I Love The Song, But…

Lately my Facebook feed is filled with versions of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass”, especially the original, which I understand to be a “reaction” to big girl comments:

I admit it, I love the song, but I hate the video.  For something that is supposed to provide a positive message on body image, I think it actually panders to convention.  Let’s start with the fact that Ms. Trainor is entirely average sized.   And also, adorable.  (Though there may need to be a whole second post on the little-girl imagery expressed in the adult costuming.)  The women she surrounds herself with are also average sized (except those who are the “skinny” examples), and adorable.  The one truly “big” person in the video is the man.  Even the young girls (who I guess are meant to represent Ms. Trainor and her friends as children) are actually quite slender.  What about any of them would cause a mother to tell one of them not to worry about her size?!?

What are we telling women with this video, especially tied to the lyrics?  That average is too.damn.big, unless you’re male.  There,  I said it.  My loyal readers will know this is something I think about a lot.  As a woman who has always been considered big, even after getting to a weight that even my doctor said was “enough already”, media examples of what’s right and wrong about size have impacted my self-image my whole life.  If my feelings on this are new to you, read this.  I’ll wait for you.

So, are we now on the same page?  If you’re going to set yourself up as a role model on a particular issue, in this case, body image as it relates to size, PLEASE be careful how you do so.  If I had seen this video at my heaviest, it would simply have been yet one more example of how I could never reach the ideal for a woman’s body.  After all, if Ms. Trainor is too heavy, what did that make me?  At my best weight, she’s smaller than I, especially given her (in some ways) less than rounded body.

But in the end, it’s a really cool song…so enjoy it in this version, that is quite fabulous, includes not only Ms. Trainor but Jimmy Fallon & the Roots, AND lets you hear the lyrics, which actually do send that great message that I think was the intention:

You’re welcome.

4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KBrookes
    Sep 07, 2014 @ 13:02:57

    I appreciate and agree with what you have to say here. I am not sure quite what I would say about the little girl costumes. I am starting to imagine the video I might like to see. I think the racial politics of this video are also worth talking about. The skinny “Barbie Dolls” are black women with blonde wigs. I can see how that might signify African American women being held up to a white aesthetic. And maybe showing white “Barbie Dolls” vs. curvy black women would somehow seem to angry (?). But how about a celebration of the body/booty that the song claims to “bring back”?


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