‘All About That Bass’: Another Sad Attempt at Faux Body Positivity


So here’s the thing: a woman can be body positive without the approval of a man. It’s true, and sadly, I don’t think pop media quite understands that yet, even in 2014. In Meghan Trainor’s “All about That Bass” music video, she stereotypically aligns body positivity to equating to male approval, and that the image of being overweight isn’t exactly overweight at all.

Out of the entire video, there is only one true overweight person present, and it’s not even Trainor herself. If you’re going to make a video about body positivity and portray overweight women in a positive fashion, why don’t you try actually portray overweight women first? The fat acceptance movement is truly lacking in positive role models for overweight/obese women, and claiming you’re obese when you’re actually not (Jennifer Lawrence, i’m talking to you) causes more harm than good. The black women that surround her, used as visual props to portray “curves,” further demonstrates the stereotypical image black women have in American society and how they’re often used by white pop stars as props (most notably demonstrated by Miley Cyrus, Lily Allen, and Iggy Azalea, just to name a few). But again, this is just simply white feminism at play, and no wonder it won approval in our whitewashed society.

In the first few lines of the song, she makes it clear that she’s not a “size 2” but she can shake it like she’s “supposed to do,” making it obvious that this is your typical hetrosexual song that’s great for radio play but not so much for critical thinking. She has “all the right junk in all the right places,”  which goes to show that you can have “junk” that’s in wrong places apparently, because if you’re going to be too skinny then your body is abnormal and if you’re going to be too overweight your body is still abnormal. In this so-called body positivity song, there is a gold standard for how the female body should be, and it should be sculpted in a sense that it can be molded into a mini skirt and attract your average cargo shorts-wearing man. Because, according to Trainor who says how her mom told her as a little girl that “boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” the goal for prepubescent girls, skinny or overweight, is to prepare your body to be viewed at and marketed toward men.

Another thing that bothers me is the fact that it appears socially acceptable to grope an overweight person whenever they’re near (Miley Cyrus appears to also have experience with this), similar to how people feel the need to touch others’ hair without permission and feel a pregnant woman’s stomach. And as a side note, featuring skinny children playing with barbie dolls just defeats the purpose of this entire message: I thought this was supposed to be about being body positive, why is it that all i’m seeing is aesthetically-attractive women with normal weight dancing, wearing dresses, and touching each other’s body parts? Is this another Robin Thicke attempt at faux feminism, or are music videos not allowed to show people who are actually considered overweight and deviate from what’s considered societally beautiful? This feels like a Dove commercial trying to rope women in with cutesy, body positive statements so that you’ll buy their new hair conditioner and believe you’re somehow making a feminist statement by using it.

For some reason, out of all the possible body positivity songs created by women, why is Meghan Trainor receiving attention? (Because surely, it has nothing to do with her aesthetic appeal, whiteness, and overall media-friendly attitude that slaps lipstick on sexism and calls it feminism.) This song isn’t body positivity at all; it’s just another faux feminist song that pretends it’s helping overweight females and males when actually it’s just telling them that “hey, even though you’re not skinny, that still doesn’t mean you can’t attract men!”

Here’s the thing: you can actually like your body without having it be sexually attractive to men, it’s 100% possible. The point of body positivity is for you to like your body, not for others to. Not everything is about sex; men don’t define your beauty and women are not your competition. Body acceptance is about learning to accept and love your body the way it is, regardless of whether or not men like extra “booty” or love handles. Take everyone out of the equation when loving your body; love yourself and who you are, and never judge it based on its perception by the irrelevant opinions of others. Their opinions don’t define you, only the opinion of yourself does.

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