Picture of Meghan Da Stallion and Cardi B vs Ben Shapiro

#NormalizeWetAssPussy, or How Art Changes Culture

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It’s 2020 and like everyone else, I want to talk about Wet Ass Pussy. But, since I don’t have a pussy myself, I just wanted to read some feedback on how the song may affect our culture.

“I’d say that the song is good for feminism and that the backlash has proven that a lot of men are still afraid of female sexuality.”

“It honestly irritates me quite a lot how a woman singing about female genitals is ‘taboo’ – yet male artists who’ve been doing it for years and years tend not to get dog piled over it.”

“sure – it’s been super fun to watch conservatives online lose their minds over it. Part of me just thinks that when musicians either sing or rap about sex and genitals – it’s because it’s the easiest way to make bank on it. “Sex sells” and all that…and, I guess I just don’t find artists singing about women’s genitals in the interests of boosting more capital especially empowering.”

“Very fucking sex positive feminist and you can really tell cardi b used to strip if you have been a stripper or something too. I have done sex work and her lingo is 100% what you’d use for talking up a client and getting them horny do they’ll pay you.”

“I don’t really think it’s extremely feminist. It’s just kind of shocking, which maybe starts a conversation and hopefully the right one.”

it’s ageist. It can be a bit triggering. Surgeries can take away WAP. Where are trans women in this story? Is WAP a state of mind versus actual fluid? Are women less sexual because they do not produce copious amounts of lubrication?”

“I see no issue with the lyrics I heard Ben Sha p word say. If anything I love that it highlights the obvious disparity between men vs women with sexual openness. Women aren’t allowed to be horny in the same ways men are and I’m thrilled that WAP is changing that.”

“The feminism that calls WAP “sexual empowerment and liberation” is liberal feminism, whether people are aware of that reality or not. The complete lack of analysis…avoidance of analysis in fact…gives that away. Marxist feminism exists but it’s pretty marginalised and has little mainstream voice. Likewise with anarcha-feminism. A lot of lefties just take liberal feminist ideas on board without questioning them. I guess because liberal feminism is what dominates the mainstream and the only visible alternative is man-hating TERF shit.”

“the song is them speaking from their perspectives about their bodies. they aren’t talking about other women or comparing themselves to other women, or defining who counts as a woman. honestly i think THAT is the thing about the song that’s most feminist.
“they’ve not flipped anything on its head. Female sexuality is a commodity. To be female and just cash in on that commodity is not empowerment. Nothing has changed. It’s like porn made by women that exploits women is still exploiting women. And all of this viewed through the eyeballs of men still elicits the same reaction. Is a female pimp any better than a male pimp?”

“I also think an intersectional approach would be useful in this context, how women of colour have always been shamed for expressing their sexuality or being ‘hypersexual’, I think that’s what most of the backlash/Shapiro shit storm is about.”

“there’s nothing appalling or new about sex being a subject of art and it’s almost always black women who are told they are letting women down or selling out when they express their sexuality in their art. Which yes, is for sale because we live under capitalism and that’s how it goes. But there has always been art about sex and it’s not for anyone else to say whether it’s a cynical money grab or artistic expression.”

“Women of color have had it bad enough when it comes to how their bodies have been used and abused symbolically and physically in this world the fact that they are the most powerful voices in the sex positive movement and are pioneers in pushing the boundaries of propriety in art is a fucking triumph.”

“It fights back against the perception that sex is something that is ‘done’ to women.”

“The fact that all popular art in our world is subject to commodification is beside the point. Of course it’s commodified. There’s no way to step into popular culture otherwise under capitalism. There’s no way for any of us to make a living other than to commodify our labor and/or art.”

“The important thing is that the song is fun in a way that’s seeming to resonate with women and that’s vital to understanding art’s value within feminism: looking at how women respond to a work of art, rather than determining the art’s worth purely by its content.”

Here’s what I’m thinking, watching the outrage and spectacle envelop social media: Wet Ass Pussy may be a sort of feminist jam, or at the very least, an opportunity to start a conversation. Even the title itself is symbolically expressive of (enthusiastic) consent.   I feel like there’s a fairly big correlation between wet ass pussy and (enthusiastic) consent, but also, a correlation between going in dry and no consent.  I say correlation because even wet ass pussy isn’t consent and vice versa.

Beyond that, it’s also symbolic of and correlated to “female” sexual pleasure as well.  I wish there were easily a less gendered way to say that.  It’s symbolic of pussy pleasure.  That’s better, I guess? Let me know in the comments.  I’d also like to point out here that even if this is true, W.A.P. isn’t the best way to talk about or imply consent because not all bodies work the same way.  Instead, I think it’s more representative of our cultural assumptions.

One of the women who replied put it like this: “It’s not just consent, it’s women declaring unapologetic sexual pleasure, action, and agency, without permission from anyone else, and any concern for the shame that is directed toward women for having sexual desire in our culture. In the context of a sexist, patriarchal society, that’s a feminist and radical stance.”

Normalizing women being able to talk about their sexuality in a way that can be empowering for them can cause a change in the culture if enough people are forced to think about it.  It’s implicit in most art, the desire to broadcast some deeper message to influence society, Why else would the Department of Defense fund the growing war movie industry?  Why else would Picasso have made one of his most famous paintings about war?  It’s not that all media has a serious cultural message; some of it is made purely for profit.  And even within that, the writers and producers might leave their mark on it in a way that changes more than just its profitability.

Meanwhile, fascist dictatorships often crackdown on freedom of the arts as a way to control the cultural message.  The Nazis declared much of the German art scene “degenerate” but they also made a propaganda film whose beauty, or at least, technical presentation amazed the film industry of the time. 

Even before that, in America, the first motion picture that wasn’t silent was the high budget and revolutionary Birth of a Nation; a film that not only celebrated the KKK but established many of early films racist stereotyping of black Americans, and boy was there a lot of blackface.  The movie was a great success despite the story and may have helped normalize the KKK’s racist violence for a generation of Americans.

I don’t mean to celebrate those films, or even say they’re worth watching.  But waging a political war through modern mass media is a story as old as mass media itself.

So, might Wet Ass Pussy empower women all over the world to take charge of their sex lives?  It might.  If you think of media as a carrier for a message, it’s more likely that message can connect with people and spread based on the number of people who see it.

I think WAPs greatest power in this respect is how quickly it became a series of popular memes.  We often underestimate the power of memes to shape cultural discourse.  For better or worse, “Epstein didn’t kill himself” has survived by morphing into Q Anon and #saveourchildren, firmly keeping the issue of pedophilia in the public discourse over the last few years, though several high profile accusations, including some made against US president Donald Trump probably helped as well.

And it is my belief that this memeification was at least in part the intention of the song to begin with, albeit probably for marketing reasons. 

But the author is dead, right?  


The theoretical death of the author is a metaphor for his work not being his own, but that it is within a larger system of understanding, be it culture, other literary works, or even just the mind and experiences of the reader.  

It matters as much how the audience perceives it and internalizes it as what the author might have intended, or as one woman put it, “I find the song empowering & megan’s bars are so fucking good. i think its a feminist song bc it’s bringing explicit female expression of sexuality to the mainstream.”

A concept that’s been thrown around a lot over the last few years is normalization, though in the context of how people like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro are normalizing fascism. But normalization can work within a culture to a positive effect as well.  The rapid spread of this song in the cultural conversation may begin to normalize a woman’s ability to talk about her body on her own terms and be respectfully heard.  And it’s not just about letting them talk about their wet ass pussies, but more broadly their ability to express their experience of sexuality in the same way that our culture has allowed men for so long.  

And to further normalize listening to the lived experience of women, I’d really like the cis men in the audience to take a lesson from this video: when a topic is specifically more significant to women, ask them to express their feelings about it.  Give them that opportunity to say the things they are afraid to shout into the void of social media.  Normalize not only women being listened to, but cis men reaching out to try to better understand the female experience.  Be proactive in reaching out to give them a platform.

It’s because of its brilliantly designed and bravely executed social marketing that we’re all talking about this song right now.  I probably don’t have to tell you how viral this song has gotten following its release, but I would like to talk about why.

It’s obvious that sex sells, but more and more in our increasingly polarized culture, so does outrage, and this song seems to be designed to get the outrage of the misogynist white male, especially online.

(Clown on Ben Shapiro)

I just want to say, for someone who so often exaggerated his statistics, I’m shocked he doesn’t recognize obvious hyperbole.  Shocked, I tell you.   

I really like how over the top and hyperbolic some parts of the lyrics are.  It’s like aversion therapy on a large and indirect scale.

Yes, it’s a bit in your face, but I for one don’t really have any problem with having wet ass pussy all in my face.

I think the possibility of this having some positive effect might be most evident based in part on who it offended and why.  People like Ben Shapiro and conservatives in general have an obsession with culture and especially how it’s portrayed in the media.

Wet Ass Pussy forces them to start and signal boost what can be an empowering conversation by having them make total fools of themselves online, and make people realize just how laughable the views of these misogynists are.  It’s bait.  Cardi B trolled the conservosphere and took it to the bank.  I’m not even mad.

But enough of someone non-binary asking if this does something positive for women, let’s hear from a few more women themselves.

One woman replied that it wouldn’t really change things at all because it’s the commodification and performance of sexuality, not an expression of real raw female sexuality.  This is important because we must recognize that the song itself is also a capitalist recuperation of female sexuality, and perhaps more so that it is a genuine attempt to shift the cultural discourse, even in the way it already has.

“I don’t think it makes it easier at all. Cardi B isn’t the first to do this. It’s been around for decades. Lil Kim in the 90s when I was a teenager, for example. (Tbh, I find it weird that so many seem to think this is new. But I’m old I guess. Lol) At best it just gives women another restrictive role to play. Better than the 50s options but you’re still expected not to diverge from the roles available.

The song/video is different in that it’s women doing what men do but at the end of the day it’s still just a product. I do think that the outcry is ridiculous though. Firstly, where’s the outcry when men do the same?

It’s just a commercial product, not a revolutionary feminist statement, so claiming that this is what feminism brings us is ignorant and silly.”

When asked what she wished people could understand about female sexuality, she responded.
“It’s about people seeing each other as fully human and moving entirely out of old paradigms rather than just switching the elements around. Also, killing the whole virgin/whore thing would be a good start. It seems that men most lose their minds when confronted with someone being fully human and not centering either the man’s pleasure or performance/prowess or catering to his sexual fantasies. Not all men but based on my experience and my conversations with many many women, it’s the majority.”

I feel like that personally as an NB. Not identifying with my birth gender lets me feel less subject to gender norms, which I extend into the bedroom.

I enter that space and try to match whatever energy my partner goes with and take turns with dominance and requests. Just being willing to ask, “what would you like?” can be really helpful.

And honestly, in my experience, each woman or even man is different when treated that way. It’s odd how people are used to having a specific gender role in sex rather than really being open about what they want. In a way, I think a lot of people assume or have gotten used to a gendered performance of sex.

Some people know what they want, some people slip into that role and say what they think you’re supposed to want, while some people take a second to think about it, and frankly that’s where the fun starts.  I think we’d all like a world where we did a little less assuming about what our partners like sexually and opened ourselves up a bit more to listening and responding to each person as a distinct human being.

It’s not that I think that the experience of sex for women would get better if we were to normalize this, it’s that I think sex would get better for everyone.
Another woman had a slightly more optimistic take on the song; “it’s cool this song can exist in the realm of raunchy overly sexual media. it’s too bad that children’s books and tv and movies, and teen’s books and tv and movies, and overall the entertainment our society consumes, are not pro-consent or pro-self confidence or pro-pussies. maybe this will be a drop in a bucket that can douse a fire.”

(“maybe this will be a drop in a bucket that can douse a fire.”) I think that’s a really good way to put it. This song’s power is in how widely it’s already spread. That means it has a chance to affect more people. Perhaps it won’t do much and perhaps we shouldn’t expect it to; but if it’s part of a wave of sex-positive pussy-positive media it may well douse that fire.

Will this song have some unexpectedly positive, if not small and incremental, impact on our culture?   You tell me…

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