As a young woman, body image always seems to be a hot topic for discussion. For as long as I can remember, girls have been comparing, contrasting, and shaming one another’s bodies.
When I was in middle school, I remember being constantly teased for my body. They would call me “stick” and even spread rumors that I had an eating disorder. No one seemed to take it seriously, as I was thin and it was common thought that people were only teased for having a larger body.
Now I can’t speak for everyone, but I’m sure most of us would agree that we were not at our peak attractiveness throughout middle school. I mean, I had just discovered black eyeliner and thought a shoelace made great neck ware. That being said, the last thing anyone needed as self-conscious, puberty novices was MORE body concern. The boys felt too short, the girls felt too tall. Some were too thin, some felt overweight. And with the hormones flying, it was all about who had the bigger cup size. I don’t know about everyone else, but I wish I could go back to the time of my sparkly Limited Too shirts before the time of bras.
As we grew up, the body shaming just got worse. Once puberty was over, it was like there was no excuse. This is how we looked. But instead of accepting that, we pushed our insecurities on each other. I was no different. At sixteen, I had already been 5”9 for about four years and couldn’t seem to gain weight. So just as the “curvier” girls made fun of me, I made fun of them. And that is absolutely not okay.
This is the body I was born with. And while yes, I could stand to be healthier and probably eat a few less cupcakes, I love it. We should all learn to love our bodies. It’s a lifelong process, but it’s one worth doing.
That’s why I have issues with Meagan Trainor’s new song “All About That Bass”. She talks about loving her body. Yay! Body acceptance is great! But as the song goes on, it’s less about personal acceptance and more about shaming “skinny bitches”.
It starts out so great. “I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop. We know that s**t ain’t real C’mon now, make it stop” is a great message. It’s not fair to have regular women comparing themselves to models in magazines because it’s often not real. It’s also not fair to have these beautiful women model and then see a Photoshopped version of themselves in magazines because their natural bodies aren’t “good enough”. This is a positive message all around,
As the song goes on, however, it’s more and more negative. “You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll” and referring to thin women as “skinny bitches” are both nothing more than body shaming. She also says “I ain’t no size two, but I can shake it, shake it, like I’m supposed to do.” To me, that implies that being a size two is a bad thing and that women who are size two can’t “shake it”, whatever that means. I’m not sure, but I’d like to have the opportunity to shake “it”, despite my size.
Not only does the song shame thin women, it shames eating disorders. “No I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat.” As someone who has been accused of having an eating disorder and having a close friend who struggled for years, it’s not funny or clever to discredit women who struggle with accepting their weight. It’s especially not clever to do so in a song that is apparently about body acceptance. Apparently, this acceptance is only for women who aren’t “size twos” and the rest of us should suffer.
All that aside, my biggest issue with the song is the suggestion that woman should only accept their bodies once men accept it. She sings “Yeah my mama she told me don’t worry about your size. She says, “boys like a little more booty to hold at night” and “cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase.” I like men, but they sure are not the reason that I accept my body the way it is. If they’re smart, they’ll all accept women and their bodies. But they cannot be the reason. Body acceptance should be for you. Not for anyone else.
While I love the beat of the song, the message is very body-negative. All shapes and sizes should be accepted. What needs to be focused on is other attributes that are NOT based on appearance. If you are in good health, you rock your body like JT asked you to in 2002. Got curves? Own ‘em. Have thin hips? Get a blingy belt and show them off. There are so many other important things to concentrate on anyway. Like how many cats a person is willing to have or if they’ve read Harry Potter ten times. Priorities, people.