Rap icon Cardi B’s “WAP” was the undisputed song of last summer. Touted as a female empowerment anthem, it topped the charts and landed her Billboard’s Woman of the Year Award. But this new brand of hypersexualized feminism typified by “WAP” ultimately sends a destructive message https://en.search.wordpress.com/?src=organic&q=naked cam to young girls.
The song’s title alone (which stands for “wet ass p—y”) reveals its objectifying undertones, reducing a woman to her genitalia and implying that a woman’s empowerment is derived entirely from her sexuality. The song demands material goods for sex (“ask for a car while you ride that d–k”) and even requests acts of sexual degradation (“spit in my mouth,” “tie me up,” “I want to choke”). Worst of all, Cardi insinuates that her marriage is predicated on her sexual performance, boasting, “I don’t cook, I don’t clean, but let me tell you how I got this ring.”
While “WAP” may be revolutionary for its vulgarity, equating such a song with female liberation is a stretch. And while an adult woman secure in her femininity is unlikely to be affected by such lyrics, younger girls very well may be.
Generation Z’s girls are coming of age while steeped in a hypersexualized culture, typified by Cardi B but spanning far beyond her.
I know this as a Gen Z girl myself. Born in 2000, I grew up mindlessly singing along to similar songs like Nicki Minaj’s “Anaconda” and Ciara’s “Goodies,” adrift in a tide of newfangled pseudofeminism. Plopped straight into the middle of the high-speed New York dating scene at age 18, I was clueless as to how to comport myself and handle my femininity. While I’m not a puritan, I came to realize that this Cardi culture is not only hugely confusing for young women but is also definitely not feminist.
Female objectification is no longer relegated to magazines and MTV videos. Social media delivers the message straight to our phones, establishing a direct line of communication with influencers and cultural figures who teach that objectification is empowerment, that hypersexuality is liberation, and that femininity and promiscuity are one and the same. This is reinforced constantly. Just this week, Khloé Kardashian made headlines when an unretouched bikini photo of her circulated the Internet. She was so horrified by the prospect of appearing natural and without a hypersexualized sheen that her team set out to scrub the image from the Internet, even going as far as to threaten disseminators with legal action.
Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in a world steeped in social media — and this sexualized messaging is reflected in how we use it. We flaunt our assets and Photoshop out our flaws, but for whom? We do this not for our own gratification, but out of desperation for validation. We are now promoting our own objectification, living as digital caricatures of ourselves.
Hypersexualization is also present in our relationships. Dating apps encourage us to shop for mates and reduce ourselves to commodities. Endless matches and an abundance of choice have led to 90 percent of college students reporting that hookup culture runs rampant on campus. Sex has become transactional, devoid of romance or intimacy. Consequently, Gen Z is the loneliest generation, with more than 50 percent saying they feel isolated. Unsure of how to comport ourselves or handle our femininity, Gen Z girls are often left feeling alone and insecure.
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The ultimate byproduct of “WAP” culture is mainstream self-degradation. For example, the Web site OnlyFans, where girls rake in cash for baring it all on a webcam, has attracted 1 million “creators” — including Cardi herself. Pop culture figures are setting a terrible example for young girls, and even she knows it. In a viral video, Cardi is seen twerking to “WAP” in her kitchen, but when her own daughter toddles in, she scrambles to turn off the music.
Women have made enormous strides toward equality in recent history. We are more educated and empowered than ever before, so why is Cardi B our Woman of the Year? Does she really epitomize womanhood? It seems the pendulum has swung so far we’re back to square one: the ultimate objectification of women, but this time we are doing it to ourselves.
If that’s our culture’s newfangled take on feminism, is it any wonder young girls are confused?