If you’ve listened to the radio in the last month, you’ve probably heard the song, “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. The catchy tune has been topping charts and receiving praise for encouraging women to celebrate their curves. When I heard about song, I was eager to give it a listen. Having taken an eating disorders class last semester and learning about these often misunderstood diseases, I’m always excited when celebs are spreading positive messages about body image.
I really, really wanted to like it. And then I listened to it. And I didn’t like it it all. In fact, it made me upset, annoyed and angry all at once. While I applaud Trainor for encouraging some women to embrace their bodies and reminding us all of the rampant use of Photoshop, I don’t understand why she intertwined these messages with body-shaming and name-calling of those who don’t fit her idea of what’s hot.
Confused? Let’s start from the top. In the first verse Meghan sings, “Yeah it’s pretty clear/I ain’t no size two…But I can shake it, shake it/Like I’m supposed to do…I got that boom boom that all the boys chase/All the right junk/In all the right places.”
Strike one. Just like “Real Women Have Curves,” ads, which are also likely rooted in good intentions, these messages can be potentially harmful to females who do not have certain curves in certain places (say, someone who just naturally is a size two), telling them that they are unwomanly, undesirable and unattractive. This can lead to poor-self esteem, shame and distorted eating behaviors.
A few seconds later, Trainor says she’s “bringing booty back,” which I think is awesome. I’m all about people embracing themselves. But when she follows this comment with “so go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that,” I’m totally turned off. So if someone is thin, they’re automatically a bitch? That’s not very nice.
Although Trainor does say she’s “just playing,” envision what would happen if the word “skinny” was replaced with “fat” in this song. Personally, I think the song would be slammed for fat shaming and Meghan would be seen as a bully. But if you think about it, both types of stereotyping are the same.
Next, she mentions that her mama told her not to worry about her size, because “boys like a little more booty to hold at night.” This is where I just have to change the radio station. Not only does she imply that shapely women are more attractive, she suggests that females should measure happiness and self-worth based on their attractiveness to males, which to me, feels objectifying.
Perhaps I’m sensitive to this topic because I was body-teased for years. My first two years of high school I was growing like crazy and was super active. No matter how much I ate, let’s just say I clearly hadn’t hit puberty yet. I didn’t fill out any “cool” clothes or my dance team uniform, felt super self-conscious all the time, got endlessly made fun of, and earned a top spot on the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” list a bunch of guys at my school made (thanks bros!).
While I’ve matured physically and mentally and currently don’t give a crap about what people think about how I look, I wasn’t always so lucky. I was made to feel ashamed of my body and appearance growing up, and it led me to have self-esteem issues of my own. “All About That Bass” is a reminder of those times, and a larger reminder to really listen closely to what the media is putting out there.
I’m overjoyed if anyone in the world was encouraged to celebrate their body after hearing Trainor’s song, but I want to give a big hug to anyone who may have felt ashamed or self-conscious after giving it a listen.
So I’m not exactly all about the jam, “All About That Bass,” but I will tell you what I am all about: I’m all about media and our society moving its focus off of appearance and body shape and towards being happy and healthy. Let’s stop objectifying ourselves and others and seeing our body and appearance as an object to be worked upon to fit ideals of attractiveness. I’m all about being done with stereotypes and name-calling based off appearances, and carefully considering how our words might affect someone else. So thanks Trainor, for getting us talking. Now let’s move off the topic of how our bodies look, and onto something more productive.
Read more: the author responds to the hundreds of comments below, here.
More articles you might find interesting:
- In response to this post: The Skinny on Skinny-Shaming
- In Response to @YouDidNotEatThat
- Instagramming Food Might Help Teens Battle Eating Disorders
- 10 Misconceptions About Eating Disorders
- Living With an Eating Disorder
- The Hundreds of Comments from my “All About That Bass” Post Taught Me Something I Never Expected