Cardi B. is something like a polarizing figure. You either love her or hate her. Still, whether you’re a fan or can’t stand her, there’s something about Cardi B. that makes you want to watch. And when people see her making her next move, there is often a visceral reaction.
When Vibe Viva released the most recent digital cover featuring Cardi B. in her grandmother’s kitchen, it wasn’t the image that had people in their feelings, it was the words, one word in particular. Feminist. They didn’t like that Cardi B. referred to herself as one. And when people landed in the comment sections and on Instagram with their dissension it wasn’t long before Cardi had a response for them.
“If you believe in equal rights with men and women that makes you a feminist. I don’t understand how you b*tches feel like being a feminist is a woman that have a education, that have a degree. That is not being a feminist! You discouraging a certain type of woman…That definitely doesn’t make you one. And some bitches want to act like you have to read a book about feminists. No you do not! The problem is being a feminist is something so great. And y’all don’t want me to be great but too bad. Because at the end of the day, I’ma encourage any type of woman. You don’t have to be a woman like me for me to encourage and support you and tell you, ‘Yes b*tch, keep on going.’ And that’s why you f*cking mad, you little dusty a$$ b*tch.”
I know some people get caught up with language and they can’t receive the general message. I’ve never been one of those people. I recognize truth, even if it’s buried in obscenities. Others suggest that there’s a bit of cognitive dissonance in Cardi’s diatribe. She refers to women as b*tches, in both endearing and condemning ways and there are those who would argue that the use of said word, in either instance, is particularly un-feminist. I’m not exactly fond of the word b*tch either. But I understand why some women use it. I love the n word and there are those who can’t understand that either. To each their own.
Furthermore, Cardi B is only 24-years-old. There may come a day when the word no longer works for her. When I was younger, my word was h*e. Everybody was one. My friends, my enemies, myself. I read my diaries from back in the day and cringe. But thankfully, I outgrew that phase. But even if Cardi uses the word b*tch until the day she dies, I don’t believe it detracts from her message. It’s one she’s obviously embraced. And that’s her choice.
The message, now that we’ve gotten past the word, is what is so crucial.
For the life of me, I can’t understand all the divisiveness among feminists, the arguing about whether or not it’s for this type of woman or that type of woman. The contemplation of being one if you take your clothes off or sleep in a business suit. Are you a real one if you capitalize the B in bell hooks? Are you for or against Amber Rose’s slut walk? At the end of the day, the question is about whether or not you believe men and women should be treated equally in society. Granted, there will be those who believe differently about how that should be executed, but that’s life. I’m a Christian but I have fundamentally different beliefs from the people protesting outside of abortion clinics who call themselves by the same name.
People are different. Women are different. And we don’t all have to believe and behave in the same ways to recognize that we want to be treated equally in society. So, more power to Cardi B. As a former stripper, she has a background some will never approve of, she uses words that will make your auntie’s ears bleed, but when it comes to this feminist thing, she gets it. And there’s no reason to be mad about that.
Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.