The Validity of Cardi B's Comment On The #MeToo Movement
Cardi B, rapper and entertainer extraordinaire, has undoubtedly taken the world by storm. Her brash takes and unapologetic actions have warmed her into the hearts of many and her vulgar lyrics have possessed us all ever since her breakout track “Bodak Yellow.” While she isn’t absolved from all problematic happenings (and has said and done problematic things in the past), she has truly captivated the masses—I mean, come on, did you see her Coachella performance? She was twerking while pregnant! Our beloved Cardi B, our cherished Bartier Cardi, has made it clear that she’s here to stay. As a lyric from her recent album goes “my little 15 minutes lasting long as hell.”
That’s why when Cardi dances, people watch. When she talks, people listen. So why, then, when she describes the plight of video vixens and strippers with sexual harassment do we ignore. A few weeks ago when asked about the #MeToo movement, Cardi replied “a lot of video vixens have spoke about this and nobody gives a f*ck... I bet if one of these women stands up and talks about it, people are going to say, ‘So what? You’re a ho. It don’t matter.” And she’s right. Sexual women, sex workers, and women who freely and willingly have sex as much as they want with whoever they want aren’t given the same freedoms when it comes to sexual assault. Faced with harsh remarks in general (“ho, “thot,” “slut,” etc), these epithets transform themselves into phrases that demonize the victim instead of the demon. Sexual assault pervades class, race, and gender, but for some reason the poorer, the darker, and the more sexualized the woman is, the less we care about them; this is not to derail from other genders who are sexually assaulted—we need to listen to them just as much—but society continues to show us that the “hoes” of the world don’t matter.
Society makes it known that women are not supposed to own themselves. They’re not supposed to own their bodies, their opinions, hell, they’re not even supposed to own their thoughts! When a woman has sex, it’s not a mutual exchange, it’s a power move. Sex is seen as something done to women instead of with women. So, when a sexually active woman survives sexual assault, it’s not seen as the abhorrent act of violence that it is.
“It’s okay to assault someone who has sex freely because she was going to anyway.”
“I mean, after all, her body wasn’t hers anyway; it was for everybody.”
Too often, women’s cries remain unheard. Too often their screams are ignored. Our screams are ignored. In a movement that was created to uplift the voices of survivors of sexual assault, the plight of sex workers, of sexualized women, has been ignored just as much. The creator of the #MeToo movement, Tarana Burke, went on twitter after Cardi’s comment in support:
If we don’t define our movements, someone else will and they’ll undoubtedly get it wrong. It’s integral that we make a space for all of the survivors of sexual harassment, violence, and abuse. The ones from the hood. The ones who speak broken English. The sex workers. The ones who are poor. The ones who have sex often and freely. The ones society pushes to the outskirts because they don’t fit into the quaint little box the world has etched out for them. It’s crucial that we listen, that we uplift. If we don’t love and support each other, nobody else will.