I have rather mixed feelings about the hit single All About That Bass. I’ve heard quite a few people singing it’s praises (pun intended), raving about the positive body image message it showcases. I’ve also heard (far fewer) people upset and angry at the comments towards ‘skinny bitches’.
I agree that I’m not too keen on someone promoting something by putting down something else. I don’t think that is a good idea in any context – always far better to positively explain what is great about your ideas than focus on diminishing your opponent – which not only isn’t particularly pleasant, but also smacks of insecurity. Yet Meghan counters her jibe with ‘I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat’ – suggesting all women are made to feel they are fat, whatever their size, and she is highlighting this rather than attacking others.
I do think that there are some very positive messages in the song – ‘every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top’. We could shout that from the rooftops. Her attack on the size zero phenomenon is a positive thing. Far too many people – both women and men – are damaged by society’s obsession with perfection, with appearance. Which is why I find it slightly upsetting that while she starts to challenge this, she also upholds and supports it – just with a different shape ideal. She has ‘all the right junk in all the right places’. I find it fascinating the number of people who try to challenge the skinny is beautiful culture we regrettably find ourselves in, by idolising another, curvy body shape. We are so stuck in this method of thinking, that for many the only way out is to find a different body type to hold above others – but why are we holding any above others? That is what we need to stop.
It is also a shame that she supports her shape by saying ‘boys like a little more booty to hold at night’ – hardly empowering.
Yet, for all that, there is something likeable about the song, and about Meghan. She does look different to many pop stars, and I do think that is a good thing – the world of celebrity is pretty homogenous, and diversity is always so much stronger.
I would never say or think that it’s important to be skinny. I would also not express that horrible view that ‘real women have curves’ – why? Says who? ‘Real women’ don’t ‘have’ anything, because, wait for it…real women are all wonderfully varied and different.
I’ve been thinking about these lyrics for a while now – probably more so because I’m losing weight. I’m not striving for any particular ‘look’ or size though. I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin – I am striving to be fitter and healthier, and with that happier.