Upon listening to supposed feminist pop-anthem “All About That Bass,” I thought that the singer-songwriter of the song—20-year-old Nantucket native Meghan Trainor—was the next Einstein. I mean, what kind of feminist would I be if I didn’t like a song that proclaims, “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”?
But then, I did a Google search for the song’s lyrics to analyze and accidentally stumbled upon an article on Slate by L.V. Anderson called “Meghan Trainor’s New Song Is Just as Anti-Feminist as ‘All About That Bass.’” I was prepared to totally disagree with Anderson but, as a writer, it’s good to get other people’s perspectives on controversial topics like this, so I proceeded to read on.
I have to admit the author’s perspective made sense to me. It was this quote in particular that got me: “Trainor assures the adolescent girls who are presumably her target audience, ‘Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top,’ but her support for this claim is that ‘boys like a little more booty’—perfection apparently depends on male approval. Despite the girl-power packaging, ‘All About That Bass’ reinforces the idea that female bodies exist for men’s pleasure, and that being desired by a man is crucial to a woman’s self-worth. It says it’s all about that bass, but it seems it’s really all about the boys.”
Huh. After reading that, I definitely had second thoughts about this supposedly revolutionary song.
The truth is Meghan Trainor sandwiches statements about how a woman’s self-worth depends entirely on a man’s perspective between girl-power, “you’re-beautiful-no-matter-what” lyrics. She also disses girls who are naturally skinny with derogatory comments such as “skinny [censored]” and “stick figure silicone Barbie doll.” Just because skinny people are often considered more pretty than people who weigh a bit more doesn’t mean that overweight people should be considered beautiful and skinny people should be considered ugly! If somebody is happy, healthy, and genuinely kind and caring towards others, their weight doesn’t matter. In the words of “Fat Amy” from the movie “Pitch Perfect,” “You all have fat hearts, and that’s what matters.” I couldn’t have said it better myself!
So even though I can’t help but love the song’s peppy 60’s “Hairspray”-type vibe, I just can’t appreciate the song like I used to when it comes on the radio. It will be amazing when songs don’t have lyrics in which a woman’s beauty depends entirely on a man’s perspective.