The ever-so-popular chart-topping tune by Meghan Trainor body shames. Wait what? I hear you cry! For surely this is a liberating song about embracing your body shape; “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” Trainor sings, along with “don’t worry about your size” – and yes whilst these are both great messages (we certainly do need to learn to love ourselves and realise that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes) once you look a little closer at these seemingly ‘positive’ lyrics, ‘All About That Bass’ actually turns out to be quite the opposite of liberating.
When I say body shaming, the majority will think of fat shaming which is unfortunately a common occurrence, especially in today’s media; the list of magazine headlines that I’ve come across advertising ways to ‘fight the flab’ or ‘drop the pounds’ is endless. Giving people the narrow minded idea that skinny is the be all and end all of beautiful and making people feel insecure about their weight is never going to be right – in fact its downright wrong. But then again at the other end of the spectrum when did it become acceptable to skinny shame? As a ‘skinny girl’ myself I’ve lost count of the amount of times that I’ve been told to ‘eat a Big Mac’ or ‘get some meat on my bones’, I’ve even been asked if I had ‘some sort of eating disorder’ and nobody blinked an eye. Ask an overweight person something like this and you are likely to receive a horrified reaction and murmurs of how that was such a rude/unacceptable/abusive thing to say – which it is!
Just like skinny shaming is rude/unacceptable/abusive! Which brings us back to ‘All About That Bass’ – whilst Trainor certainly praises the curvier figure through her lyrics of: “all the right junk in all the right places” and bringing “booty back”, at the same time she shames the skinnier women: “I’m bringing booty back Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that” and especially in “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night” – hmm what happened to “every inch of you is perfect? Does that not include skinny girls? It certainly appears here that Trainor is implying that skinny is unattractive, after all apparently “boys like a little more to hold at night”. Also “skinny bitches” is an unnerving phrase – after all skinny doesn’t equal ‘bitch’, just like curvy doesn’t equal ‘gross’. It’s such a shame that a song which had so much potential (I was literally cheering along, hailing this as the new body acceptance anthem until we reached the ‘skinny bitches’ part) had to shame one body shape whilst rejoicing another other.
Skinny shaming aside, ‘All About That Bass’ does have some wonderful messages, Trainor’s recognition of the fakeness of PhotoShop (“I see the magazine workin’ that PhotoShop, we know that shit ain’t real …c’mon now, make it stop”) is refreshing in a society where too many young people idolise the airbrushed accumulation of celebs and models that dominate our TV sets and feature in our magazines.
It’s just sad that we can’t seem to praise all figures, skinny, curvy and everything inbetween! Why does ‘All About That Bass’ embrace one figure whilst rejecting another? Why do we seem to insist on getting others down about their size and weight? I’ll never know.
In the words of the movie ‘Mean Girls’: “I wish we could all just get along, I wish I could bake a cake filled with rainbows and smiles and everyone would eat and be happy…(without having to criticise each others weight first, that is!)”