Confession: I love Meghan Trainor. I do – she’s adorable, she’s got pipes, her songs are catchy with a fun vintage sound, and I love her hair and style. Oh, and it’s really nice to see a woman with a… however I say it I’m going to catch flack from someone, so let’s go with “curvy” body type achieving fame and success. Because I too, have a “curvy” body type.
A lot of people criticize Ms. Trainor for the lyrics in her song “All About that Bass.” I’ve seen this post on Ambitiously Living circulating quite a bit as of late, and I wanted to share my own thoughts as well.
Yes, this song is pro-curvy girl. How many songs on the radio are? By my count there is… kind of two if you count “Anaconda.” And then there’s the extremely dated Sir Mix-a-Lot “Baby Got Back.” That’s kind of it. And the latter two are pretty specifically focused on the backside, which is really not the same as being an all over voluptuous woman.
The main criticism seems to be a few different lyrics:
1.) “She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night”
2.) “You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll”
3.) “Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches”
So I’m going to share my (probably somewhat biased) thoughts on those. Hey, I’m not claiming this is factual, this is an opinion piece. Deal with it.
“She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night.” It’s important to note the line right before that one, “Yeah, my momma she told me don’t worry about your size.” Okay, so Ms. Trainor’s mom gave her some dated advice. Is that really a stretch that someone’s parents might have given them some advice that was a different generation’s way of thinking? Has everything that your parents told you been 100% right and current? No, absolutely not. And if I ever have kids, I’ll tell them things that will sometimes be wrong and dated. And so will you. Or… maybe her mother was trying to comfort her teenage/young adult daughter who doesn’t have the body type that the media promotes and most people desire. Have you ever said something just to make someone feel better? As a “curvy” woman, I know that people can be absolutely brutal. People post pictures of fat people and make fun of them, people make comments that you can totally hear, people talk behind your back, and it is assumed that you don’t take care of yourself and you just eat all the time. People feel like they need to talk to you about your health, even if you exercise regularly and eat well, because “they’re concerned”. If you exercise you get made fun of because you look ridiculous, and if you don’t exercise you get called lazy. Your guy friends talk to you about how hot all your thinner female friends’ bodies are. It sucks. A lot. When someone is going through this, day in and day out, I think that their mom might say something to try to make them feel better, and that’s perfectly okay.
“You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll.” Okay, she could have not used the term “Barbie,” or judged people for getting implants, I’ll give you that. She does follow it with, “So, if that’s what’s you’re into then go ahead and move along.” To me, that sounds like she’s making a choice about her own body type, and if she’s not your type, then move along. She’s not changing for you; that feels empowering to me.
“Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches.” Context is important. Let’s look at the whole verse before we get too bent out of shape.
“I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches Hey
No, I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat,
But I’m here to tell you that,
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”
Directly after she uses the term “skinny bitches” she says hey, I’m just kidding, every one is perfect and beautiful. Wow, what an asshole to say that, right? Who the fuck does she think she is saying that everyone should love their body?
I think another thing that we have to realize is that she’s writing a song, not just talking or expressing her views in say, a blog post or something. Songs need to be catchy or no one is going to listen to them. Are there a couple of things that could have been worded a bit more sensitively? Yeah, probably. Is this the worst song in the history of ever that is destroying our youth and creating a culture of teenage girls that think that their only worth is how a male views them? No.
I have yet to hear anyone who has spoken out against the “skinny shaming” in this song speak out against the fat shaming in numerous songs, such as: “Keep Young and Beautiful” by Annie Lennox, “Fat Girl (thar She Blows)” by Steep Panther, “Fat Girl” by Eazy E, “Big Isn’t Beautiful” by King Adora, “Hot Dog in a Hallway” by NOFX, “Pretty When I’m Drunk” by the Bloodhound Gang, “Jumbo Go Away” by Frank Zappa, “Little Brother – I see Now” by Kanye West, and “Fat Sweaty Betty” by ICP to name a few. Not to mention the numerous songs that simply imply it rather than being so direct as these gems. If someone is truly upset that Meghan Trainor is body shaming, then I would think that they would be just as upset about all of these artists body shaming, and they would also be upset about Ms. Minaj’s “Anaconda” and the classic Sir Mix-a-Lot ditty.
I don’t really talk about this; it’s hard. Any confidence people think I have is a complete front, and I continuously worry about how people are judging me. However, I feel strongly about this, strong enough to write about it regardless of the wound it opens up. People need to stop being hypocrites; don’t pick apart things with an over-all positive message while remaining silent about blatantly offensive and hurtful material. Give women a little credit; we’re not so easily brainwashed that ONE SONG that promotes having a little “bass” is going to turn us into a culture of (gasp) overweight ladies that need a man’s approval to feel any sense of self-worth.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m all about that bass.