Not being a viewer of reality shows, I was introduced to Cardi B last year while browsing Instagram. In a 30-second video clip, I witnessed Cardi dragging castmate, Peter Gunz, for his behavior with his wife and current (at the time) girlfriend/mother of his child. A little over a year later, Cardi has celebrated a number one Billboard hit and now has a chart-climbing collaboration with G-Eazy called “No Limit.” In this work, some of Cardi’s lyrics include, “F*** him then I get some money.”
I have read numerous social media pieces- primarily by men- who want to know why Cardi B is glorifying prostitution and the “thot” life. After listening to her entire verse, I have to wonder whether her goal is to promote selling sex or if she is more of a women’s rights crusader trying to keep her sisters from being sufferers in modern-day relationships. Perhaps Cardi’s words are her way of saying, “What are you bringing to the table? I’m giving my all- myself. What are you giving in return besides headaches and heart breaks?”
While Cardi may be a bit on the edgier side than me in how she chooses to express herself, I am on the side of any woman who encourages other women not to be used, abused, and manipulated by men. We are allowed to be equal participants in relationships, and it is okay for us to expect something in return for our time and effort. This thought process, however, is an affront to the patriarchal mindset that permeates western civilization. The man who buys into this reckless way of thinking merely wants a woman to sit up (or lie down) and suffer under his choices- or lack thereof- while he wreaks havoc on her emotions and leaves her life in shambles. For centuries, this way of thinking has been used to keep women in bondage and convince us that we are here solely to fulfill the desires of men, expect nothing in return, and do it all with a docile smile.
From my experience, it was not sex that men received before I got some money, but it was my legal services. As an attorney and mediator, I have run into countless men who thought it was okay to exploit me for my work and then balk, or make excuses, when it came time to discuss payment. They acted as if I, too, did not have a family to feed and bills to pay. Today, however, I no longer give people permission to use up all my time, mentally suck me dry, and leave me with nothing. Thus, I view Cardi’s lyrics as my entrepreneurial dream. My take home from her words is that it is okay for me to say “no” to another person’s selfishness. My services may not be sexual in nature, but I also should not be giving away my time, talents, and resources while receiving nothing in return.
I’m not encouraging my sisters to do anything except be free thinkers who make intentional, discerning decisions when it comes to personal and business relationships. Don’t play yourself. This is not about promoting prostitution, it’s about championing reciprocity.
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Photo Credit: Diamond Ball, red carpet photographer.