The actor shared a video to social media yesterday (August 14) entitled “WAP: Feminist Masterpiece or Porn?” In the lengthy clip, he discusses the “cultural phenomena” surrounding the ‘WAP’ video and “its use of sexual imagery and female potency.”
He asked whether women “achieve equality by aspiring to and replicating the values that have been established by males.”
Adding that he thinks music videos from women hip hop artists are “an emulation of a template that already exists and was established by males,” he asked: “Is it equality if the template has already been established by a formal dominator?” before adding: “The answer is no.”
Brand admitted that he was “spellbound” by the video because he’s “aware of the power of female sexuality” but said he isn’t sure “if it demonstrates progress.”
Brand said: “I wouldn’t be so reductive and simplistic to say that women celebrating their bodies using an aesthetic that’s conventionally been associated with the male gaze means it’s impossible that these tools could be used as a vehicle for liberation.”
“But I am saying that, in a sense, it’s still the same metric – it’s still the same aesthetic, it’s still the same values, it’s still the same ideals. It’s still ultimately a sort of capitalist objectification and commodification of, in this case, the female.”
At one point during his video he brought up Margaret Thatcher, saying that she was not a feminist as she was “extolling [and] espousing male values.”
Facing a high volume of backlash online for his comments, a number of people accused him of “mansplaining” feminism.
“I really don’t want to be taught feminism by Russell Brand,” said Deborah Frances-White, the host of the Guilty Feminist podcast. “But I look forward to Louis CK’s thoughts on why Beyoncé is getting it all wrong.”
Rick and Morty writer Caitie Delaney wrote: “tldr Russell Brand is saying that WAP isn’t feminist because men rapped about sex first and Cardi & Meg are just ’emulating’ previously established male ideals. This from the guy currently ’emulating’ Captain Jack Sparrow if he shopped at Hollister.”
“Russell Brand is just any third-year English student who thinks it would be edgy to do his dissertation comparing WAP to the politics of Margaret Thatcher for which his white male examiner will certainly give a first,” said Ken Cheng of BBC Radio 4’s Chinese Comedian.
One Twitter user said: “Congratulations to Russell Brand for mansplaining to women how they should enjoy WAP & their own sexuality.” While another wrote: “no way have I just watched Russell Brand compare WAP to Thatcherism god give me fuckin STRENGTH.”
See more responses to Brand’s video below: