If you are yet to listen to Meghan Trainor’s ‘All About That Bass’, this week’s number one, then seriously, where have you been? Apart from anything else, it is perhaps THE catchiest song of the year and whatever you may think about it, I highly doubt you will have the will power to not dance around your bedroom in your underwear to it at least once a day. I know I won’t.
For any girl who considers herself to have curves or not be the ‘perfect’ thin ideal, ‘All About That Bass’ couldn’t be more empowering. Yes ladies, when this song comes on, suddenly the usually loathed love handles and not-exactly-inconspicuous-bums become our best assets. If only for three minutes and nine seconds (though hopefully longer girlies, Meghan speaks truth) we believe that every inch of us ‘is perfect from the bottom to the top’.
But what if you’re not a curvy girl? Is there a bit more to it than just feeling like a white girl dropping it to ‘N*ggas In Paris’? ‘All About That Bass’ doesn’t just celebrate curves, there also seems to be a tad bit of underlying skinny shaming. If you listen to the lyrics, which with a song like this is kind of the point, you get the sense that it is the curvy girls vs. the ‘skinny bitches’, that we’re down-to-earth and ‘real’ next to the ‘stick figure silicone Barbie dolls’, and that we’ve got ‘all the right junk in all the right places’, which would make anything else…er…wrong?
It’s tempting to brush this part of the song off. I mean, thin people get to be considered the ideal 99% of the time, are the rest of us not allowed even one measly song? And besides, thin people are never going to wish they had different bodies in the same way that we often do, right? Wrong. More often than not, whatever size body a girl has, there are things she wishes she could change. And as hard as it is to believe for us curvier girls, a lot of the time that’s putting on weight, or having more of the right junk in more of the right places. The thing that stops ‘All About That Bass’ from being the perfect body confidence anthem is that it’s still exclusive, it’s still setting one body shape over another and suggesting that being thin makes you fake and plastic.
What us girls could really do with is a bit more body confidence for everyone, an anthem that doesn’t leave anyone awkwardly dancing knowing it’s not meant for them. By putting curvy girls on a pedestal, ‘All About That Bass’ is only adding to the climate of ‘right’ bodies and ‘wrong’ bodies that our society already has enough of thankyouverymuch. And as for anyone who thinks it’s about time bigger girls got to turn the tables a bit and feel like the ‘ideal’, taking it out on the ‘skinny bitches’ is not helpful to any of us – because whoever’s to blame that our society only sees ‘the skinny girl’ as ideal (which believe you me I am not going to get into) – one thing is for sure, it is not actually skinny girls.
So no, you won’t catch me boycotting this song on the dance floor – if its lyrics advocated banning burgers and burning books I think I’d still be tapping my feet – but it certainly isn’t the answer to body confidence that many of us are waiting for. I don’t need to tell you that being a female is certainly not easy, whatever your shape and size, we all face insecurities even if they come in different forms. Body confidence starts with acceptance, not just of ourselves, but of our fellow females, so if we could all just go and tell a pal that she’s smokin’, that would be great.