I’ve been subjected to Meghan Trainor’s annoying false body positivity song “All About That Bass” on almost every single pop station, and the more I listen to even one single note of it, the more annoyed I get. I’ve railed on Facebook about how the war between women – specifically, thin women and not-thin women – is getting out of hand, that calling bigger women “Real Women” and saying things like “Meat is for the man, bone is for the dog” is counterproductive. And Meghan Trainor just plays right into that.
I mean, at first, the song isn’t so bad. She’s not a size 2, and she can still shake it, and that’s awesome. I can get behind that kind of body positivity. As someone who has stretch marks, I hate the excessive fashion model Photoshopping, too. But setting aside all the anti-feminist claptrap, that’s it’s ok to have a bigger derriere because guys like it, and setting aside the fact that “booty” has been in vogue since J. Lo became more than just a backup dancer on “In Living Color” and Sir Mix-A-Lot was expounding on teeny-tiny waists and round things in his face, she then goes on to slam thin women. Specifically, she refers to them as “skinny bitches.” And in the video for “All About That Bass,” the slender woman gets treated terribly.
So that’s where she loses me in her alleged body positivity anthem. Look, I’m all about accepting your body. I’m about treating your body well, feeding it healthy, nourishing food, and exercising to keep it healthy. I believe in sleep to rejuvenate it. And I certainly don’t believe that every woman needs to be a size 2. Not all of us are built that way. As long as you truly take care of your body, no matter its shape, you can live a happy, healthy life, and no one should tell you that your body isn’t beautiful, because it is. No one should tell you that you’re not a real woman, because you are. And if some guy doesn’t like you because of it, he’s not the right guy for you.
But once you start bashing women for their body types, whether that body type is waifish or sturdy, that’s where body positivity swings in the wrong direction. It attacks other women and makes them feel bad about their bodies. Women come in all shapes and sizes. The hardcore fashion magazines tell us that being very tall and very skinny, with very little muscle tone, is attractive. The backlash tells us that no, being anything smaller than a size 10 is a betrayal to all women. But that’s not healthy for some of us, either. There’s a healthy medium in there, and maybe that’s a size medium, or maybe it’s just accepting our differences and being supportive of each other as women. Maybe even inspiring each other, as one of my Facebook friends does to me every time she posts a photo or video of herself completing a challenging CrossFit move.
I have a daughter. She’s still little, but she’s going to grow up in this world that, instead of the early 1990s that I experienced full of Kate Moss heroin-chic skinny, is going to criticize her no matter what her size is. She’s going to see in magazines that she’s supposed to be skinny, and she’s going to see the backlash against skinny women, and she’s going to feel like she just can’t win either way. And what am I supposed to tell her? Here’s what I’m going to tell her:
You are perfect the way you are. You are beautiful. It’s not about that stupid number on the scale, or that dumb number on the inside of your clothes, because women’s sizes are completely messed up, anyway. It’s about feeling strong and healthy and knowing that your body can accomplish great things.
That’s so much more in line with a body positivity mindset than talking about skinny bitches and only being happy with your body because boys like more booty to hold at night.