Why I Hate Articles Like “Why I Am Not All About That Bass”
The blogger behind Taylored Blog recently wrote an article politely disagreeing with the lyrics of Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” stating that she’s tired of this “big booty” movement and that Trainor’s supposed body positivity statement is undermined by heteronormativity and the singer’s desire to sexually appeal to the opposite sex. Link here: http://tayloredblog.com/2014/09/16/why-i-am-not-all-about-that-bass/
The comments to her article were actually comforting, because many articulate readers described why they themselves disagreed with the author’s views. I may be beating a dead horse here, and I hate writing anything personal on my tumblr, since I view it as an escape of sorts from real life, but I couldn’t help but put my own two cents in.
Yes, there are some problems with Trainor’s song. Yes, I realize that some naturally skinny ladies also have insecurity issues, and that Trainor’s main thesis does supposedly lambast the “silicone Barbie dolls.” However - and this may be a bit of an extreme stretch - but her woe-is-me argument rings strongly of “but I’m white and *I* experience inequality and stereotyping” and “aren’t you being a reverse racist”.
In a world where nearly every piece of pop culture reiterates that sexually appealing, beautiful women are lithe and thin, with sharp cheekbones and flat tummies, “All About That Bass” made me breathe a sigh of relief. I do not think that Trainor is maliciously lashing out at size 2 beauty queens. I do not think that Trainor thinks having a big booty is the end all, be all. (Aside from Trainor and her main backup dancers, the other star of her music video is a zaftig, lush man who is happily dancing his heart out.)
I do, however, think that Trainor is embracing anyone and everyone who has had one ounce of insecurity come into their lives because of society’s overwhelming insistence that women are only attractive if they look like Olivia Wilde or Lake Bell or Lucy Liu. Sure, I’m generalizing - Trainor may be too.
But for anyone who has had to deal with being called too fat to get drunk, Trainor and her song is a fresh air. Why can’t a fashion and lifestyle blogger who, as she herself claims, is a naturally skinny size 2, let this song go? I don’t doubt she has insecurities; she’s a human being in a fucked up world. Why must she pick apart and blow into a giant issue throwaway verses like “skinny bitches”? I really doubt Trainor goes around muttering angrily against thin women, calling them “skinny bitches” in the same way most of society rails against the non-size 2. Has she not seen Pitch Perfect, in which Fat Amy cheerfully explains that she has chosen the moniker “Fat” in a preemptive measure against “skinny bitches” like Chloe and Aubrey’s inevitable whispers about her body.
I viscerally remember my little cousin patting my tummy and giggling “fatty.” I was in the seventh grade.
Anytime my grandparents visit, they constantly shake their heads in disapproval whenever they see me, and ask me what my exercise regimen is and why I can’t be as thin as my twin sister.
I was terrified the first time I had to compete in my first track meet, because I was scared the pendant I was assigned wouldn’t fit me, and that all my jiggly fat would be exposed for the entire high school body to see. (I was a freshman in high school.)
My mom jokingly asked who would possibly want to date me, because I had been a little heavy in high school, and I weigh about 10-15 pounds more now. She was concerned that my online dating profile would be misleading.
I refuse to swim in the summertime (or anytime at all, really) because I don’t want to wear a bathing suit in front of people.
Sometimes when I’m horny and I want sex, I look down at the rolls in my stomach and whisper “eh, better not, I wouldn’t want to subject myself onto any person.”
I went out for drinks with a high school peer sometime last year, and while she got steadily drunk off shots, I remained too sober for her liking as I nursed my beer, after having pregamed with a quarter of a handle of whiskey. She declared me too fat to get drunk, and poked one of my love handles, and said seriously, “I can help you lose weight, you know.” She was an ex-model.
Trainor’s “All About That Bass” is a cheerful, catchy as hell song that encourages you to brush aside people’s glib, but hurtful, comments about your body. It’s a song that describes a mother embracing her daughter, fat and all. It’s a song that encourages you to go after a guy/anyone you want, insecurities be damned. It’s a song that is turning the idea of “sexy” into a more personal, subjective notion.
And it’s a song that is doing far less harm than the author of TayloredBlog seems to think.