Monday, May 4, 2015

Why I'm Defending Meghan Trainor

Lately I've been seeing posts about Meghan Trainor's "All About that Bass", casting it in a negative light and calling it "skinny shaming." 

I'm here as a skinny/scrawny young woman (just a touch older than Ms. Trainor herself) to tell you that I find absolutely no offense in the song.

In fact, I'm going to defend it.

The Argument:
Meghan Trainor's song is a diss to young skinny women everywhere, perpetrating the idea that curvy is better than skinny and all girls should strive to be bigger. Ms. Trainor mistakenly thinks she's promoting positive body image when she's actually destroying anyone who was born naturally skinny.

My Thoughts:
My first thought is "Wow. get over it. It's a song." Now, that's my first reaction and then I have to step back and remember how people can be emotionally connected to songs.

So that's when I started to dissect "Bass" and figure out how I felt about it as a skinny, not-so-curvy woman.

Here's what I realized: People are taking one song's lyrics out of context and allowing the one song to make them feel like they (or maybe, just going on a crusade on behalf of someone else) aren't worth enough.

So the problem is still the question of worth. 

The lyrics that are called into question are:

1. "Yeah it's pretty clear I ain't no size 2,
but I can shake it, shake it like I'm supposed to do."

The first lyrics in question are specific to Meghan herself. She's not a size 2, but she can still shake her body the way it was meant to shake. Know what? So can I.  It looks different, I'm sure, but it doesn't change that we can "shake it" (that is, work out bodies, live our lives) the way we're meant to. 

It wouldn't be healthy for someone of Meghan's body type to starve herself in order to get to my body type. Nor would it be healthy for someone like me to try to achieve Meghan's shape. We weren't built that way. We aren't going to obsess about being like someone else.

We're going to be our beautiful selves.

2. "My mama she told me don't worry 'bout your size.
She said boys like a little more booty to hold at night." 

The lyrics, again, are specific to the singer.  Know what? My mama tells me things about my body to help me see my own beauty, too. That's what mama's do. The song's mama is telling her daughter she's beautiful as she is and it's not going to keep her from finding love if she wants it.

Mom loves you. Always. 

The same can be said for me. There are guys who want a curvier girl. They like a little more to hold onto. Other guys like a girl who's a bit more petite. Maybe he himself is more on the petite size and he likes a girls that fits (or is shorter than he is). 

Let's flip this...would it be wrong to think that girls like different kinds of guys? Some girls like bigger guys, be it muscle bulk or teddy bears. Other girls like the leaner man, be he lean a built or a little more gangly. To each her own, right? Are we going to fault men for liking girls who have a little more booty?
I think not.

3. "I'm bringing booty back,
go head and tell them skinny bitches that."

This one seems to be a REAL BIG issue. Because, of course, to call anyone a skinny bitch is rude and skinny shaming and how dare she, right?
For one, I like to think of "A Diva's Christmas Carol" when Ebony Scrooge calls Kathy Griffin's Ghost of Christmas past a "skinny bitch" and Kathy's response is .
"Gasp! You really think I look skinny?"

(Is bitch the nicest word on the street? No, of course not. Much like other slanderous words, it's used to reference a certain type of person. In this case, women. I'm not going to focus on whether or not music and TV should use offensive language to reference someone in their own group - like the n-word or bitch etc)

The whole line isn't being referenced.

"I'm bringing booty back.
Go 'head and tell them skinny bitches that.
Nah, I'm just playin' I know y'all think you're fat.
But I'm here to tell you every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top."

When you fill in the rest, I find it hard to believe someone can be offended. Meghan is saying "We all have issues, but you're just as beautiful as anyone else."

4. "No I won't be no stick figure, silicone Barbie doll.
So if that's what you're into just go 'head and move along."

This is the other hot-button lyric. The argument that "Bass" is dissing skinny girls and calling us Barbie dolls (which is apparently very offensive) and insinuating that we aren't real (silicone). 

I've never once felt like this lyric applied to me. Not once. 

I, personally, have always felt this lyric focuses on the societal expectation of what women should be--the photoshopped, airbrushed image that no one actually can live up to.

Look at any magazine. The women in them are stick figures. They look like Barbie Dolls. They don't look real. 

Society also makes women feel like they need augmentation to be beautiful. The silicone effect, if you will. You aren't good enough if you aren't super skinny WITH large boobs. You need the perfect nose, the perfect hair, the best teeth.

"Bass" is asserting that this image won't be met. Meghan is going to be Meghan, and that's not going to be in line with the airbrushed image. She's not going to be what society demands of women.
And if you're into that airbrushed thing? Well you can move along.

Same goes for me. If you expect me to have the perfect waist, no cellulite, firm thighs and perky bust just because I'm skinny, you can keep on going. I'm not going to starve myself or have surgical implantations made in order to look like a Kardashian or a skinny model who never eats. 
You can just keep moving. That ain't me.

Despite being a very different body type from Meghan Trainor, I feel "Bass" still applies to me. I can completely agree with the idea behind the lyrics, even if I am not "all about that bass" in my own body type (admittedly I'm still "no treble"). 

I think throwing Meghan Trainor under a bus just for singing a song that led her to fame and called curvy beautiful is an ugly thing to do. When a woman finally stands up and says she won't take on the burden of "bigger is ugly or wrong", and other women call foul and tear her down? That's not sisterhood. That's not beautiful.

Meghan Trainor, you're an Effing Swan. There's no ugly duckling syndrome here - except perhaps, in the women who feel the need to taint this young vixen's rise to fame. I take WAY more issue with One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful."

As for me and my skinny self? I'm going to keep rocking out to "All About that Bass" whenever I feel like it. And probably "Title" too. 


S. R. Karfelt said...

This is so real and I so relate. Seriously in both directions, depending on whether I'm living off air and water and writing pretty much non-stop OR editing with the help of CAKE.

Ack! The chick on the stairs gif FREAKS me out! LOL.

I love your take, Kelse. Of course I like the way your mind works pretty much 24/7.

It's all about the effing swan, right? They come in assorted sizes.

Somehow I missed the complaints about this song, mostly because I pretty much only listen to my fav satellite radio station and never leave my writing cave. I miss everything. Someone told me we have a youngish President with big ears who does Buzzfeed videos.

Pfft. Right.

Whenever I peek OUT of my writing cave everyone appears to be super sensitive and I hear lots of whining, "What do you mean by that?" "It's all about meeeeeeeeeeee," and "I have it sooooo hard!"


Thanks, Obama. ;)

Kelsey Keating said...

S.R. you are hilarious. Not surprised at all that we think alike, and I too hate to hear the whining.
It's like social media gave everyone a platform to feel like they are the only on who matters (or that everyone is out to get them).

I say rock out to your jams and come back in 2017 when we have a new president to hear what people are whining about then.

Ashley P. said...

Psh, I haven't even heard the entire song, much less that there was any kerfuffle about it. I guess my cave is even more secluded than yours, S.R. :P

D.M. Kilgore said...

Well, I'm a curvy lass, so naturally I am not offended by this song. I was never bothered by the Junk In The Trunk song or Baby Got Back or anything else that alludes to "you need a big ol' butt to be a pretty fat girl". Pfft. I might have base but it's not in my butt. LOL

If monkeys can come in shades of blue, then effing swans can have short necks. Who cares.

Women are busy tearing each other down instead of building each other up. I would gladly sing along with this song or one about being skinny minny if it has a good beat.


D.M. Kilgore said...

*bass* though a good base matters too. LOL

Kelsey Keating said...

Ohmygosh, D.M.
"Effing swans can have short necks"

So true. So beautiful.

Women need to stop tearing each other apart or ASSUMING that other women are tearing them apart.

We need to listen to Colbie Callait and remember "You don't have to try so hard...don't you like you? Because I like you."

Emily Kunkel said...

Wonderful post! I've always wondered why people are so offended by this song. Way to speak up about it! We all need to see that our bodies are beautiful even if they aren't like someone else's

P.S. I loved the Jim Carey gif hahahaha :)