When I was 16-years-old, I had a 1979 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Yes, that was really my car. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t all that, and a bag of chips, in that car. It was the length of a city block, and I loved it. From time to time, my Dad liked to drive around in my car. I mean, I couldn’t blame him. One particular day he wanted to go for a drive, and on that day, I’d forgotten to take the tape out of the tape player when I got home. So, as my Dad cranked up the car, he was greeted with the sounds of NWA: “It don’t matter, just don’t bite it!” Needless to say, he did an immediate u-turn towards home to talk to me about my music choices. I’m pretty sure I lied and said the tape belonged to a friend. I’m also fairly sure I told him that I shared his outrage. Knowing me, I probably threw in a Bible verse for good measure and prayed he believed me. To this day, I wonder what he would have done if I were a boy and he heard the same song. Hmmmm… Anyway, truth be told, like most folks my age, I can still rap that entire song from beginning to end complete with a few dances thrown in for good measure, because my peers and I are still cool, right?!?!
Fast forward almost 30 years, and I hear WAP. As one who listened to NWA, can you imagine my lack of “shock” at the song’s content. I assumed my peers, you know the ones rapping along side of me in 1992, would feel the same. But apparently, men singing about sex is very different than women singing about sex.
So, picture it: Nashville, Tennessee, 2020. Here I am, trying to be a planner and have the blogs scheduled several weeks in advance then, WAP happened. It felt like half the world lost its collective mind, so I had to pivot and… here we are.
By now, you have probably heard Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s song, WAP. If not, stop reading this and go listen right now. WARNING: If you are my Mama, DON’T LISTEN TO IT! The song is very explicit, and I will not get in trouble for the sake of a blog. Don ‘t do it, Mama! This blog is for my peers, not you...I mean it!
OK, so now that you’ve heard it, I can say this: This blog isn’t really about the song, or even if you like it or not (for the record I LOVE it). This blog IS about the fact that a lot of people (read: men), seem to have something to say about female sexuality. There is an insane double standard that women in this country deal with every day. So, let’s talk about THAT!
WAP celebrates the power, and freedom, that sex provides women. This song acknowledges the following:
Women like sex. (Pause for reaction, which apparently for some includes gnashing of teeth and clutching of pearls.)
Women can have more than one sex partner, and for various reasons.
Women are strategic when it comes to sex.
Women know sex doesn’t have to be quiet, in the dark, in the bedroom, and/or under the covers.
None of this is “new” information, necessarily, but the fact that Cardi and Megan chose to remind their listening audience of these truths, there are folks who feel like it is their duty to complain and cry foul. What bothers me most about the "complainers" is, they aren't our parents and grandparents. No, the complainers are my peers. The complainers are the same people who, in the 1990s, partied to “Don’t Bite It,” “Slob the Knob,” and everything Uncle Luke ever sang. But here in 2020, when two women flip the script and speak from their perspective, it’s a problem. The old saying “be a lady in the streets, and freak in the sheets,” popped into my mind as I listened to the complainers. If you think about it, the “lady/freak” sentiment is, another form of code switching. Which brings me to this question: Why is it that people can acknowledge how exhausting and problematic code switching is in the boardroom, but don’t see it when it affects women in the bedroom? Hmmmm…
Clearly, this is a hot button issue for me, and I think it should be! Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, whose knees I am eternally jealous of, aren’t just singing what they think and do. Many women feel the same way! Men can brag about all the inches they are supposedly packing, but women can’t brag about their WAP. I’m not ok with that! I’m not ok with it for me, I’m not ok with it for you, and I’m not ok with it for every girl out there who thinks she has to hide who she is, what she wants and why she wants it so she is respected and treated with decency **takes a breath**.
So, in case you missed the memo, women like sex. We like thinking about sex. We like having sex. We like talking about sex. We like singing about sex, and just about anything else related to sex! And none of that takes away from our intelligence, brilliance, desire to be loved, independence or any other quality or desire we may possess. So, listen to whatever you like. Have opinions on songs you do and don’t like. But, if those opinions are based on outdated, problematic, and sexist stereotypes, well… listen to song number 5 on this playlist.
Author and Our Truths founder, Christy Pruitt-Haynes combined her 20 years of leadership in organizations including The Memphis Grizzlies, MTV Networks and Infiniti with an education in Human Resources and Organizational Development to create Christy Pruitt-Haynes Consulting and change the professional landscape for women and people of color while helping organizations achieve excellence. This TEDx talk giving executive, wife, mother, aunt, daughter, sister and friend loves travel, laughing uncontrollably and losing herself in great music.
Theme song: I was here by Beyoncé
Proudest moments: The births of my daughter Christiana, niece Nia and organization Our Truths