Recently I was in the car bopping along to the song “All About That Bass” by Meghan Trainor. At first I thought “isn’t this such a great song promoting healthy body image and self love”. And I began to sing along to it. Then after the millionth time on the radio (slight exaggeration, only slight), I began to really listen to the lyrics. And it didn’t sit well with me. I began to feel uneasy about it, and I thought “perhaps this isn’t the all-empowering-female-song that so many talk about”.
1. “Cause I got the boom boom that all the boys chase, and all the right junk in all the right places…because boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
Is it just me, or she saying that the reason that she likes her body is because boys like it? Because they can hold it? Because she has all the right ‘junk’? So this women empowerment song, this ‘love your body’ song, is still based around the notion that your body is great because boys like it. Not because you like it. Not because you feel great in your own skin, but because boys like it, and can hold onto it. What am I, a handle bar? Or perhaps am I an object that they need to desire? What if my ‘junk’ (I’m assuming she is talking about my breasts and bottom, although I don’t think mine are ‘junk’, I really like them) is in the wrong places? Does that mean that boys won’t want to ‘chase’ it, like they’re a dog chasing after a ball? Now, that’s a funny image…
Back to all seriousness, wouldn’t it be so much more empowering to girls and women alike to love their bodies, regardless of whether it’s a curvy body, skinny body, long, muscular body, ‘soft’ or straight up and down body, regardless of what a boy wants to ‘hold’?
Should she love herself based on what she wants and sees? Of course, a lot of girls do want to be found attractive, and that’s normal, and that’s ok. But know that the opinions of others are always going to change: some might like what you look like, others won’t, and if we base our opinion of ourselves on the reaction of others, then we will lose who we are in the process. We will become a chameleon, or confused, or end up hating ourselves because nothing we do will ever be enough. Because it won’t be enough. And that’s great! Because we shouldn’t please everyone. If we do, then it means we are not standing for something, it means we are not having an opinion or sticking up for what we know is right.
So girls, I want you to love your bodies, not because a boy wants it, but because it’s yours. Because you are beautiful in your own right, you are gorgeous in your own skin, because it’s what you have and no matter what, it is the only body you will ever have. So love it, embrace it, look after it, restore it, keep it healthy, and respect it.
2. “Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that…”
OK, so I might upset a few people here. I’m skinny, does that make me a bitch? Sometimes it gets annoying when people call me a ‘skinny bitch’. Firstly, I am actually a rather nice person, and would never put someone down based on his or her weight. Secondly, I work hard to keep my body fit and healthy. I eat a pretty healthy diet, I exercise regularly and I keep an active lifestyle. Yes, I have good genes too, but does that make me bitch? Because, excuse me if I’m wrong, but isn’t this judging me based on my looks by calling me a bitch because I am skinny? Hmmm…
The real issue here is this: no one should ever put another person down based on his or her weight to make them feel better about themselves. No matter how much we put another person down, we will not like ourselves more. We should never be happy because we perceive that another person is ‘below’ us. Also, whether or not I like my weight should never be based on someone else’s weight. I know people all shapes and sizes who are lovely and nice. Their weight is irrespective of their behaviour. So why mention their weight at all? Perhaps we need to look at people based on their character, not based on their size.
The most important message we should be sending girls is to be healthy and respect your body, and the body of others. Yes, being healthy comes in all shapes and sizes. Our health is paramount to our general wellbeing, happiness, energy, confidence, and self-love. What we put into our bodies, the way we treat our bodies, the way we respect it will manifest the results we get. Girls, I don’t believe we should be particularly interested in what each other looks like, what should concern us most is our health. Because that is what matters most. And what your body looks like, if you are healthy, is what you are meant to look like. So love that. If you are not healthy, the concern isn’t so much what you look like, but the repercussions of not having a healthy mind, body and spirit.
So yes, songs like this claim to be empowering. But I think a more empowering message is about self-respect, self-love, compassion and being healthy. To me, that’s the message that pop culture should be sending to girls and women alike in relation to our bodies. That’s the message I am sending anyway. For better or worse, it’s out there…
You can view the full “All About That Bass” video clip by Meghan Trainor below.