A Mother’s WAP: Hope for my vagina

I’m a little late to the game, but “WAP,” am I right? What a jam. I would jump into my feminist analysis of the song, but I 1. don’t know that it’s my place to critique a rap song by two Black womxn and 2. am distracted by Cardi B. As I mentioned in my last piece, Cardi is a mother rapping about her Wet Ass Pussy. She is a mother bragging about not only her skills in sex but also her physical body post-baby.

Cardi’s explicit sexuality is nothing new. She rose to fame for her music after being a stripper and then reality star on VH1. Known for her provocative outfits and dancing, the artist has received more hate for continuing to dress and perform in a sexualized way after becoming a mom. Negative comments on her Instagram posts center the fact that she has a daughter, with commenters claiming that she can no longer behave the same way she did before having a daughter. In response to this idea, Cardi told Harper’s Bazaar (2019):

“I feel like when I’m half naked and when I twerk, people be like, ‘You’re a mom now,’ and it’s like, ‘Well, I was doing it before I was a mom, so it’s not like there’s gonna be a difference.’ One day, my daughter’s gonna see my body and she’s gonna see me twerking and it’s like, ‘Would it make a difference if I did it after or before her?’ It’s still out there. I feel like moms who do wanna feel sexy can be. I don’t feel like once you become a mom, you supposed to be this nun.”

It’s interesting to me that her response centers her daughter instead of herself. I read criticisms of Cardi’s behavior as “she is a mom now,” whereas Cardi seems to read the criticisms as “her daughter will see her behavior later.” I center Cardi and her new role as a mother. Cardi centers her daughter and how her behavior will affect her child. She is talking about protecting her daughter from her behavior instead of how the behavior may only be inappropriate because she is now a mother. Her sexuality is significant now because she has a child to care for, not because she birthed a child and should no longer be sexual. To me, this signifies Cardi’s refusal to see her image as an outgoing sexual figure and her desires changed by motherhood.

This defiance should not be as radical as I perceive it to be, but in our society, to be a mom is to often sacrifice your identity for the new role. “Working mom,” a common phrase, makes “working” the descriptor of what the person really is: a mom. And the role of motherhood is [supposedly] inherently nonsexual and not attractive. Mom haircuts, mom bods, mom jeans and mom cars are all styles that are considered out-of-date or a “comeback” fashion fad. With the birth and care of a baby seemingly comes a lack of sexuality, different style and new modesty. Cardi rejects society’s sexist responsibilities by continuing to post photos in lingerie, rap about her sex life and twerk publicly. Cardi fails to give up herself in the role of motherhood.

Other celebrity moms have had the same defiance. Kylie Jenner, mother of a two-year-old, was in Cardi’s music video for “WAP” and posed for Playboy after having her daughter. Kim Kardashian-West birthed two children and has continued to market herself as a sex icon. She was featured in Fergie’s music video for “M.I.L.F. $” along with other famous mothers such as Ciara and Chrissy Teigen. MILF stands for “Mom I’d Like to Fuck,” which, as Cahill (2011) points out, means that most mothers are not people men would like to fuck.

MILFs generally don’t look any different from the average attractive woman. Their ability to separate themselves from their motherhood is what makes them available for sexualization (Cahill, 2011). Their bodies have “snapped back” after childbirth.

It is also important to note that MILFs, like the famous ones mentioned previously, are typically considered fuckable and desirable before becoming mothers. None of these women became sexy only after having a baby. Instead, after having a baby they returned to their prior state of sexiness, only now as a mom. Many people are excluded from society’s stereotype of sexually attractive before having children, and the physical changes of motherhood only further exclude them from such a label.

The “snapback” of the body certainly seems real for Cardi, who was considered sexually desirable before having her daughter. Her still-flat stomach and perky breasts are easily seen in recent Instagram posts and her “WAP” music video. Framing her visual body as sexual after having a child is far from radical. What I’m interested in, however, is that the song explicitly focuses on her vagina. To be fair, Cardi is not claiming she has a tight ass pussy, but she is still drawing attention to the fuckability and desirability of her post-baby vagina. While other MILFs may allude to their vagina’s desirability in sexual photos, songs, dancing, etc., Cardi is stating it outright. This gives me great hope for my vagina’s future.

I have less hope for my overall sexiness after becoming a mother. More thoughts on MILFs, sex objects and sodomitical mothers to come.

References

Cahill, A. J. (2011). Overcoming Objectification: A carnal ethics. New York, NY: Routledge.

Harper’s Bazaar. (2019, February 7). Cardi B on parenting and being a sexy mom. https://www.harpersbazaar.com/celebrity/latest/a25998190/cardi-b-motherhood/

Sharing feminist theory and philosophy in a way that is meaningful, practical and realistic through personal experience.