“All About That Bass” — body-positive or body shaming?
Photo: Epic Records.
Meghan Trainor’s summer hit “All About That Bass” could easily be perceived as an anthem for curvy women to accept their bodies, but is she putting skinny women down in doing so? Trainor’s song starts off pretty positively by chastising the media’s use of Photoshop for setting unrealistic ideals about women’s bodies and assuring full-figured women that their bodies are perfect exactly as they are but things start getting problematic as the chorus sets in. In the chorus Trainor croons, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
While I understand the intent is to make voluptuous women realize that their bodies are desirable, stating that men prefer one body type over another is one of the biggest reasons there is a stigma about larger-bodied women in the first place. Is creating a stigma about another body type really the answer to promoting body positivity?
Later in the song Trainor sings “I’m bringing booty back / Go ahead and tell them skinny b*tches that / No, I’m just playing …” but her music video might suggest that she is not “just playing.” Trainor’s video features a thin brunette woman who appears to play the role of the villain. One shot features the brunette sporting an offended (or perhaps threatened?) expression as a thicker model dances beside her and later in the video, immediately following Trainor’s “Go ahead and tell them skinny b*tches that,” the thicker performer thrusts her bottom at the brunette, startling her and chasing her out of the shot.
Trainor’s video also features two young girls dancing happily to the ditty, but the song and video’s particular message doesn’t seem like a healthy one to be teaching children. While I’m all for more songs empowering curvy women, I don’t think it’s necessary or appropriate to attack thinner women in the process. I do believe that Trainor had good intentions with her song’s lyrics but pitting women against each other doesn’t solve any problems; it only creates more of them.
“All About That Bass” is undeniably catchy and I have to admit I’ve had it on repeat a few times this summer. The song is fun, lighthearted and all-in-all has a pretty good message. But no matter how lighthearted it is intended to be, it’s hard to ignore that words have meanings and I wish Trainor would have thought about choosing hers a little more wisely.
Jen Schwartz is the opinions editor for SCAN and the Connector, a writing major and an all-around ridiculous/awesome person.