By now, you’re probably familiar with the song “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. (If not, click PLAY on the video). Here’s what I like about the song and music video: The pastels, the 50s (60s?) vibe, the representation, the catchy beat, the cameos by Sione Maraschino, the Vine superstar. It’s a good song for a first single from the 20-year-old Nashville native.
While the lyrics and MV have the theme of ‘body positivity’, there are parts of the lyrics that have cause quite a stir in the comments section of the YouTube channel.
“She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night”
“I’m bringing booty back, Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches,”
Words like ‘skinny shaming’ have been thrown around with other replies emphasising that she basically said “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” right after that. One Youtube comment stated “I don’t have a booty, so this makes me insecure.”
I don’t speak on behalf of Meghan Trainor but I doubt that much thought went into writing those specific lyrics. Which makes me wonder, why include those lyrics at all? Why call out ‘skinny’ girls and then apologise in the next line? Does it make for good lyrical wordplay? Did she not have any other way of telling ‘skinny’ girls that they’re beautiful too?
Another thing that popped up in the comments was ‘promoting being overweight’. I have no idea why ‘NOT fat-shaming’ is directly equated to ‘promoting being overweight’. There is a difference between telling people not to hate themselves for the way they look and promoting a sedentary, unbalanced life. Just because someone says that ‘a thigh gap doesn’t matter’ or ‘your dress size doesn’t dictate your life’ does not mean that the said person doesn’t want you to exercise and eat more vegetables.
I’m not saying this song is perfect (Some people have said that caring what ‘boys like’ is basically anti-feminist, other claim that the POC background dancers were used as props) but can we stop for a moment and appreciate the main message behind this song?:
When you think of the rampant depression, the rampant self-harm, the rampant body dysmorphia, don’t songs like this, messages like this, deserve to be heard for their main message?
Size doesn’t matter. Health does. I’m not ‘skinny’, so I appreciate most of Meghan Trainor’s words. A lot of the times we hate the way we look, we just want to take a knife to so many parts of us (literally and metaphorically). But we need to be able to celebrate the fact that we are not ‘stick-figured, Barbie dolls’ and not judge people who are on the petite side. A lot of girls and guys are insecure about the way they look. We need to learn to fall back to the advice the zombie from Wreck-It-Ralph dished out: