A few weeks ago my colleague Hannah Wolfe wrote an opinion article titled “I’m not all about that bass,” in which she criticized Meghan Trainor’s chart-topping song “All about that Bass.” Wolfe approached the song from a feminist point of view. Within minutes of her article being posted online it started getting attention. Many of the comments attacked Wolfe as a writer, a few even assuming she must be skinny, because only a skinny person would write something of that nature.
While Wolfe is a thin young woman, I am not. I am a size 18 and like Wolfe, I am “not all about that bass,” and this is why.
Trainor is not singing about loving yourself for the sake of loving yourself, she is preaching an outdated agenda of loving yourself because men find you attractive. “Trainor is saying ‘I’m comfortable with how I look, because it’s attractive to men,’ which is a shaky way to bolster self-esteem,” Wolfe said in her article.
I could not agree more. I have to admit, for being overweight, I got pretty lucky. Most of my fat is in my bust, thighs and butt. I do not have a beach ball belly and my arms are proportionate. So when I heard “All about that bass,” none of the lyrics were new or ground-breaking for me.
Over the summer, I got street harassed a lot. Whether I was walking to the bus stop or to get food, there was seldom a time I did not get hit on. My days were filled with comments like “I can’t let a nice thick white woman like you walk on past and not say anything,” to “how long have you had that booty?” (Since I was 12? How does one even answer that?!)
One time I was a short on money and could not afford the smoothie I had just ordered. A man in line behind me said he’d buy it because I was so beautiful and I “deserved” that smoothie. Why someone deserves a smoothie just for being beautiful is beyond me, but am not above a free smoothie.
I know that men “like a little booty to hold at night,” as Trainor puts it in her song, but that does not affect my opinion of myself at all. I do not like my body. The aforementioned smoothie was probably the only thing I consumed that day just because I was afraid of gaining weight during my summer internship.
My boyfriend of three years loves my body and does not want me to lose weight. While I respect his opinion as my significant other, it is not his body. I hate being overweight. Under Trainor’s logic I should stay obese and unhappy because I have “all the right junk in all the right places.” If I were ten years younger, my impressionable self might hear the song and think I should strive to keep a body men will like, while in reality I should not be caring what men like at all.
Recently, Jordan Carver, a German model known for her curves, took up boxing. She has lost a lot of fat, slimmed down her stomach and bulked up her arms and legs. I think she looks healthy and great. However, her Facebook photos have been flooded with comments from male fans telling her “this is disgusting, not sexy at all,” or “I liked you better with curves.” According to the logic behind “All about that Bass,” Carver should ditch her workouts and boxing aspirations and strive for curves to please men, which I think is totally wrong.
At my age, I am old enough to realize how ludicrous the message behind Trainor’s song is. However, I really do worry for the younger generation who may be impressionable enough to take it to heart.