All about that bass still body shames

All About That Bass

Photo credit – Tomos Nolan

WE’VE all heard the song by Meghan Trainor, ‘All about that Bass’, on constant repeat wherever we go, since it now has more than 1.7 million views on YouTube.

At first listen, it does appear to be a song full of empowering lyrics and positive body image messages, calling up magazines and photographers for photoshopping various images of woman into unrealistic proportions. Lines of the songs talk about loving your body the way it is, and knowing you can look and – more importantly – feel good whatever your size. In a world where women are constantly made to feel inferior by the media because of body shape or size and many celebrity ‘role models’ have theirs touched up to portray unrealistic ideals of beauty and sex appeal, it is refreshing to hear some acceptance and surely it would have a positive effect on females of all ages.

However, there are messages in the song that are not quite so confidence-inducing; phrases such as “skinny bitches” and “stick figures” bring about the question: is it okay to make another group of people feel bad and substandard to increase your own feeling of self-worth?
Surely making a woman who is naturally thin, and may or may not already have body image issues, feel bad about herself is just as wrong as making a woman who struggles with being overweight feel bad. Expressions like this are found in many popular songs playing on the radio and in venues lately, such as Nicki Minaj’s ‘Anaconda’.

The artists of these songs do not promote a healthy lifestyle or better diet choices in order to fight the battle of body image issues, instead choosing to give advice such as “don’t worry about your size”, which can be taken in rather worrying ways. And although this may help many women to feel more confident about their shape, it may lower or take away from the awareness of the severity of the health problems and conditions that can come with being overweight (or any weight), and having poor nutrition. Would it not be better to promote being happy with your size as long as you are fit and healthy, rather than not to worry at all?

It becomes apparent that the singer, Trainor, doesn’t actually know much about good diet and exercise when you look at comments made on Twitter about her childhood. She claimed to not be “strong enough to have an eating disorder”, continued with “I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. … And I quit.” The artists seems to claim through her songs that she wants women to feel comfortable in their own bodies; however she fails to grasp the sensitivity surrounding body image problems prevalent in today’s society – especially the effects on one’s mental health which can often be felt by some individuals.

Listening to these songs and other aspects of the media, it becomes clear that not only do artists have a duty to make sure women feel sexy and confident in their own skin and shape it is just as important for them to stress that being happy and comfortable with yourself is more about healthy lifestyle choices rather than just size.