I had an interesting conversation with my husband a few weeks ago about societal views on female sexuality, morality and children.
In other words, we discussed WAP and whether or not it was appropriate listening material for our 4 year old.
Me, I’m all for it. I have never once censored her music. She listens to rap, she listens to heavy metal, she listens to pop and classical. She loves Five Finger Death Punch, and Blue by Eiffel 65. She does ballet to the Nutcracker Suite and twerks to Britney Spears. She’s got the most well-rounded music taste of any 4 year old I’ve ever met. I’ve always been a big music lover and that’s one thing I really wanted to instil in my kids. And not once have I any issue with G. using inappropriate language.
For real though. She’s been learning that there are things that are appropriate and okay to say at home, and things that are not okay to say at school, and I think that’s a good thing. She’s learning context. She’s learning to read her audience. It’s my job as a parent to teach her these things. It’s not their job as an artist to censor themselves for my children. If I wasn’t prepared to teach her these things, and think that she was capable of learning these things, then I would make different choices. If you parent otherwise, that’s what works for you, and all the power to you. Your family, your choice.
So back to WAP. My hubby decided that it was not appropriate for G. to listen to. I hit him with the “Missy Elliot is okay but this isn’t? So she can listen to Work It, but not this?” “Yeah, but this song is just gross.”
Turns out, the word pussy is gross. What about it makes it gross? The fact that women are owning what they want, what they like, and what they need? It’s okay for countless men to sing about all the things they want us to do to them, what they want to do to us, but we can’t take ownership of that and say what we would like? I can hear “Slob on my knob” but not “pussy’s wet, come take a dive”?
Bitch Please. For someone who makes fun of “snowflakes”, you’re getting awfully offended.
We’ve been having lots of these conversations lately, especially because we are raising both a boy and girl. The expectations are different, but the outcome is the same. My daughter will learn to protect herself and my son will learn to protect others. My children have and will learn consent at a very early age. G. is allowed to say No, I don’t want hugs right now. Or I don’t feel like having cuddles. I was very firm on that. She has always had the right to say no, and I have always respected that right. I’ve modelled it for them. If I don’t want them climbing on me, or if I’ve had enough of the game we are playing, I say stop. I tell them this isn’t comfortable for me anymore and I end whatever is happening. Doesn’t matter. Stop always means stop. If G. has had enough of L. climbing on her, she has the right to say stop and we will stop him. If L. isn’t laughing anymore when G. is pulling him around or messing around on the couch with him, we tell her “Look at his face, he isn’t having fun anymore. Time to find something new to do.” They are learning to respect the word no, and to use it. I am determined that they will never be scared to use the word no.
The flip side of this is that I do not want them to be scared of hearing the word no. No does not mean that I don’t like you anymore, or that you’re somehow less than because someone said no to you. They are saying no to the situation, it is not a rejection or reflection of who you are as a person – how you react to the word no is. What comes next is the true measure of your character. Are you going to lash out? Will you name call? Claim that she’s playing hard to get and double down on your advances? Or are you just going to say okay and find something else to do that you both enjoy? Will you take the rejection personally or see it for what is it, a boundary that they have asked you not to cross?
I don’t like everyone I meet. I don’t want to fuck everyone I see. How can you ever assume that every other person wants to fuck you? How does that even make sense that you are allowed to have preference but others cannot, especially if that preference excludes you? Not all feelings will be reciprocated, but that doesn’t make you less. And it’s my job as a mom to make sure that my children understand that. Their worth is not tied up into how much other people want to fuck them. You are more than your body or your ability to score chicks. You are more than a notch on someone’s bedpost. You are more than someone else’s judgement on you, and others are more than your judgement on them.
So my kids hear the words stop. They hear I don’t like this anymore. They hear I don’t want to do this anymore. And they listen. They know that no means no, and that they have the right and the privilege of using it anytime they need to. L. will learn as he grows that he will be intimidating just by the fact of his existence and that even if he knows he’s a good guy, others can’t know for sure just by looking at him. He will learn to be patient. He will learn to be understanding. He will learn to respect boundaries. His sister will learn to set them. She will learn that not every person she meets has good intentions, and she has full permission to leave any situation that makes her feel uncomfortable. But she will also learn basic self-defence, because not everyone will respect her boundaries and that thought makes me sad. It makes me worried for what she can and will likely experience because of the reality of being female-presenting in today’s society.
Let’s circle back to WAP one more time. When females take control of something that’s “a man’s game”. How does that make you feel? Is it the word itself? Does that make you uncomfortable? Or are you just uncomfortable with the notion of giving up a modicum of power? You big sexy man beast, make the girls weak in the knees, panty dropper, you. Don’t like the idea of us dropping our own panties? Deal with it. Don’t like the idea that we don’t want to drop our panties for you? Maybe it’s time to do some self-reflecting. There are conversations to be had around songs like this. About power dynamics, consent, the power of word choice, and why this song is triggering. So until you can tell me why my child can listen to men sing “face down, booty up, that’s the way we like to fuck” but not women sing “give me everything you got for this wet ass pussy”, you can keep your opinions to yourself, because they’re likely not welcome here. I’mma raise a girl that takes as much as she gives, and a boy that gives as much as he takes. Welcome to the 21st century – your women have rights now ✌🏻