All About That Bass

I am not a petite woman. This we know. At 5’9″ and 200 pounds, nobody would ever describe me as a small person. Which, as the mission of this blog tries to convey, is something that I’m coming more and more to terms with every day. Hey, I’m curvy, I gots booty, it ain’t no thang, right?

Well, unfortunately, as most of our media-laden, celebrity-stricken society continues to perpetuate bias against the big gals, just because I’m getting more comfortable with myself doesn’t mean the rest of the world is. Sure, there’s less straight-out animosity towards us totally lazy and disgusting fatties, but all that former vitriol seems to have simply been replaced by concern-trolling under the guise of being worried about the health of every plus-sized person in the world.

And while there are songs out there that celebrate the whole concept of being beautiful on the inside (Christina Aguilera’s “Beautiful,” comes to mind), there has yet to be a Billboard chart-topper that specifically celebrates what we’ll go ahead and call the non-ideal body standard.

Enter: Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” which my friend Lara sent to me just yesterday. First off, this is the catchiest song you’ll probably hear all summer, and I apologize in advance for the fact that once you listen to it, you will DEFINITELY have it stuck in your head for the rest of eternity.

Aside from possessing an outrageously catchy chorus, however, the song also has a pretty empowering message. As Meghan (looking absolutely fab-u-lous) sing-talks:

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

Of course, it’s difficult to ride the line between empowerment and appreciation for one body type without dissing another. As a cursory glance at the comments section on Youtube will tell you (once you’ve tossed out the ones trolling on Trainor’s appearance, since we know all the dregs of humanity hang out in the Youtube comments section), there are quite a few folks who feel that Trainor’s song crosses the line into body-shaming, particularly with this line:

I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that

“Skinny shaming!” they cry. “I don’t have a booty, so you’re saying boys don’t want me?” they ask. And, to be honest, with my new persona of a body positive lady (and that’s all bodies, yo!), I was ready to jump on the bandwagon with them at first. After all, body image issues exist for women who are 80 pounds, women who are 280 pounds, and women everywhere in between. So regardless of whether you are bootylicious or a skinny bitch, I can see why some people took offense to that line.

But I also think it’s more complicated than that.

Putting aside the fact that the music industry is just as responsible for perpetuating the ideal of thinness as the television and movie industries (I swear, if I hear one more person say something about Adele’s weight…), if you really look at the full lyrics of the “skinny bitches” line, I think it’s obvious that there’s a different kind of message at play here:

I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
Nah, I’m just playing I know y’all think you’re fat
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

So, sure, it’s in a lyrical, rhyme-y way (since, let’s remember, this is a SONG which means the lyrics have to sounds good first and foremost, which has the potential to affect the clarity of one’s message), but Trainor is obviously not saying, “Skinny bad! Fat good! Yarrrr!” Rather, she’s saying that everyone’s got messed up body image (which they probably do), and in spite of that, everyone is already perfect (which they probably are). So instead of dissecting her word choice, let’s go ahead and bask in the warm fuzzies of that sentiment, shall we?

Here’s the bottom line for me: just having not-Megan Fox’s body in today’s day and age is hard enough on a personal level, let alone on a public one. Weightism is one of the most accepted forms of discrimination still occurring today, and since it’s just a fact that being fat is always going to garner way more criticism and judgment than being thin, I say that any attempt to make The Ideal Body more realistic is worth it.

So, yes, I am indeed all about “All About That Bass,” and its outrageously catchy bottom-line message:

Every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top.

0 Comments

  1. I’m going to have to check this out when I get home. There’s been a void in my life since there wasn’t another “Call me, Maybe” this summer. 😉

  2. I have never heard that song before. I love it!
    You preach it girl! I love that you are becoming BFFs with your body now. I’ve enjoyed all of your Instagram fashion pics. Keep them coming!

  3. Shawniebombsays:

    I am so happy that you’re blogging again, sister! Like Shelly above, your body-positivity is so refreshing. Thank you for helping me get over my damn self! Anyway, fun song and my reaction to the “skinny bitch” line was similar… and now that you’ve broken it down, I’m cool wit it.
    Keep it up, sistergirl!

  4. I have never heard of this artist or heard the song, but wow! You’re right, SO CATCHY. That song climbed into my earholes and will probably stay there all through the weekend. Visually appealing (the whole video looks like candy) and I love her voice! And she’s gorg. Great message!

    Have you seen Colbie Caillat’s video for “Try”? I’m lovin’ that, too. (The “Photoshop can kiss my a$$” kind of vibe.)

    We need more music and more role models like this, please!

  5. Perfect 🙂 100%

  6. Caitlynsays:

    Yay, thanks for posting this. I love the song and I also disagree with the many comments I’ve seen yelling “skinny-shaming!!”. I think the body positive message outweighs any others people might read into it.

  7. Okay. Several things. Or five of them.

    1. (And most important.) Can we talk about those pink highlights on the bottom layer of her hair because I WANT THAT ON MY HAIR. Also all her hair accessories give them to me please. Also 90% of what she’s wearing should magically appear in my closet, please.
    2. (Tied for most important.) Love this kind of post from you. You have a gift for talking about controversial issues very rationally and somehow WITHOUT ANY YELLING BECAUSE YOU ARE A LADY.
    3. Can we talk about how the color scheme in her music video matches the color scheme of your blog? Can we talk about that pile of rainbow-colored tulle she’s hanging out in because I WANT THAT TOO.
    4. Can we talk about how generally perfect the music video is, and how catchy the song is, and how many times I’ve listened to it in the last 20 minutes?
    5. (And least important.) Can we talk about how my body shape is extremely similar to Meghan Trainor’s, and if that’s considered fat then I quit working out forever.

  8. AHHH SO CATCHY! Also a great message, obvi.

    PS I haven’t said so yet but I LOVE your rebranding! So pretty! So smart! So Gretchen!

  9. Oh, and this song:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDSK91mUNLU

    Obviously a different kind of song/message, but equally as catchy. It’s been on almost every playlist I’ve made since 2009.

  10. Wow. You just outlined my entire thought process on that song, and that line, better than I ever could.

  11. I’m IN LOVE with this song. =) Colbie Caillat has a new song “Try” that is just as amazing. =)

  12. Chloesays:

    Love this post Gretchen, and especially the sentiment that is going along with it – as well as your whole new blog ‘tude! Body image is something I’ve struggled with since I was, I don’t know, about 12? Seeing as I’m turning 30 this year, and I would rather not feel negative about my appearance, the number on the scale, or the size of my clothes, I’m actively trying to push those negative thoughts out of my head. I’ve recently joined a facebook group called Eat The Food, which is run by Amber from the blog GoKaleo (gokaleo.com) – you might be interested in her blog or the group, it’s a wonderful place to explore feelings about food, body image, societal pressures, discrimination, and everything in between. It’s also helped me a lot when I’m having bad days (because we all have them, no matter how far we’ve come), and functions to knock some sense into me right when I need it.
    I’m excited to continue reading on your new and improved blog!

  13. Jennysays:

    Are we forgetting the eternal chart-topper that is Sir Mix A Lot’s “Baby Got Back”? Personally, I like Jonathan Coulton’s cover of it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCWaN_Tc5wo

  14. i love this song so much. that is all. 🙂

  15. Shailasays:

    My friend and i just love the beat of the music.

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