with the video, it’s making splashes. I have to admit, the parody and reaction videos on YouTube are pretty funny. But overall, I was disheartened when watching the video. I mean you are presented with a generally unrealistic presentation of the female form (I know, Megan hasn’t had the plastic surgery like Cardi, but even the makeup and hair extensions — ugh). It makes men push their ideals of sexy further into a fantasy land; and it makes women feel like they fall short when their bodies fall short of this ideal.

Ladies, you aren’t a sex goddess until you can do splits in the bedroom!

In spite of running what I would like to think is a ‘religious’ household, I’m not going to delude myself for a second that my boys are going to be completely sheltered from the sexuality in pop culture, graphic language about sex, or even pornography. My main concern is that they will open themselves to learn that there is more about sex than what you hear about in music; what you see in movies; and even what you hear from your adolescent peers. We can’t allow WAP and the like to be the primary portrayal of what sex is all about to our children.