Friday, August 29, 2014

All About That Bass; Breaking the Barrier Between Feminism and Facade

All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor is a so called "body positive song" that focuses on the singer not being overly skinny yet still being confident in herself and her body. This song has had a lot of controversy surrounding it, because some people think that it is skinny shaming, and/or gives in to bad stereotypes about women and men, while still others think it is just a good body positive song with a strong message. This song could have arguable points either way, and it breaks many stereotypes about “fat” people and how they’re ugly or undesirable because they aren't stick thin. It also brings relatable points to young girls about positive body image ideas. By the same token, it puts down skinny girls, and Trainor justifies her body image beauty by bringing men into the picture, which makes the song feel less and less positive the more you think about it.

This song centers around the singer, Meghan Trainor, talking about how she “ain’t no size two” but that she is still beautiful, despite not being skinny. She also leaves a message not only about herself being beautiful, but anyone who doesn't consider themselves “pretty” with the line “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” This breaks down many American stereotypes surrounding women, the biggest of course being that if you aren't "skinny" you aren't beautiful. This is a great message to send, especially when a huge portion of the media is dedicated to putting down women. 

 Women aren't supposed to feel good in their own body. When you hear a woman say that she likes the way she looks, people tend to think of her as vain or self centered. Makeup is a social norm, and all over America there are commercials, billboards, etc, portraying skinny, photo-shopped, unrealistic looking women selling products of all shapes and sizes, though the woman is always the same. Overly skinny, creepily symmetrical face, tall, silky hair, essentially a barbie in human form (this is of course not talking about women who are naturally skinny, but the overly photo-shopped carbon copy images of women displayed commercially, and practically everywhere). Meghan Trainor mentions this, saying “we know that sh*t ain’t real, c'mon now make it stop.” She is breaking down stereotypes about women and giving them a nicer view of their own bodies, which is good right? Sadly, the rest of the song isn't so kind.

Despite these positive factors, she also is skinny shaming, with the line “I'm bringin' booty back. Go ‘head and tell them skinny b*tches that”, which has caused an uproar in the YouTube comments, saying that it isn't body positive if you are putting one body type down to bring another up. I completely agree, and I have seen countless people in comments with the mindset that skinny shaming doesn't exist or isn't important. This is hugely untrue, and some of the harsh things "skinny" girls hear can be hugely damaging to self esteem and confidence. It can even lead to serious eating disorders. You may say that a song alone couldn't do that, and you'd be right. But add that to hateful comments during the school day, snide remarks about food from your peers, and you get a very sad skinny girl feeling guilty, or uncomfortable in her own skin. 

Trainor also mentions in her chorus “now my mamma she told me don’t worry about your size, she said boys need a little more booty to hold at night”. By bringing the want to have men desire you into the song, makes it appear less body positive, and brings back stereotypes that women are only there to please men. They are beautiful no matter what, as long as a man wants them. This means for a woman to be confident in her body, she first must have a man's approval, which is another extremely harmful idea. 

This same stereotype can be harmful not only for women and men, but also for the LGBTQA community. This ideology leaves out gay/trans/bisexual/etc women and men entirely. It is hetero normality, which, in my opinion, can be just as harmful as the skinny shaming. LGBTQA youth are hugely underrepresented in television, movies, books, music, and other forms of pop culture. It is a rare thing to see an accurate portrayal of them in today's media, and when it does happen, the backlash the show or movie or song receives is overwhelming. It can be extremely difficult for a young LGBTQA teen to come out, or even to just accept who they are, and the media does a horrible job of making it easier. This song is no different. By pushing straight couples on screen, they are inadvertently repressing these other sexualities/genders/etc. This is of course, not saying there shouldn't be straight couples and people in the media. What it is saying, is that this shouldn't be forced onto people, or assumed, as it often is. 

Even though the song may only be certain lines or phrases portraying these kind of views and ideas, it takes away from the whole picture of body positive images. Overall, though Meghan Trainor’s song may have many strong points about body image, it should really be taken with a grain of salt, if taken in at all. Body image should be about loving yourself, that's it that's all. It shouldn't be about other people's bodies being above or below your own, it especially shouldn't be about pleasing other people, it should be about YOU. 

 After all:

No comments:

Post a Comment