I am only going to say this once: stop comparing Cardi B to Bill Cosby. Cardi B, a female rapper from the Bronx, has recently fallen under the criminal spotlight of Twitter due to a video that recently resurfaced. She recounts that during her stripping days, she would often drug men after luring them from the strip joint with the promise of sex. She would then rob them of whatever valuables they possessed.
As you can guess, this caused a complete uproar among fans and non-fans alike. Once again, we see a darling star fall from their venerated pedestal—a pedestal that arguably was obtained because of their rough upbringings that we seem to idolize, especially among rap stars. Before I go more in-depth on this issue alone, the real problem was when people started comparing her to Bill Cosby. Yes, Bill Cosby, a repeat sex offender who drugged and raped women through multiple decades. That’s right; a large majority of the public has made the comparison of rape to material goods.
Besides drugs being involved, as far as I can tell, these two stories have nothing in common. Bill Cosby, a man of affluence and power, used his position to drug and rape women. Cardi B was a sex worker who was not in a position of power, and drugged men to take material goods. In fact, this whole comparison serves as a perfect example of how a female’s worth is often equated to that of an object.
I am not going to argue that what Cardi B did was not wrong; I believe that drugging anyone for any reason is wrong. I believe that stealing someone’s wallet and raping someone are both wrong, but are completely different crimes. If these type of analogies are used in reoccurring context, we just see the reaffirmation of one idea and thought: a woman is an object. This idea is not new by any means. In fact, this whole incident reminds me how quick people are to forget that women for the longest time were considered their husband’s property. Most of our grandmothers, for example, were considered our grandfather’s property after they got married. My grandmother was fired from her job as a flight attendant because she got married. This idea of women being equated to an object is sadly nothing new. Cardi B is just another name on a long list of sad stories. I cannot help but wonder if we are ever going to see past this idea.
As I stated earlier, we also have a tendency to idolize celebrities from different cultures and social norms. We then have a tendency to hold them to the same standards as our social norms and structure. Cardi B, once again, is just another example of a fallen idolized celebrity. She has never been anything but upfront with her past as a sex worker. In fact, this work is possibly why she gained notoriety as a rapper in the first place. Her depictions of in-your-face sexuality is something the mainstream public eats up. Nevertheless, as soon as we see the other side of what her life was like—the side of sex workers we do not show in music videos—we attack the individuals with the same feverish ferocity we initially praised them with.
I am not here to criminalize Cardi, nor expunge her for all her sins. My point is that we have a long history of comparing women to objects. We also have a history of not calling it out. Therefore, I will say it again for good measure: stop comparing Cardi B to Bill Cosby. Stop comparing women to objects.