I’m back with another edition of “Songs KT Hates that will be stuck in everyone’s godforsaken head all week.” This week, we’ve got one that might be divisive: Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”
I have to admit the first time I heard it, I didn’t immediately want to fling myself out of my car into oncoming traffic. It’s an insipid and annoying song, but a little catchy. I am a certified not-skinny person, and hooray, a sorta catchy song about girls with chub! Except, no.
First of all, I kind of thought this girl might be a robot for the entire video.
But then I watched again, and I guess she’s most likely human. She looks like an amalgam of all the people who bullied me in high school, right down to the doe-eyes, blonde hair, and weird Easterish dress. The video is inexplicably pastel and made to look like she’s maybe like thirteen or something (a very pink bedroom with a bright pink four-poster bed and a dollhouse?), but apparently she is 20. It doesn’t sit right with me that she’s got lyrics about dudes holding her booty at night, and then it’s all dollhouses and little girl bedrooms. Just me? Maybe it’s just me, but something freaked my brain stem out about this. I guess she’s from Nantucket, where bedrooms probably actually look like this (also they include a yacht and a pony, not pictured).
But here’s the first rub: Meghan Trainor isn’t fat. If she’s fat, I’m a fucking tubwhale. She may not be thin, but she isn’t even noticeably overweight. She’s what I’d consider “normal.” And that’s where it starts getting disingenuous. I said starts. Buckle the fuck up and let’s discuss.
So first off, she’s not fat. So what we’re initially given the impression of, is that media and body issues with women are at the level that a person at a normal weight has to assert that she is still just as good as someone underweight. What the fuck does this impress into the minds of real, actual overweight girls who are struggling already?
Next up we have the weird appealing-to-boys side of the lyrics. The song screams “I have what boys want.” Who the fuck cares what boys want? Why is she so desperate to appeal to boys? As Feministing wrote about this very song, “…loving yourself because dudes like what you’ve got going on is a pretty flimsy form of self-acceptance. In fact, it’s not really self-acceptance at all if it depends on other people thinking you’re hot.”
Let’s face it, the lyrics aren’t fucking body-positive at all. Telling girls they’re “perfect from the bottom to the top” and two goddamn seconds later shitting on “skinny bitches”? That’s grade-A bullshit, right there. You know that e-cards quote going around, “you can tell who the strong women are, because they’re building others up instead of tearing them down” or whatever someone like Ghandi or Abe Lincoln said? That applies here. The fact that this song can’t go without commenting on other women’s bodies to make its point? This song can go fuck itself. This isn’t what your girls should be listening to. At all.
And that’s the problem: this song is making money hand over fist because people are lining up to clamor over how positive this song is! Look, she tells us we’re perfect! No, she’s selling herself and exploiting the body image discussion for financial gain.
I don’t think I even have the strength to discuss the cultural appropriation, either. The CBC can do that for you. “I have a Trinidadian uncle by marriage, so i’m going to appropriate an entire culture’s music and make it palatable to white people!” UGHHHHHHH.
I’m not the first one to get the douche chills from this song. I won’t be the last.
Fuck this shit, I’m out.