I Am Not All About That Bass: Deconstructing The Summer’s Feel-Good, Body-Positive Hit

Due to a recent threat I received on Facebook, I’m closing discussion here.

You’d know if you’d heard Meghan Trainor’s body acceptance anthem “All About That Bass” before. Because if you had, you’d still be hearing it right now in your head. Over. And over. And over.

Since we’ve got a lot of new visitors here lately, I’m going to restate the unofficial Trout Nation opinion* on liking problematic stuff: Just because we like something doesn’t mean it’s above reproach. We should practice turning a critical eye on the media we consume, as it gives us a chance to view our own thoughts through the lens of pop culture. This helps us learn about internalized prejudices we might otherwise have never realized we had.

(*I said “unofficial” because it’s nothing we’ve ever voted on. It just seems like a lot of people come here specifically for the dissection of pop culture. And we talk about it a lot. But we don’t have a democracy or anything. It’s a government of the people and one bewildered figurehead.)

Before we start taking this apart piece by piece, I want to warn you that the entire song is sung by a white girl using a faux African-American Vernacular accent that’s only about two levels below Iggy Azalea on the “There is no way you actually sound like that in real life”-o-meter.

So, let’s listen to this song and take a look at its accompanying video: 

This thing is catchy, the girl is adorable, the video is like John Waters’s Hairspray if it hadn’t been satire and Amber Von Tussel had been nice. It’s cute and I can see why a lot of people like it. But holy shit is it problematic! Jesus and wowza. Let’s ease into this with some trivial griping before we get on with the serious stuff.

“Because you know I’m all about that bass, ’bout that bass, no treble.”

But what you are singing? Your voice right now? That’s treble. A song that was only bass wouldn’t be a very interesting song. And unless you have a really impressive range that you’re not showing off on this particular composition, you’re going to have a hard time hacking it as a singer in a world that’s all bass and no treble.

So, the lyrics begin:

“Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two/ but I can shake it, shake it, like I’m supposed to do.”

So, she says it’s clear that she’s not a size two:

That's her, the blond one in the middle.

That’s her, the blond one in the middle.

Okay, so, yeah. Maybe not a size two. But not fat or “plus-size” by any means. Don’t let the unflattering dress trick your eye. This girl is not a fat girl. This whole concept of not-fat women believing they need to call attention to their not-fat bodies in order to promote body acceptance baffles me. I call this the “fatcceptable movement.” Notice I didn’t say “fat acceptance movement” or “body acceptance movement.” Both of those ideologies rally against the cultural standard of one perfect size at which an individual earns their humanity. The fatcceptable movement insists that there is only one type of “real” woman, and any outliers are less sexually desirable to heterosexual men, and therefore of less value.

In the fatcceptable zone, you’ll find women ranging from a US size eight to a US size fourteen talking about how big is beautiful, men don’t want sticks, real women have curves, etc. Lots of famous women have made bold statements about their size while living in the fatcceptable zone. Among them are Jennifer Lawrence,  Never Been Kissed-era Drew Barrymore, and Kate Winslet before she started looking like Barbie’s hot mom (that’s a compliment, by the way). These are all women who do not fall outside of the normal range of sexually attractive bodies, but who don’t get described as skinny and who are expected to answer questions about how they feel about their “curves.” Holding women like this up as “plus-size” is meant to spread  a message of body acceptance and positivity to women who aren’t the size two that Trainor throws out there, but who aren’t fat, either. To sum up, easy to digest anthems and slogans of this nature are meant to make women who think they’re fat feel good about the fat bodies they don’t have, while constantly reminding them that they should feel fat.

The lyric “but I can shake it shake it/like I’m supposed to do,” bothers me on two fronts. One, we were supposed to be shaking it this whole time? Why didn’t anyone tell me? Is this going to affect my grade? And two, people who’re a size two can’t shake it? What size is Shakira? Because she’s pretty little and she can definitely shake it.

“Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase/
And all the right junk in all the right places”

It’s in the right places, guys! Meghan Trainor is a fanfic Mary Sue. You heard it here first.

One of the main themes of this song is that women who are considered to be of average size are preferred by men. If this song is promoting body positivity, then why does it define a specific body type as being more desirable, and place all of a woman’s value on her fuckability to heterosexual men?

“I see the magazines workin’ that Photoshop/We know that shit ain’t real, C’mon now, make it stop/
If you got beauty beauty, just raise ‘em up/
Cause every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”

This verse is what “All About That Bass” could have been. Look how perfect it is. It celebrates the body of every woman and encourages them to celebrate their beauty in turn. Granted, beauty is a subjective construct that women shouldn’t have to worry about in the first place, so there is a problematic ideology that’s still inherent in these lyrics. But let’s focus on how rare it is to hear this message in pop music in the first place.

Like I said, it’s what this song could have been, because after that we’re right back to:

“Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size/She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night”

Again, the message isn’t really, “I have value, even though I don’t fit the mold I’ve been told I should fit,” but, “I have value, in fact I have more value than some other women who don’t share my body type, because I’m the one a heterosexual man should be attracted to.” And I say should be, because the next few lines say exactly that:

“You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll/So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along”

“If you’re not a heterosexual man willing to objectify me over other women, then HA HA! I am rejecting you first.”

At what point did “body positivity” become, or need to become, yet another method to police each other’s bodies? If a woman has breast implants, that somehow lowers her worth? This is just another way in which the fatcceptable movement tries to define who is and isn’t a “real” woman. Why is it that we don’t view breast implants as body modification on the same scale as piercings or tattoos? I have this crazy feeling that it has something to do with misogyny. Maybe because the primary objective of breast implants is to conform to a specific cultural standard? How is that different from piercing your septum?

I know how it’s different. Men pierce shit, too! Plastic surgery is viewed as a way for women to make themselves more sexually desirable to heterosexual men for as far into their lives as possible. Even reconstructive plastic surgery after breast cancer fulfills this role; when performed for the patient’s personal comfort, it’s still done to uphold the standard that all women must have breasts (well hello, transmisogyny!), which is what’s making that patient uncomfortable in the first place. To be clear, I’m not shaming anyone for having any elective cosmetic surgery for any reason, just defining our world view and cultural expectations of breasts in this context.

So, with that in mind, back to the fatcceptable stance on plastic surgery: even though we’re defining your worth as a woman solely by your appeal to men, if you do anything to try to make yourself more appealing, you’re a fake ass bitch and we hate you.

Now, onto the “stick figure” portion of the chorus. This is just another shot fired at women who have bodies that threaten the self-esteem of women who can only be content about their size if it’s hailed as the “perfect” shape. That’s really what’s at the base of any “eat a sandwich” or “stick insect” barb.

“I’m bringing booty back/Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that/No I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat/but I’m here to tell ya every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”

This verse perfectly incapsulates what is wrong with this song. What could be a positive message comes out as a backhanded compliment. Sure, every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top, but only grudgingly. You get to feel good about yourself, but only if women Meghan Trainor’s size get to feel better by mocking your appearance. And only if you share the same weight insecurities.

And come on. Saying what you really think, followed by “just kidding,” is the most passive aggressive move on the planet. “Just playing” is like “bless your heart”: it’s a chance for the speaker to say whatever they want while forcing the target of the insult to accept what’s being said in good humor.

Now, since we’re past all the verses, I want to talk about the video. There’s a theme here:

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 4.00.37 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 4.00.54 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-26 at 4.02.11 PM

Did you guess the theme? Did you guess “black women as props?” Because that’s the theme. Of the four back-up dancers in the video, one is white. Trainor is shown flanked by two black women several times, including a scene where the women seem to be enthusiastically encouraging her dancing, a la Miley Cyrus’s infamous “We Can’t Stop” video. This isn’t done to encourage body acceptance or equality of any kind; it’s to show the audience that Trainor is cool. White people can’t dance, right? So if black people cheer on a white girl dancing, that lends her points, right? Because the video strikingly recalls Waters’s Hairspray, I can’t help but be reminded of the line, “Being invited places by colored people! It feels so hip!” We white people love to see ourselves getting approval from black people. We just don’t want our societal standing challenged, because that makes us deeply uncomfortable.

Looking at the two bottom images, let’s discuss the role of “booty” in this song. Booty outside of the pirate context has long been used to evoke the stereotypical image of a black woman with a large, round butt. This particular racial trope has been used by white people to objectify, fetishize, and sexualize black women by our media and our white supremacist culture, then white girls apply it to themselves in a positive context. When Trainor calls attention to the size of her butt and calls it a booty, we’re supposed to laud her as being body positive and a strong feminist, but  she can’t “bring booty back,” because it was never used to stereotype her to begin with.

The last picture is a perfect example of how society views the bodies of black women as available to all takers. In this scene, the white woman pictured grabs the black woman’s butt while she’s dancing. This reinforces not only the insidious cultural need of white people to control and sexualize black women’s bodies, but also the dangerous belief that the bodies of black women are on offer for anyone to sample, consent not required.

Sidebar, the fact that all of the above was going on, and the song was written in the style of 60′s pop music, a genre that was appropriated from black artists of the time and repackaged with white faces really drives home a truth that many white pop artists don’t want to admit: that white performers are only doing shallow imitations of black artists, and suppressing those black artists’ work in the hopes that no one will notice.

I know a lot of people are going to criticize me for deconstructing something that seems, on its surface, to be a positive, important statement, but as a fat woman, I’m no longer content for women who are not fat to define themselves as such to lend their defensiveness and unhappiness with their bodies credibility. As a feminist, I’m no longer content to watch women of color treated as props to further an appropriation of beauty standards that white women boast about and black women are oppressed by. If the core of your message devalues other women based on their physical appearance, you’re not promoting an ideal that helps women in the way you believe it does.

332 thoughts on “I Am Not All About That Bass: Deconstructing The Summer’s Feel-Good, Body-Positive Hit

  1. Bravo Jenny! Well said! First time I have seen this video and I am mostly offended by it, even before I read your recap. You expressed most of my feelings on this video very well. Thank you.

    1. Can’t anybody just write a dong any more that is happy, sounds good, and doesn’t need to be picked apart and torn into tiny shreds. Size 2, size 22…black, white, bass, or baritone…let people of their thing with negative reaction. If we all want something to REALLY worry about let’s think of the starving kids and homeless and senior citizens right here in the U.S. How about the abuse and neglect right down the street or the lack of tolerance for cultural diversity. If picking apart this song the most important and life changing activity you can do today, then go for it. If there is something that might make a greater impact on the lives of this’d around you, maybe thst would be a better use of your time. Thanks for reading.

      1. Here’s the thing: the “use your time making a greater impact” idea sounds good, but it assumes that people can’t care about more than one thing at a time, that we’re able to order social issues according to their importance and can only move on from one to the next after the entire problem is solved, and that we can continue to ignore problematic issues in our culture and still affect that change in the first place. None of that stuff is true, and people do need to concentrate their efforts in different areas to solve different problems. I can’t do anything about abuse or neglect. I’m not in a position to donate a lot of money or go out and adopt children. Other people are, and they do that, and it’s wonderful. Maybe they’re not equipped to point out issues with cultural phenomenons that could hurt other parts of the population. If we’re all doing the same thing, other things will fall by the wayside. If we’re all using all of our efforts for that abuse and neglect, who’s working on the lack of tolerance for cultural diversity? If we’re all out there worrying about starving kids and everybody is using every resource for just that specific problem, who’s helping those homeless people? Meanwhile, if we’re using everybody’s resources in different ways, we have more people capable of affecting change. So, while it’s a nice thought that we’re all equal and need to worry about these few problems instead of smaller ones, it doesn’t work in a practical sense.

      2. Amen, Vic.

        I have gained 35 lbs over the last couple years and I feel bad about it a LOT. I tried chugging coffee to lift my metabolism and motivate me to be more active and it only served to make me gain more weight, and pretty rapidly. I’m in a really bad place right now. But I find this song empowering without letting it sway my opinion of smaller girls. After all, I’m not some mindless sheep that changes my whole outlook of others based on a few words in a song. When it comes on, I don’t think ‘Damn right, skinny Bitches! In your face!’… No, I think ‘Wow Tiff, why can’t you be that satisfied with your body? You don’t think other overweight girls are ugly, so why think that of yourself?’ It actually takes my mind out of the funk I am in and helps me refocus and see it all in perspective. I wish they would play it more often. It’s meant to be a feel-good song and it is.

        As a song writer myself, I can’t imagine the pain I would feel at someone tearing apart my inner feelings, line by line, word by word, and critiquing it all so harshly. You write songs when you are feeling something. Feelings are not perfect, they are emotion. Feelings can not change based on how others might view them, they simply ARE in that moment. I am sorry if skinny girls or fat girls alike find it offensive, but this particular song is helping me fight my battles and I love it. If you don’t love it, don’t listen. Why spend time ripping apart someone else’s confidence in their own body? What good could possibly come of this article? It’s only causing anger and adding fuel to the body shaming fire.

        1. I’m glad it makes you feel better. I’m a writer, too, and my work is critiqued harshly, as well. You move on and keep doing you, or you don’t put your work out publicly. Those are the two choices. Meghan Trainor is getting plenty of praise for this work, so a little bit of criticism shouldn’t bother her.

  2. Thank you! I Shuddered realizing that this was going to be held up as a shining example of body positivity when it’s more or less Lily Allen Rides Again. It’s not body positivity if you’re offering up a different body type for “least appealing” status, and it STILL defines a “good” body not as a body in which a woman feels comfortable but as one that dudes find appealing. But let the “feminist anthem” accolades roll!

    And the racial element will be downplayed or more likely ignored, because the cutie cute “me and my girls” vibe will make critics hesitate to draw fire. The bubblegum feel, modest clothing, and less lascivious focus will be the get out of racism call outs free card held against the Miley Cyrus standard.

    Ugh. Thanks for not letting it slide. You’re fast becoming one of my favorite voices on the internets.

  3. THANK YOU. My boyfriend showed me this song yesterday because he was unsure about it and wanted to know what I thought. This articulates my feelings far better than I did.

    I’m also really suspicious about the fact that she’s using “all about that bass” to say what she’s talking about- I feel like there’s some more racism/sexism going on there as well, but I’m not sure what it is.

    1. I wouldn’t over think the “all about the bass” part. The lower register of pitches has always been attributed to bigger things throughout western music. I think that is all she is referencing, however there may be a modern concept I am missing.

  4. Can I just… the “I know you think you’re fat” line.

    It’s not so much a “thinking” thing as an “existing in reality” thing????

  5. It’s not all misogyny, I think a lot of this comes from an inherent sense of insecurity, where we are so used to thinking negatively about our bodies, we have to boost ourselves by using other people’s positive opinions.

    Basically what i’m saying is, for a long time when I was at my lowest point of self esteem, my husband/best friend/other people would point out that most guys don’t even notice that i’m overweight cuz they’re too busy staring at my cleavage. And this would make me feel better, because I couldn’t think nice things about my appearance and didn’t see how anyone else could either, but at least there was one aspect of it that could be considered good.

    Obviously a pretty unhealthy mental state. But this isn’t unique to me. I think most women experience this in some form or another. It’s pervasive. We get to thinking of it as a standard, where we should feel good about ourselves not because we are good, but because our appearance is pleasing to other people. :/

      1. No, misogyny is a hatred of women. This is more of a self hatred thing, not because we’re women, but because we aren’t “good” women. And it’s present in men as well. Tons of men think they are worthless if they are overweight and/or not “hot” in a traditional sense.

        1. Amber, I think you’re correct that there is a self-hate thing going on. But I think the reason folks are calling misogyny, is becuase the framework against which women (and yes, Men) judge themselves is inherently misogynistic. If there wasn’t a narrowly defined, racially privileged, beauty based standard of self worth, would you struggle with your self-hate for fitting outside this norm?

        2. The self-hatred thing is a product of a mysogynistic culture that values women’s attractiveness to cis het men over everything else. Hating “bad” women (when “bad” is defined as “bad for boners”) is still hating women, in my book.

        3. It isn’t all misogynistic, no, but another symptom of sexism. Fat shaming and skinny shaming are two sides of the same coin: Objectification of women’s bodies. And imagine if the coin were flipped and the song became about a skinny girl singing about how much better it is to be skinny than fat. The idea that our value is in how desirable we are to heterosexual men. We have a common enemy in objectification, let’s stop doing it to each other and stop doing it, period.

          1. And you don’t think women commodify themselves? Men don’t (usually) force women to be prostitutes, porn stars, strippers, gold diggers, models, or to have sex with a man to get something, etc. Women are complicit and it’s time that people start recognizing that.

        4. Amber, I agree with you. Blaming misogyny is not correct unless you consider women hating women to be misogyny (not the usual definition). Few heterosexual men work in the fashion industry of for women’s magazines. But in the monolithic feminist worldview, all men are to blame for the problems of all women. I have lost track of which women’s behavior we men are responsible for.

  6. I’ve completely missed this song and video until now. But yeah, it’s just as problematic to me as it is to you. The only really “fat” person in the entire video is the guy — and he’s just another black person being used as a prop. Sheesh. (And yeah, black women as props was the first thing I noticed.)

    Mostly all this video did for me was make me even more sick of our obsession with female shapes than I already am. I wish there were some way to just not talk about any woman’s appearance for a year, because the whole obsession with both slenderness and youth is just so crazy-making and unhealthy. More important is what women are saying and doing.

    I’m mystified as to what “I’m all about the bass, no treble” has to do with the rest of this song at all. I’m with Kyssandrith on this — it sounds like some weird code I’m not getting, or some kind of statement about how the singer may be fat, but she’s no lesbian — she’s all about the bass, baby. If anyone has some insight into that line, I’d love to see it!

    Thanks for dissecting the song and video, Jenny. You bring up a lot of really good points and concerns.

    1. That makes a disturbing amount of sense to me :-/ otherwise I also don’t understand the context of that line.

    2. When I first heard the chorus I thought she was talking about only being attracted to fat dudes or something… I mean obviously she means “bass” to stand in for “ass” but I agree the phrasing feels kind of off for some reason

    3. I *think* that the “bass, no treble” thing stems from two points- the first being the size and shape of a bass string instrument versus a treble one. A treble violin, for example is very delicate, the upper and lower curves of the shape are nearly symmetrical and the front and back are very close to flat, with only a slight curvature. It is a blatantly “feminine” shape and is the smallest instrument in the violin family. Conversely, a bass violin (aka a Bass) is very large with a pronounced difference is the size of the upper curves of the instrument and the lower curves a shape that reflects the female body type that is often referred to as “pear shaped” (because, even our neutral body-descriptors have to relate to consumables and appetites ick). From front to back there is also a very pronounced roundness in comparison to a viola, soprano violin, or treble violin.

      The second being that the typical vocal ranges of larger people, especially women, are significantly deeper than thinner people. For example, I have a cousin who, in high school was very large. She was significantly overweight, but also had a heavy frame, a barrel chest and was quite tall. She also had the deepest vocal range in the entire school choir- a beautiful, rich bass.

      1. I’m not sure I would assert that heavy people have deeper voices, thin ones higher. Dramatic sopranos are often (not always) larger, with a wider rib cage that helps them achieve a fuller, broader sound.

      2. Actually most of what you said about string instruments is wrong. There is no such thing as a treble, soprano, or bass violin. The lower bouts on a violin are certainly larger than the upper bouts, just like they are on double basses, which often have upper bouts almost as wide as the lower bouts. Also, the curvature to the front and back of a violin is about the same as a bass. I’ve actually played basses with completely flat backs.
        With all that said, I think it just has to do with associations. Treble=high frequency, woman’s voice, smaller instruments; bass= lower frequently, man’s voice, bigger instruments.
        I see Jenny’s point on a lot of these issues, but I still feel like the main point of the song is “I don’t have the perfect body as judged by society, but that’s okay, and I hope that people in the same boat as me think it’s okay too.” Can we stop downing this poor girl and just try to take away the positive message of the song? I’ve struggled with self image my whole life and I appreciate that there is a popular song out there that was written in hopes to encourage people like me.

        1. That was how the song was intended to be interpreted. Put a bunch of feminists in a room and you get nonsense like Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke is about rape (and not the blurred lines of friendship vs more). These pseudo-intellects are infamous for just inventing stuff.

    4. What about how the one actual fat person isn’t allowed onscreen at the same time as the average-sized people? That’s gross.

      1. Or he’s just being gorgeous and choreographing himself in his own space. He’s the least proppy person in the whole video.

    5. I think that the “all about that bass, no treble” line has to do with the fact that bass is a heavier sound and treble is a lighter sound, and she’s using that as a metaphor for bodies. That was just my thought on it.

      1. Grace G, That interpretation works for me. But it sure isn’t obvious when I’m listening to the song. Or I could just be slightly dense about metaphors — that’s been known to happen. :-)

    6. Something to clarify about the man featured in the video: he’s not just a black person being used as a prop, he’s a token gay clown being used for comic relief in the same way that’s been done for generations. He’s the only person of real size in the video, he’s featured mostly alone and not dancing with the other women, and he’s been stripped of all sexuality as has always been the case with the way straight people use gay people as props: we’re fine as long as we’re campy and funny, but we’re threatening when we’re shown as being sexual.

      As a fairly feminine gay man who remembers how straight girls in high school adopted me as a “mascot” for comic relief, the way the guy is used in this video is *really* offensive.

    7. My first thought, especially with the neon makeup on the backing singers, was that it could simply be using the same code Nicky Minaj used in Super Bass… Not so sure now. The instrumental overture in the comments was insightful.

  7. Great articulation of what’s wrong with the video. I can’t imagine a woman who was truly fat, especially a fat black woman, getting any traction with a music video about body acceptance. It’s pseudo-acceptance all wrapped up in a curvy-chicks-are-cute package with a big white privilege bow.

    1. Liz — just want to say… that’s IT exactly!
      “It’s pseudo-acceptance all wrapped up in a curvy-chicks-are-cute package with a big white privilege bow.”

  8. As soon as I saw the skinny girl I got pissed. I have a coworker who’s super skinny and she really wants to gain weight but can’t because of her metabolism. She has to be like a size 00. Most skinny girls are just skinny from a healthy diet or because they’re naturally like that. The only anorexics I’ve ever met are at least size 6 and stop eating more recreationally than as a real eating disorder. This new “fatcceptable” movement puts down skinny girls and makes it seems like all skinny girls are undesirable bitches who starve themselves and should be mocked for wanting to look good (when eating disorders are serious problems and EVERYONE is concerned about their appearance).
    I also question why the skinny woman in the video has to wear saran wrap.

    1. I think the plastic wrap was because a lot of people trying to lose weight wrap their midsections in plastic or neoprene in order to sweat more, so it’s supposed to show that the skinny girl is doing extreme stuff to maintain that figure.

      1. Yeah, I know that people wear stuff like that (usually people with eating disorders or going on some kind of crazy crash diet) in an effort to loose weight, but I’m asking why they had to put the only skinny girl in a light that portrayed her as anorexic while at the same time envying the twerking girl’s ass. You can’t have it both ways. I’m just really upset at how they portrayed skinny people. If you accuse a skinny person of having an eating disorder it’s no big deal, but if you tell someone who is overweight to lose the weight then everyone loses their minds. Suddenly being skinny is a crime (on the internet, at least). Girls shouldn’t be shamed when they want to lose weight and be fit while at the same time everyone is pressuring them to do just that so that all the boys will want to sex them.

        1. What planet do you live on where everyone loses their minds when someone is told that they should lose weight? It’s obviously not Earth but it sounds like a nice place to visit.

          1. Seriously, it’s basically culturally accepted that fat people should constantly be being told to lose weight. Otherwise how would they know they’re fat???

        2. Your comment doesn’t sit quite right with me.

          First of all, I think you’re partially right about the reactions of people. I think people would tend to respond a tad more outraged to someone being told to lose weight than to someone being accused of having an eating disorder. That’s because in modern society (and the internet, which can sometimes consist of the dregs of society) being fat is ‘worse’ than being skinny.
          (By the way, do you mean skinny as in average/healthy-looking or as in looking like one of those models on the catwalk where you can see their thighbones? Is that what those bones are called? Anyway, the latter is what I think about when I read the word ‘skinny.’ Unhealthily thin. Not that it matters very much in this argument. Both are considered to be ‘better’ than being overweight.)
          Being fat is very nearly considered a crime. Everyone has an opinion about fat people and what and how much they’re eating and so on. The judgement and ‘well-meaning’ bullshit is endless. So, if you tell someone to lose weight you’re basically calling them fat. If you tell someone that you think they have an eating disorder, you’re indirectly calling them skinny. Fat = crime. Skinny = what society thinks women should aspire to, so accusing someone of having an eating disorder is somehow (really fucking disturbingly) almost a compliment. Neither of these reactions are right, by the way. Just because people are more likely to flip their shit about one than the other doesn’t mean anyone should go around offering people ‘advice.’

          Secondly, the very last part of your argument seems to teeter on the verge of saying, ‘Well, it’s okay to shame people for being overweight, but it’s not okay to shame people for trying to lose weight.’ Neither are ‘shameable offences’ and both can be unhealthy.

          Thirdly, I’m completely weirded out by your above reference to ‘people who are anorexic, but who don’t have an eating disorder.’ What does that even mean? They stop eating ‘recreationally’? What the hell?

          This fatcceptable movement isn’t doing anyone any favours. All skinny girls are bitches, ‘curvy’ girls are allowed to be comfortable with their bodies only because guys think that’s hot and non-fat is the new fat, so girls who don’t have ‘junk in all the right places’ but (oh, the horror!) junk in the wrong places are also deemed undesirable. What the fuck is left?

          1. I was serious about people who stop eating more “recreationally”. They don’t have unrealistic perceptions of their body, they know exactly what they look like. They know how they SHOULD be eating to get to the weight they want and that they SHOULD be working out. Instead, they go “I’m just not going to eat this week.” Then they go to whatever party they wanted to go to and start eating again like it was a game. They treat it like a game.
            And dividing “skinny healthy” people from “just skinny” people is the same as trying to draw the line between when fat goes from being “curvy” to “unhealthy.” If people are starving themselves yes, no matter what their body weight is it is unhealthy, but if they’re eating right it doesn’t matter how many bones you can see. My boyfriend just ate half a pizza last night (as he often does) and I can still see his ribs. I know a girl whose waist is as big around as my thigh (and I’m not big). Trying to say that some people also cross the line into being too skinny is bullshit. They are naturally skinny as all hell, just like some people put on weight for no reason.

            I didn’t say that anyone should be shamed, other than those who make ignorant comments about people’s weight. It’s a collection of fat cells and it’s none of anyone’s business.

        3. I can’t reply to your reply to my reply (are you still with me?) so I’m replying here.

          I know that there are people who do not have an eating disorder who from time to time will go on a crash diet or will stop eating or who’ll just drink juice or something. That is profoundly stupid and could escalate into an eating disorder, but it’s not an eating disorder per se.
          Not an expert, (by any means) but I’m aware of the pro-ana movement. This movement consist of people (usually suffering from anorexia) who glorify their eating disorder and convince themselves that this is the way they should eat and the way they should work out and the amount they should weigh. On the other hand, not nearly all people who have an eating disorder have fallen into the trap of deluding themselves about what they’re doing. They usually know that what they’re doing is unhealthy, but they’re still unable to stop. So, saying that if people KNOW that what their lack of eating is wrong doesn’t mean that they don’t have an eating disorder.

          I’m apologise for saying that you implied that fat people should be shamed. You didn’t imply that at all. Total misinterpretation on my part.

          Well, obviously some people do cross the line into being too skinny, just like some people cross the line into being too fat. There’s a point (medically speaking) where your weight could become a serious health problem. I do, mentally, divide people into these categories. I’m very much aware of the fact that I don’t know about these people’s eating habits/life experiences and so on, so I’m certainly not gonna go up to them and tell them to lose or put on weight. I don’t even do that when I DO know for a fact that someone is eating way too much or too little or working out way too much or too little. It all stays in my head, safely tucked away, where this (snap) judgements belongs.

      2. I think the plastic wrap is because the video is modeled after the 60′s, and plastic was a big “thing” then. They needed to visually separate the skinny girl from the fat girls or else you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference (because she’s not actually thinner, just taller), and the skinny girl is a model, so she got 1960s runway clothes.

        It’s also a visual metaphor that the skinny girl is “fake” and all the cotton-wearing girls are “real”, which is totally gross.

    2. Please don’t downplay anorexia like that. It’s a serious thing that can and does kill people. Fasting as a diet method is a bad idea but it’s not anorexia. My twin cousins nearly died as infants because their mother was bulimic and wasn’t capable of stopping during pregnancy.

      1. I did NOT downplay anorexia. I’m saying that a Venn diagram of the super skinny people and the anorexic people I know would be two separate circles. I’m just talking about person experience. I know that anorexia is a big deal, but I’m saying that lots of people are insanely skinny without having an eating disorder.

    3. I think the confusion here stems from the way you’ve worded your argument. You say that the ‘only anorexics I’ve ever met are at least size 6 and stop eating more recreationally than as a real eating disorder.’ Well, if they don’t have an eating disorder than they’re not suffering from anorexia.

    4. The thing that irritates me is it’s okay for someone to naturally be skinny and can’t put on weight due to a medical condition but heavier women don’t get the same grace. They get bombarded with questions, do you work out enough? Are you eating healthy? Have you tried dieting blah blah blah. It needs to be equal across the board if it’s okay to be naturally skinny due to medical issues it NEEDS to be okay to be naturally heavier due to medical issues.
      The Saran Wrap is about being plastic, women who have plastic surgery in order to feel comfortable in their own skin.

  9. Anything that uses the phrase ‘skinny bitches’ isn’t body positive in my opinion.

    I’ve never seen this before now, but half the lyrics seem to be about how her appearance is fine because that’s what guys like. I’m confused as to how this is seen as body positive at all. Adding to that is the singer isn’t actually fat, and it’s a mixed message.

    I understand that people may have insecurities even if they aren’t overweight. It just comes off badly to me, possibly because I have a skinny little girl and I don’t want her thinking that the singer is fat. I’m putting a whole lot of effort into the notion of healthy rather than skinny, and stuff like this feels like it undermines that from my perspective. Depending on which side of the family she takes after, when puberty hits she’ll either stay super skinny or get a whole lot of curves. I don’t want her thinking curves = fat.

    I also understand the big black guy is being used a a prop, but he looked like the only one really enjoying themselves to me. I’d watch him in a video without the rest :)

    1. Good points, Jemmy. As a person who was a really scrawny kid and teen (and had that constantly shoved in my face) and who is now an adult occupying the line between fatcceptable and just plain fat, this song and video managed to offend all of my experiences! Mostly it makes clear that there is no “just right” for women. Our shapes are always wrong, somehow or to somebody.

      And you’re right, that black guy was the only person in the video who seemed to be genuinely having a good time, and to be accepting his shape for real.

    2. “Anything that uses the phrase ‘skinny bitches’ isn’t body positive in my opinion.”

      As someone that this song would consider a ‘skinny bitch’, YES. Some people genuinely seem to think that if you’re thin you must be happy with your body, and therefor it’s okay to tease you about it. Hell, this song even kinda-sorta acknowledges that skinny people can have body image issues, but it STILL thinks it’s okay to tease us about our weight because we’re thin, so clearly we’re fair game.

      Also, sounds like you’re being a fantastic parent. Your daughter is very lucky.

    3. I agree. And I believe the phrase “skinny bitches” should be in no one’s vocabulary, ever.

      The killer is, this song could have been just as great if they left out the body shaming parts. “All about that bass” and “I’m bringing booty back” still promote the same idea without putting down other body types.

      I guess I just don’t understand why the negative parts were necessary to promote someone loving their body the way it is…?

  10. It isn’t perfect, but it has doughnuts. :3 I recommend reading it while stoned, then it’ll seem like a masterpiece.

    To the tune of “Let it Go”

    Frosting was white on my doughnut tonight
    Not a crumb left to be seen
    A kingdom of sugar and weight gain,
    And it looks like I’m the queen.

    My belly’s growling like I’m simply gonna die
    Didn’t ignore it; I didn’t even try.

    “Don’t gain a pound, don’t gain an inch,
    To be a good girl, you must be thin
    Do as we say, don’t ever ask ‘why’”
    Well, I’m just fine.

    Fuck you all! Fuck you all!
    I’ll eat what the heck I want!
    Fuck you all! Fuck you all!
    You can’t control my thought!

    I don’t care
    What the magazines say
    Let the coffee flow
    My weight never bothered me anyway!

    It’s funny how some sugar
    Makes everything seem swell
    And you think you can control me,
    Well you can go to hell!

    It’s time to see what I can eat
    To test the limits of my jeans
    No right, no wrong, no rules for me I’m free!

    Fuck you all! Fuck you all!
    I am one with Bavarian creme!
    Fuck you all! Fuck you all!
    It’s better than I’d dreamed!

    Here I snack
    You can kiss my ass
    Let the coffee flow

    Confectioner’s sugar’s so good it must be a spell!
    I want whole milk, and toss on sprinkles, what the hell!
    I’m going to live my life while I’m alive
    I’m never going back,
    I’ll never be size five!

    Fuck you all! Fuck you all!
    I’m gonna live my god damned life!
    Fuck you all! Fuck you all!
    That perfect girl’s a lie!

    Here I snack
    I don’t care what you say!
    Let the coffee flow
    My weight never bothered me anyway!


  11. Thank you for this. I saw the video a couple weeks ago when it blew up my Facebook and Pinterest, and it made me so uncomfortable for reasons I couldn’t clearly articulate – aside from the “skinny bitches” bit, which jumped out at me. I couldn’t quite understand why everyone seemed to be lauding it as a body acceptance anthem or a “feel-good” song.

    Heck, I’m pretty sure “Baby Got Back” or “Brick House” make me feel better as a fat woman than this does – and they’re certainly no great shakes.

    1. “Baby Got Back” and “Brick House” at least are very honest songs. They are about what the singer finds attractive, they don’t try to come across as being more than they are. Plus musically they’re a lot more fun.

  12. This is a perfect encapsulation of what is wrong with this song and as you’ve called it, the “fatcceptable movement.” Thank you for this and keep being amazing.

  13. Somewhere in an alternate reality, this song came out as “I’m All About the Brain”. It celebrated women for who they were, not what they looked like. Now we just have to get do to who to visit it (preferably with Donna coz you know she’d be all over that) and how us the way…

  14. Previous comment should have read “doctor who” ( for anyone not getting the Donna reference) predictive messaging is not my friend!

  15. Wow, I’m so glad I’d missed this one until now.

    It’s “I’m ok ‘cos the boys love my curves in “all the right places”, and you’re too fat/too skinny/too fake”. A woman putting down all other women that don’t look like her, and it’s meant to be an anthem for body acceptance? I’m getting “Mean Girls” and “Heathers” vibes from it. On the surface, it’s “I’m OK, You’re OK” – except, it really, really isn’t. :(

    Seems to have been written by someone who half-way gets the issues with the way women are portrayed in western culture, but just doesn’t fully grasp the implications… so close, but ultimately, it’s a fail.

  16. Speaking of black women as props did you all notice how when we got the close-up of black women’s faces we didn’t see their eyes. Not only were they firmly in the background of the shots, but when we did get those flashes of three black women together we couldn’t see their eyes which I think is dehumanizing. Especially considering that eyes tend to signify humanity and personality in literature especially and probably in media as well though I’m not well versed in media theory. “The eyes are the window to the soul,” etc. etc.

    1. Actually, in the shots of the three girls with the blonde wigs only the one on the left is black. The one in the middle may be light-skinned African American or a tan or olive-skinned Caucasian and the one on the right is definitely Caucasian. You might have noticed that if you weren’t so focused on being offended.

      1. I apologize for not noticing the woman on the far right was in fact white, but only watched the video once and in the brief flashes of them their wigs were what stuck in my senses. However, I think my point still stands as she appears to be a ‘thin’ looking white person. So not only are we dehumanizing the woman on far left who is black and the person in the middle who appears to be a POC, but we are also dehumanizing the thin white people aka the “skinny bitches” as the video puts it. I don’t know if you’re criticizing me because I’m so far down in the comments away from the commentary going on further up, but the inclusion of one white person doesn’t invalidate what is going on with the other two. Like I said before I do apologize for not noticing the white woman initially, but pointing her out doesn’t make the interpretation any less valid considering the body shaming overtones of the whole piece and as I said the woman who is white appears to be thin.

        1. I replied to your comment because it contained a rather obvious error. Btw, after she says “skinny bitches” she follows with, ” Ha, I’m just playing.” Another thing that you and everyone else on this thread seems to be too busy being offended to have noticed.

  17. As long as the singer doesn’t put her foot in it (a la Miley Cirus and Lily Allen – “I dont see a problem with using black women as props, my best friends are black women!”) I think the real problem people are the video directors/ music label. I’m fairly sure this young woman didn’t say “Hey I want a music video where there are all these black women as props (and the token black guy for reasons) because it will make my already borderline problematic song even BETTER.” I dunno.

    Actually, come to think of it, the trout-nation criticism of this song is great – because its not about the singer. Its about the content of the song and the music video – both of which *are* clearly problematic.

    I hope the singer doesn’t see herself as fat, though I’ve heard in that particular industry (visual entertainment) she probably would be told she was fat. What a terrible industry.

    1. Yeah, the video is a separate problem from the song entirely. But as for the song itself, the singer does bear the responsibility because she wrote it. Which is unfortunate because as you point out, that would mean she’d have to think she was fat. :(

      1. This is kind of why I feel a bit squicky about this whole issue. She’s not at all even approaching fat compared to me, but you don’t write a song about body acceptance unless you’ve struggled with it yourself. I don’t feel right saying “she has the wrong type of fat body” because to me that feels just as uncomfortable as the “skinny bitches” line. It’s pretty tricky business, this song. I don’t think I’ve ever put so much thought into poppy earworm fodder.

        1. It would have helped if she’d had undeniably fat people dancing with her, along with her higher-range-of-straight-sizing gang. And fat kids; those kids were bitty little things. She can’t help what size she is. The [people in charge of her background dancers] could have helped what size her compatriots were.

    2. I think you are absolutely right that the singer is probably told she’s fat. It’s the same issue that I think was the problem withJennifer Lawrence’s “normal people” comment, which IMO received a lot of unfair hostility in the comments on Jenny’s post on the actress a while back (and I really regretted not saying anything about that at the time). I don’t believe that by “normal people” Jennifer Lawrence was talking about any particular body type – I think she meant “people who aren’t caught up in the effed-up Hollywood/entertainment industry ideas of what beauty and an acceptable body are”.

      By the same token, regardless of all the other problems with this song and the video, which are rife, I think Meghan Trainor almost certainly is *told* she’s fat, frequently, by the music industry people working with her.

  18. I also discovered this song recently. It’s a catchy song and I like singing it – it’s been stuck in my head for a few days. I recognize how it’s problematic – I noticed right away the objectification of black women in the video – and I think most people do. If you look at the top comments on YouTube, it’s all people saying the song is terrible and the video is terrible and it’s “skinny shaming.”

    What got to me in this post is the concept of the “fatcepptable” range. When I was a teenager/twenty-something, I was a size 4. I was a size 4 with big boobs and an acceptable butt, so I had a pretty great body and I knew it. After two kids, I was/am a size 12/14, with most of my extra weight carried in my stomach. I’m 50 lbs heavier than I used to be. My BMI is in the “overweight” range.

    Am I not “fat enough” to be allowed to feel fat or call myself fat? It’s pretty hard not to when I know what my body used to look like compared to how it looks now, and I know what kind of attention I used to get versus now. Where does that leave me if I’m not “skinny” enough to be considered attractive but I’m not “fat” enough to participate in any kind of “body confidence” movement? (I’m not asking these questions in a combative way, I’m honestly curious and trying to understand. Maybe I’ve read the “fatcepptable” paragraph all wrong.)

    1. Oh, no, my objection isn’t with women who aren’t a certain size being a part of a body positive movement. My objection is with the women who are a size 14/16 who are declaring themselves fat and aggressively throwing around terms like “real women” and “big is beautiful,” and “Marilyn Monroe was a size 16,” which just perpetuates a new standard for what is and isn’t acceptable.

      Also, it kind of glosses over some of the bigger issues (no pun intended) that fat people face. Like, I don’t care if someone finds me beautiful or not. That is not the biggest issue that needs cleaning up right now. Getting the same healthcare as non-fat people would be nice, for one. I don’t want to play oppression olympics or anything, but I think if a person’s biggest problem with their size is that they’re bummed that people find thinner women more attractive, and they need to go out and dismiss other women to build themselves up, they’re maybe not facing the same pressure as someone larger than them. That doesn’t mean that person can’t take part in promoting body positivity– it just has to actually be body positivity and not, “I look hotter than you.”

      1. Thank you for responding, Jenny. I agree that we shouldn’t be competing for attractiveness by putting other body types down. I get more hung up by comparing myself to my former self – but even when I had that “great” body, I had a lot of insecurities and (obviously) still do.

      2. I love this article, and I love that I found your website- I can’t figure out how to reply to the aricle in general yet because I’ve never commented on a blog before, but mostly I just wanted to hit you up to say bravo, and I see your name here so I think this will get to you- so: Bravo- AND, along with that congratulations, I also do wonder- well, I don’t wonder, let me start again: as a white gay man, and particularly in light of the recent controversial article in TIME magazine about how we (white gay men) are appropriating the culture of black women, I am particularly sensitive to how obsessed today’s world seems to be with the “other”. Every point you make about this song is valid, and interesting- but when it comes to a white skinny girl grabbing the ass of a black girl who is dancing- does the issue have to be the color of their skin and size of their bodies or can we ever allow the issue to be simply that they are two people having fun with eachother? I would like to think that we will move beyond a place of “them” and “them” and “them” and into a place of “us” as a collective group recognized as human. When articles categorize people into such strict groups I feel like we have a lot of work yet to do as a society and particularly as consumers of pop culture. Great work though, I’m a huge fan and will be reading all of your posts.

    2. You’re what’s generally considered a “small fat”. A lot of it probably does depend on how you carry your weight, too. You won’t be treated the same as someone who’s a size 6, say, but the average american woman is a size 14 so you WILL NOT have the same experiences as someone who’s larger. It’s a sliding scale. You can most likely buy clothing in a normal store which someone who is a size 26 or 28 or 30 can’t do. You don’t need to buy things like seatbelt extenders. You won’t be kicked off an airplane or made to buy two seats.

      Also “fat” is not a feeling.

      1. When fatness gets to the range of seatbelt extenders and not fitting in seats, I don’t think we are in the range of “fatceptable” anymore. Not everything is acceptable. If I’m a meth addict, you wouldn’t “accept me for who I am.”

        I am far from thin, but I can fit in a seat and wear a seatbelt. If you’re 5’4″ and 300+ pounds, that is a problem that needs to be fixed. Like a car with a broken muffler. Period. And, yes, it CAN be fixed… ESPECIALLY if it is infringing on others. If a fellow passenger can’t sit without you extending into the adjacent seat, you need two seats. Or you need to do something so you can fit. The “accept me for as fat as I am” also means we get to share in the costs of the massive increase in knee replacement surgeries for (http://www.umassmed.edu/news/news-archives/2013/10/increasing-rate-of-knee-replacements/) and treatment for other ailments like diabetes… yes yes yes, I know the “I’m obese *and* healthy” shtick.. unfortunately the statistics don’t support this anecdotal evidence.

        So, yeah… fatceptable probably should be the “don’t need seatbelt extenders” and “shop in regular stores” range. There’s a lot of variation that should be accepted, but….

          1. Also, I’m really confused by this person’s strawman point which conflates fatness with a debilitating illness: “if I was a meth addict, you wouldn’t accept me as I am.”

            Uh, actually, I would still love you and treat you as a human being, which is the entire crux of this argument. What the fuck

          2. Wow, I just wanted to that this reply back to a “new” poster might be the most class and patience I have ever seen extended to anyone on the Internet. Bravo Ms. Trout.

            Tilly- you have missed the point of the otherwise very positive discussion here in a staggering way. Yes, obesity contributes to health problems in a very real way, but it’s equally true that dividing people up into categories of “my size” and “fatter than me and therefore unacceptable” is in no way going to solve a country-wide health problem. In fact, it might make it worse.

          3. I’m not interested in keeping new people who say shit like that. I don’t bend over backward to impress anyone, so take your class and your patience and move along.

        1. You’re absolutely right. Once people get too fat, we should stop treating them as people. People are nothing but a sum of their fat; their feelings don’t need to be considered.

        2. I think your idea of what fatcepptable is is entirely skewed. Also there’s a huge gap between “shop in regular stores” and “needs seatbelt extenders”. Most “regular” stores list a size 12 as XL, that is what is at the route of fatcepptable. When we start calling size 12 women “extra large” not just large, or heavy but “EXTRA” then society has a problem.

          1. I deal with fashion a lot so lets be clear hear. A WOMENS size 12 is an XL not a Ladies or Juniors size 12. A lady cam wear a Jr/Ladies 12 and fit into a Womens 6. Also I live in a very rural white area and most speak like her. I think you’re stereo typing people yourself. No you would not love a druggie. Their problems will turn your love to hate and resentment.

      2. “Fat” is not a feeling – something to remind myself of! :)

        You are right that I don’t face the same difficulties as someone larger than me. Most of my issues are in my head and the only person who can fix that is me. Thank you for replying!

      3. My weight has been all over the place during my adult life. I was skinny when I graduated high school (5’6″ 120lbs), gained a bunch of weight due to medication I was on (topped out over 190 but I don’t know exactly because I stopped weighing myself), and now I’m down to about 165 and still slowly losing since I’m no longer on that medication and I suspect I’m just about at the point it will level out. So I’ve been everything from size 4 to size 20. The differences in my clothing options, how people treated me, my medical care, have definitely been apparent and it’s really frustrating. I certainly didn’t need an ER doctor mentioning I should consider losing weight when I was in for a broken ankle that had more to do with trying to go downstairs without my contacts because a fire alarm was going off and missing the last step than my weight. That’s why while I’m in that “fatceptable” range I’m still strongly about real body positivity and fat acceptance because I shouldn’t be treated differently now than I was 3 years ago just because I’ve lost weight.

  19. I just finished reading a story about body acceptance (transgender issues rather than weight issues, but still) that handled the concept REALLY well, so then coming here and seeing this song totally fuck up the idea of body acceptance is giving me whiplash.

    I wonder if part of the problem might be that the people doing this “fatcepptable” crap DON’T actually accept themselves, and that’s what’s causing them to miss the mark with these things? I mean, if that singer honestly thinks she’s fat, then she may not have the healthiest self-image.

  20. As a thin person who grew up with anorexia rumors and “jeez, eat a hamburger” all the time, I really appreciate the fact that you talk about how problematic that is as well as all of the other issues in this song/video. I love your blog because you promote actual body acceptance and not this song’s bullshit kind.

  21. I have to say that when I saw this girl on a talk show, my first thought was “she isn’t fat, she isn’t really even plus sized.” I’m really getting tired of mainstream media’s newest definition of plus sized. Last time I checked, a size 14 was a Medium or a Large in standard women’s sizes depending on the manufacturer. I have photographs of myself from when I wore a size 16 and I certainly don’t look anything like a plus sized person. I don’t get it. Regardless, I found myself a bit annoyed at the whole thing, it’s kind of like catalogs that are selling plus sized clothing but the models showing it are thin.

  22. After I got over the initial spike of intense disgust at the use of black people’s bodies as props, I was further disturbed by the infantlization theme. All the baby doll dresses, pastels, hair bows, and cuts to a child’s bedroom. What the fuck is that about?

  23. Despite the confusing and contradicting execution of the entire “body acceptance” message (ie: insinuating that being skinny is bad), I think the overall song was published with good intention. I feel like they wrote the song with the means of boosting women’s confidence rather than putting down different body shapes (although I see how it comes across that way). I agree that there are plenty of things they could’ve done to make “All About that Bass” truley about loving your body, but for the time being I have no problem singing along to a song that at least made an attempt to spread a positive message unlike those that have purposefully degraded women.

  24. Total Hairspray flashback! This was the first time that I heard this song and it reminds me of “Big, Blonde, and Beautiful” from Hairspray. That song bothered me in a way I couldn’t express. Jenny, when I read this entry, all the pieces fell into place. It bothers me that the singers of both songs have to put down other women to feel better about themselves and that is far, far away from body acceptance. A guy friend once told me a secret that I remind myself of when I’m feeling down. He said, “Skinny, fat, in the middle, it’s all good.” Where are the songs saying that women are all good?

  25. When she says “I am all about that bass, no treble” I think it’s well understood to be an expression of admiration. Rather than the literally meaning . Although, the lack of actual bass in the song is disheartening.

    To the points, this song is s mess of contradictions. She wants to have her cake and eat it too, not a fat joke. She talks about body image and acceptance “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” things like this are good to hear in music today. However, then she states “boys like a little more booty to hold at night” and “I got that boom boom that all the boys chase And all the right junk in all the right places.” So essentially she says everyone is perfect but then sounds insecure when she has to reaffirm her belief that she is better than those rather in the rather insultingly stick-figure women line. Why isn’t it ok to call someone fat? but ok to call someone a stick-figure? It should go both ways.

    The content of this song is like from two different frames of mind. First she is all ’bout the bass then she starts talking about how it’s fine that she is heavy-set. This doesn’t make any sense. It’s like a random stream of consciousness without any consistently. like “Hmmm I really like bass…It’s cool that I am fat….I really like bass though….Boys like that I am fat too….soo liking that bass…everybody is perfect, except being fat is better….Mmmm B-ass”

  26. Size 14-16 women think they’re fat because when they go clothes shopping they’re a 1X, 2X, or 3X size. I know I’m lucky to be just small enough to be able to shop at “normal” clothing stores but constantly being told you are 3 times larger than the average shopper certainly makes you feel like there’s something wrong with you.

      1. Maybe it’s different in Canada. I have worn size 14 dresses and size 2XL tee shirts on the same day. Fitted shirts, not baggy.

        1. It’s different in northern Europe too then. I find that a US size 12 over here is almost always a size XL at least.

          1. European sizes are different! I had that problem when I lived in Sweden. The sizes were smaller than I was used to, so I had to buy a bigger size than I would have in the US. Usually about two sizes bigger. If that makes sense. I don’t know why, but that’s how it works.

        2. Sure. When Old Navy makes their clothes in a factory in Guatamala or wherever, they leave the sizes off some clothes and when they send them to Canada, they change it so they’re bigger!! RIGHT.

          Canada has the same sizes as America.

          Old Navy size chart: http://oldnavy.gap.com/customerService/info.do?cid=83042&cs=size_charts&mlink=5151,5838218,4&clink=5838218#open Click “women”. Look for size 14. It’s a large. Now go click “Women’s Plus”. 2x = 20/22 3x = 24/26

          And that’s Old Navy US, not Canada.

          How about Modcloth? That’s US-based. They run notoriously small when it comes to plus sizes, but let’s see what their size chart says anyways.

          http://www.modcloth.com/help/fit-and-form-details Size 14 is an… XL. A 2x is a 20/22. 3x is a 24/26

          How about… Forever 21? Now, they’re actually “juniors” clothing so they’re probably going to run small. http://www.forever21.com/Product/Landing.aspx?br=f21&category=apparel Pick whatever you like and click “size chart” when you find it. They go up to a US Large and that is a… 12. So a 14 is an XL. The “Love 21″ sizes according to their website are supposed to be like a half size bigger, so a 12/14 ends up being a… Medium.

          Click the “Plus” chart and you do get me there. At forever 21, Junior Plus size clothing, a 2x is a 15/16 and a 3x is a 17/18.

          Let’s try… oh, god, I’m running out of stores, broke and fat are not helping me here…

          Okay, here, Aeropostale. http://www.aeropostale.com/shop/index.jsp?categoryId=4017269 Right under “skirts and dresses” Large = 11-14 Jeans, a 12 is a large, a 14 is an XL

          Look, maybe the stores you buy from run small in #X sizes (which then means that they don’t have clothes for anyone larger than, what, a size 16?). Maybe you’re shaped uniquely. Maybe your size 14 dresses run large. There’s a LOT of range in clothing. But generally speaking, a 2x is not a size 14. And *I* have a closet full of 2x-3x-4x, 22-24-26 clothing that says that. And a size 14 is about the smallest plus size clothing goes ANY you can still buy it in most straight sized clothing. For a half decent price, too. A 24 does not work the same way, man.

          US and European sizes run about 1 different, generally speaking, by the way.

          1. Actually, no. Women’s numbered clothing sizes in Northern Europe correspond one to one with US sizes. In France, Italy and the UK the differences are more than one size.

            You seem to be strongly invested in proving Alison and me wrong. I hadn’t realized you were looking over my shoulder the last time I was clothes shopping (and apparently could see the labels better than I could).

          2. I’ve seen multiple brands that say “this 8 is a US size 6″ or the like. It happens.

            You and Alison seem strongly invested in believing a size 12 is a 2x. It’s not. It just isn’t. I provided multiple examples where it wasn’t and one where it *kinda* was, only not really. Considering my *entire* closet is made up of 22/24/26 and 2x/3x clothing, all of which basically the same size, from at least two dozen different brands, why am I the wrong one and you’re the right one… because you say so?

          3. Why does one of us have to be wrong and one of us have to be right? Why can’t I speak for my own experience, just as you are speaking for yours?

            And I *know* it happens. I even specified that the size difference depends on where in Europe you’re looking.

            I may be mistaken here, but I’m really getting a vibe from your comments of “Only women with bodies like mine get to be frustrated about being told we’re fat by the fashion industry” or something. I don’t get it.

          4. You said: “Size 14-16 women think they’re fat because when they go clothes shopping they’re a 1X, 2X, or 3X size.”

            I’m not saying that you’re not wearing 2x clothing. But that doesn’t MAKE a 2x a size 12. And everytime I say something, you tell me MY experience is wrong!! You’re wearing a size 14 dress and a 2x T-shirt, so all the 2x clothing and 24 clothing in my closet doesn’t matter. I make a comment about European sizes, you tell me I’m wrong and then say the same thing while still telling me I’m wrong.

            Maybe YOU need to evaluate why you see your experience as the only important one – or at least why your actions are making you come across that way.

          5. Ha, Old Navy is terrible example. Their Rockstar Skinny jeans? Completely all over the place sizing wise. When I was thinner like 10-12 range lets say I bought them in different colors and I tried on the black ones which were a little stretchy and comfortable and I was like, “All right I got this, let’s pick these other colors and go!” What I ended up with was a returns nightmare in which I had to return all the ones I had picked out except for the ones I tried on and each different color was a different size on me. I went from between a 12 and a 16 all on the same style of pants.

            The real travesty of women’s clothing is that all of these numbers are just made up bull shit created and marketed by a society that is trying to make us feel bad about arbitrary numbers which mean nothing outside of each different place you shop. Size 12 here, size 14 there, size 16 tomorrow , and not one measurable standard. You can’t just know your measurements and go it has to be this fitting room circus each different place you go because at Old Navy I am X but at Forever 21 good fucking luck because that doesn’t mean anything. Also England definitely sizes down which was a problem while I was living overseas.

    1. @ Alison: And if women above a US size 10 try to shop for workout clothing, it’s even worse. An “extra large” top will often look like a “small” from the regular clothing section. There’s a popular all-women’s running race in Boston I used to love and which claims to encourage women of all sizes, but then they switched sponsors and the race shirts became microscopic — I could barely squeeze into an XXL the last time I participated, and it sure didn’t look flattering. The message was pretty clear.

  27. I think you “ladies” all need to get jobs… this song does send a positive message, and she “ain’t no size 2″, so what is your problem? Did you know she has an Uncle that is BLACK for those of you that think there is a racist undertone?! Did you not see her on the TODAY Show? And the woman that directed the video is also BLACK… Horrors! Do you really think she’d mock family members? You people have WAAAYYYY too much time on your hands. Perhaps all you brain trusts would be better suited for finding a cure for cancer or bringing PEACE to the Middle East or better yet, ending world hunger. You are picking apart a song that a lot of your girls are relating to, don’t you have other more important things to do? Geez…

    1. There is so much wrong with literally everything you’re saying that I can’t even figure out how I would begin to argue with you.

    2. Things a bunch of “ladies” on the internet CAN do: Share knitting patterns, talk about the 50 Shades of Grey trailer, squeal over kittens, and make people feel better about their bodies one “lady” at a time.

      Things a bunch of “ladies” on the internet CANNOT do: Solve a war we have no part in, end the problem that millionaires and geniuses have not yet solved, or cure a terrible disease from our living rooms and bedrooms.

      Things a bunch of “ladies” on the internet WILL NOT do: Keep all discussion on controversial topics closed, ignore problematic content in pop culture that influences a large portion of our country, or be called “ladies” as if we’re all senile housewives without telling you that you’re an idiot.

      1. Hi Bethany-
        I use Tide for cold water washing,what do you use? And how about those Kardashians?

          1. And apparently you also have enough time on your hands to come here and write paragraphs about how other people have too much time on their hands because they’re criticizing a problematic song.

      2. Thank you.
        Plus, there was also some ‘you can’t worry about this, there are WAY worse things worry about it’ in that dumb argument. Like we can only worry about one thing. Multitasking, yo!

    3. Thank You! This song was suppose to send a positive message out and u just turned the whole thing around! When I heard the song I was just like ‘yes, finally a song which shows that u don’t have to be skinny to be beuatiful, and it wasn’t sung by some skinny person looking for attention and thinks being a size 2 is fat!’So I don’t understand how and why u have the time to overthink everything she says in the song! GET A LIFE!!!

      1. I have the time because this is my job. I’m a writer. I write specifically about this kind of stuff. This is literally what I do to make my living.

      2. I love this comment because it expresses exactly what good media analysis does: asks us to re-evaluate and confront what media is actually saying to us.

        “This song was suppose to send a positive message out and u just turned the whole thing around!”

        Perfect. Then Jenny’s done her job well.

      3. There are quite a few songs about how men prefer women who aren’t skinny. It’s not a revolutionary message.

  28. Haven’t heard this song but absolutely love your breakdown of it. I’m fairly new to an intersectional perspective and so appreciate articles like this that bring up subconscious biases and force me to confront them.

    The one area where I would have liked to see a touch more nuance is when you discuss the definition of fat. You touch on this idea of women in the 8-14 range being forced to answer questions about their curves; however I missed there being a discussion on whether these women actually perceive themselves as fat. As someone who falls solidly in this range, I spend most of my days feeling large and like I’m taking up a ton of space. Now obviously there are several layers behind this but the first time someone said to me, “wait so you actually think of yourself as fat?” I had to take a step back. Because: yes I do and I have for as long as I can remember because I was almost always the biggest person in my class, team, etc. So when the question was asked I didn’t know what to say. Objectively, I know I’m not. So while someone bigger might scoff at my frame, I still spend a large chunk of time feeling that way.

    I hope my point here- which is not to say “I have feelings too!” but rather that there is yet another dimension to this complex issue-comes through. How I interact with the world, and it with me is different from both people who are smaller than me and people who are bigger. But how I present in the world is also influenced by my perception of myself, warped as it may be.

    1. Jenny Trout- Ditto. It’s a SONG, not something that needs to be broken down and dissected. To read some of these comments about “hidden meanings” in the video is laughable and you set the tone
      . Hopefully, this is the first song of many about acceptance, isn’t that what we should all be trying to achieve? Acceptance of size, color, sexuality, opinions. Let people express themselves without being picked apart and bashed when what they are saying has a POSITIVE MESSAGE. I used to enjoy reading your blog and thought you always “tried” to send a positive message, I was wrong. I believe the message is a good one and it does not have to be performed by a 600 pound woman to be taken seriously.

      1. The song is not about acceptance if it requires one group of women to tear down another to feel better about themselves. I have spent a lot of time on this blog tearing apart all kinds of stuff like this, and I have always asserted that it’s okay to like things that have problematic content. There isn’t any not problematic media out there. There is a difference between something feeling constructive and something actually being constructive. You are free to your opinion, but I don’t agree.

        1. I get it… But, there is a large section of the female population that have been victimized for their size by media, television, advertising agencies, clothing designers, magazines the list goes on and on. They have been made to feel inferior for years because they don’t add up to the images that they are seeing as “beautiful”. One little line in this song reflects that frustration, a frustration that is supposed to be swept under a rug and not made “real”. As a woman that has been a size 18 and is now an 8, I can tell you-those feelings are real. I am sorry you can only relate to the song in a literal sense and not in a emotional way . Trust me, the difference is HUGE.

          1. You know Deana, women in general, as a whole, are shat on by the media. The fact that this song tries to be positive towards fat women, doesn’t take away from the fact that it shits on thin women and uses black women as props. Black women and thin women (and black women who happen to be thin) are people too. And frankly as a fat woman, I want no truck with no fucking song that shits on other people just as a way to make myself feel better.

            You can like a song, you can like what the writer/performer is trying to do, but at some point you when someone from a marginalized group pipes up of “Um, I know your intentions are good, but this shit is problematic/wrong because of X, Y, and Z,” then maybe it’s time to close your mouth and listen.

          2. Deana, I understand you are approaching this from your own perspective and your own lived experience.

            My lived experience is a mother who has a skinny daughter who may take after her aunt and remain skinny. That figure is torn down by this song, and I don’t see how that is body positive. She may end up with a figure like her mother, and then she gets the message that her figure is awesome because that’s what all the guys want. I don’t feel that is body positive either. I don’t want her to judge the worth of her body by who wants to grab her butt.

            You have your hang ups and I get that. I have mine. What I’m trying to do is have my daughter grow up with less of than then the generations that have come before her, and this song does not promote a body positive message in my opinion. You revel in it all you want, but please don’t name call by saying things like ‘you all need to get jobs’ because we don’t’ agree with you. I happen to have a job, and I don’t agree with you. My perspective is just as valid as yours. Just as real as yours and just as emotional as yours.

            Your experience is not the only one that matters, your opinion is not the only one that counts, and people are allowed disagree with you no matter how much you don’t like that.

      2. What I hear: “I am totally threatened by the fact that you are criticizing something I like and I wish you would just shut up about it.”

        Why does the “letting people express themselves” not apply to Jenny (on HER OWN BLOG, where she should be able to write whatever the hell she wants) and the commenters who do not share your exact opinion? And where do you see Jenny or ANYONE here “bashing” the singer or the song? Seriously – what has anyone said that falls under your definition of “bashing”? What I see is an incredibly civilized discussion (on the internet, no less) about a number of sensitive issues. As far as I can tell, things didn’t start getting hostile until you showed up.

      3. A song might not NEED to be broken down and analysed, but we’re definitely allowed to do that.
        In my opinion, the song does not send a positive message.
        Exhibit A: the song shames skinny/average sized women. Putting down people who look different from you is not positive.
        Exhibit B: the song celebrates ‘booty’ because guys like ‘booty.’ So, having a ‘curvy’ body is only an acceptable thing because it’s attractive to guys. This is not a positive message.
        (the apostrophes are there because booty and curvy mean different things to different people; it’s not meant to be sarcasm)

        1. Your exhibit B bothers me a lot about this song. She’s apparently all about the (b)ass because that’s what is straight male boner approved. There’s nothing about liking her body because it’s strong/lets her run races/build buildings/shake it the way she likes it, fuck what we’re supposed to do/SHE feels sexy. She does have the “perfect from the bottom to the top” line, but almost every other line essentially says that her body is acceptable because it’s what boys like, it’s what boys find sexy and that’s what’s important here.

          1. Yeah. It’s almost like the exact opposite of a body acceptance song, because it’s not about the singer’s feelings about her body. It’s about the approval of men allowing her to accept her body. Her own opinion or taste or whatever doesn’t come into it at all.

            Everybody likes a little validation, but this is taking it to a really uncomfortable level. It’s pretty gross.

    2. @ Kait: I spend most of my days feeling large and like I’m taking up a ton of space.

      I think there’s a very strong message to girls/women that we shouldn’t be taking up any space at all.

  29. It’s weird. When I heard this song’s chorus: “I’m all about the bass, no treble”. I thought bass equaled “mens’ voices” and treble equaled “womens’ voices”. The chorus sounded to me, “I’m all about what men say, not what other women say”. And the verses about “Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase” vs. “Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that.” just supported the idea that her idea of body acceptance came from men. That’s a poor message no matter how catchy the tune. Thank you for pointing out the problematic aspects of this song. Even if I completely misjudged it based on the my interpretation of the chorus it’s nice to have some support for it not being completely body positive.

  30. My issue: the fact that we have to “remind” women who are still small (size 3/4-8) that they are “beautiful in their own way” and “full figured ” and “curvy” disturbs me. Because then my first thought is “im a size 6! And can’t be a super small size because of my home structure / muscle tone. So am I fat or something?” If you’re anything above a size 0/2, it is “you go girl” “look at you owning your body, so brave!”

    Do you see what disturbs me here?

    1. All women need to be kept down, I guess? Confidence is hot, but we’re not allowed to be too confident or we’ll get weird ideas, like, ‘I’m going to wear a bikini even though my body doesn’t conform to society’s ridiculous standards.’ Can’t have women just being comfortable with their bodies. Nope, can’t have that.

      I don’t know who makes this shit up. All I know is that it’s disturbing as hell and that those backhanded compliments (I know exactly what you mean) don’t help either.

  31. My issue: the fact that we have to “remind” women who are still small (size 3/4-8) that they are “beautiful in their own way” and “full figured ” and “curvy” disturbs me. Because then my first thought is “im a size 6! And can’t be a super small size because of my bone structure / muscle tone. So am I fat or something?” If you’re anything above a size 0/2, it is “you go girl” “look at you owning your body, so brave!”

    Do you see what disturbs me here?

  32. Who is serving the Kool Ade here? Black women as PROPS? They are backup singers & dancers! I believe they probably got paid and not “rented” as a prop might be. It would be interesting to hear what the “props” think of the video… And have you ever viewed other videos? There are females of all colors including purple used as “props” or sex objects! The only “object” I remember is a pink doll house & some table and chairs. and let me guess, you have a problem because they were PINK! Come on, it’s a song that makes people talk. Sure it’s cute, and pink – but it’s starting conversation and getting the “dirty little secret” out of the closet. It’s all good.

    1. Exactly! It’s starting conversation! And people are *gasp* CONTINUING that conversation! Because that’s how conversations work! But you don’t actually want this to be a conversation, do you? You just want people to shut up and feel good about the song and not think about it or talk about it or discuss how it MIGHT not be completely perfect. You just want to say “It’s all good” and leave it at that, and that is the opposite of a conversation.

    2. Also can I just say how sick I am of purple getting listed as a conceivable skin color in conversations about racism. Fuck that shit.

    3. You know, you’ve left a lot of moderately-sized comments here. Don’t you have to get back to ending the war, solving world hunger, etc.? Or is that something you only do on your downtime when you’re not trolling blogs and trying to police what bloggers point out as problematic?

      1. No. I actually read Jenny’s blog all the time. I just disagree with a lot of the comments here. This song does not make me feel good or bad about myself, nor should anyone else-it should evoke realistic conversation. I am sure when the song was written (since we are pulling it apart and finding hidden meanings) the artist had nothing but good intentions. The fact that there are minority backup singers & dancers, well that has been around since the start of rock and roll-there are also black bands and singers w/white, Latino & Asian backup. The artist/director of the video is a black woman, that had just “used” these dancers for another video and liked working with them so much-she brought them onto this project (it’s in another blog about the song). I think the fact the there is a song written about this issue is great, it’s bringing something to the table that has been hidden in the closet. I belong to a gym in Brussels and this song seems to be on almost every time I go in. Europeans have a whole other outlook on things, much more positive and they talk about things for what they are not hidden meanings or agendas. I am always open to conversation and broadening of the mind, but some of the comments here a ridiculous this is a song about body image, plain and simple. It has nothing to do with race issues. I just saw the Stone in Oslo, Lisa Fischer was their backup singer-gee I wonder if anyone complained?

        1. Wait a minute – first you say that something is “great” because “it’s bringing something to the table that has been hidden in the closet” but then a few sentences later you say that Europeans (by the way, hello, Eurocentrism!) are “much more positive and they talk about things for what they are not hidden meanings or agendas.” Well, which do you want? To talk about something “hidden in the closet” or to “talk about things for what they are”? You’re being inconsistent here.

          As you said, YOU THINK “the fact [that] there is a song written about this issue is great”. Allow the rest of us to have and state our own opinions as well, please.

          You are “open to conversation”? All the complaining you’ve been doing about ideas that don’t match yours doesn’t back that up.

        2. And incidentally, please don’t talk about what “Europeans” do or don’t do. Last I checked, no one appointed you our mouthpiece.

  33. What is a “faux African-American Vernacular accent”? How do you know what her actual voice sounds like? It’s absolutely ridiculous to judge someone based on the way you think they should sound.

    1. I’m sorry if I doubt that a white girl from Nantucket sounds like that. I’m sure Iggy Azalea picked up her accent in Australia, too.

  34. While I respect your opinions and don’t refute that there are minor issues with some of the messages in this song, I can’t help but feel like this is just arguing for arguments sake. No, the song doesn’t relay a perfect message. But it relays a much better message than 99% of the songs out there. Why are you spending your time knocking things down when you could be highlighting the good? Seems like a great misuse of your time and talent to me. You’re a great writer, and you could impact much more positivity and change if you focused on building up instead of breaking down. This song wouldn’t even be here if it weren’t for criticism in the first place. It’s time to stop bringing to light the fault in everything and start supporting an attempt at affecting real change. If I wanted to I could break down every point in your argument and find many faults in it. But I won’t. Instead I’ll choose to commend you for bringing this song into the public eye and presenting a forum for discussion. I hope, in the future, to read more articles from you that can find and celebrate the little victories in life. There’s a top 40 song out there right now that makes me feel happy and positive about my body. It’s not a perfect song, but it’s a little victory in my book :)

    1. I see where you’re coming from, and if it makes you feel good about your body, you do you. But I don’t feel it’s your place to decide what affect I’m supposed to be having on the world. If I’m not speaking, writing, and acting authentically to who I am, that’s what’s a waste of my time and talent.

    2. Jesus Fucking Hypocritical Christ. How is it the advice to stop criticizing things never applies to the commenter suggesting it? Oh, right, because they only care about protecting the shit they like, not about being consistent.

      The irony here is Jenny already is doing the whole “building up” thing with her Boss series. Of course, that wouldn’t exist without her “breaking down” of 50 Shades. But that’s how reality works: criticism is a vital part of working towards positive change.

      1. Not a criticism! Not at all. Just a suggestion. I’m not trying to protect anything – the song could disappear in the next five minutes and I wouldn’t care a bit. I just wish there were more great writers like JennyTrout who used their skills and powers to bring to light the good, not the bad.

        1. For fuck’s sake, you’re about as sharp as a pudding. “Not criticism”? Special pleading doesn’t mean you’re not a hypocrite, it just means you’re an especially dishonest one. Go read Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Bright-Sided” and come back when you’re ready to have an adult conversation.

          1. Yikes. Smile a bit, won’t ya? I’m not trying to fight with anyone, especially you, so let’s try to keep this thread positive. I think at the end of the day were on all the same team here!

          2. Trying to police the emotions of other people is not nice. It’s not friendly. It’s not conducive to pleasant conversation. It’s controlling, passive-aggressive bullshit, and it makes you an asshole. So does whining about tone instead of addressing arguments like “criticism is a vital part of working towards positive change.” And then, even after it’s pointed out to you that you’re being hypocritical, acting like the standards you demand of others don’t apply to you (that you can criticize whatever you dislike—call it “a suggestion” all you want, it’s still criticism—but others aren’t allowed to find fault with anything) makes you an even bigger asshole. You’ve just dressed up your assholishness in positivity drag in an attempt to deflect objections.

            Speaking of which, do you really think I’d find your relentless promotion of positive thinking in any way compelling when I just recommend you a book with the subtitle “How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America”? Seriously, go read that.

          3. @RunSquidling
            My position is explained in my comments. (And don’t read too much into my love of crude language.) Hypocrisy, relentless postivity evangelism, and passive aggressiveness are not actually nice. I don’t know what kind of standards you’re using that you think saying “I can’t help but feel like this is just arguing for arguments sake” or “I hope, in the future, to read more articles from you that can find and celebrate the little victories in life” is genuinely respectful. Superficially Kate’s comments use positive language, but they’re actually manipulative and disingenuous.

            Now, I’m all for criticism, rude language, irreverence and snark, but people should exercise self-awareness. They should own what they’re engaging in. Someone who says “It’s time to stop bringing to light the fault in everything and start supporting an attempt at affecting real change” while they’re finding fault with someone else’s criticism is not being intellectually honest.

  35. Great post, Jenny!

    When I was reading this ‘Body Love’ by Mary Lambert immediately popped into my mind. It’s what this song wishes it was. It’s about accepting and loving your body whatever you look like and not basing your self-worth on how attractive you are to other people. That song sends a positive message (it’s much heavier than this song, though; almost spoken word form and it mentions various unpleasant and traumatic experiences).

    I think that song (or at least, its message) would appeal to everyone. If someone wants to check it out, here’s the vid:

  36. You are projecting here. The 50s vibe was chosen because in that era natural bodies was what stick bodies are now in the various media.

    As for why “only one back up dancer was white,” you ironically claim racial diversity as racism. Two black girls, one of which is quite obviously half white, with a hispanic girl and white girl, and you claim it’s “black women as props.” Smh. If the singer was black , or any other skin color, not a word would be uttered.

    People are subconsciously seeing the 50s dress and associating it with segregation. However the (possibly unintentionally insensitive) point was the cultural acceptance of full bodied woman at the time.

    Your point about non big woman pretending to be big is valid. Your point about race is weak.

    At least it isn’t “cool” to make fun of your people anymore. Try being a Jew: hated by white people for not being white and hated by everyone else FOR being white. And of course, always ripped on, thanks to South Park and Family Guy.

    The only racism in the video is that which you have projected onto it. It is YOU in this instance.

    1. Ben, I’d be more inclined to agree with you if it had been a white girl’s butt getting fondled.

    2. Excuse me for bursting out laughing, but Ben, sweetie, the fifties? The second coming of the wasp waist? Get your fashion history right. The fifties in the USA were all about body mods via girdles and corsets, petticoats and pointy bras. Big chest, big arse, tiny waist — it’s not much different from the present, except we cut ourselves up to make that happen. If I had to say any era was particularly kind, it’s be the thirties and forties, when we were coming out of the flapper era and hadn’t yet hit the extreme proportions of postwar.

    3. Ben, to some extent I agree with you that many ideas of racism is the scaffolding we project onto the material we are observing. I think the part that upsets me most is that the “white girl” is being criticized because she white reflecting what may be traditionally “black” (and there is NOT one type of black. By implying this you are forgetting the diversity of the black community and it’s ideals). You can not judge a person’s race by looking at them so don’t assume what they are. Also, the dancer with the “booty slapping” would have had to given permission in advance for someone to touch her, but we aren’t blaming her for “allowing her to shame her heritage” or something ridiculous. She made a choice too. If you are looking for something that has no cultural baggage, like “stealing” the word booty or using a fashion from a different era, you can not find it in this world. We are constantly recycling and repurposing things from the past and leaving behind any connotation would be impossible. Words also gain definition by the culture that uses them. Again, cultural baggage you can’t dump. Race is tricky, by analyzing it we end up in a trap of trying to see who is right about what is racist instead of looking at the person as someone beyond their skin (and who can dance amazingly and earned a big break in a popular video and was probably very excited about this– they had a CHOICE).
      As someone who believes themselves to be feminist, I can see how the size of women being pitted against each other (the “winner” with the hottest body getting the man). That is the biggest problem: it creates a “wrong” body type. I can see how this is damaging to all ends of the spectrum (my sister recently got out of treatment for an eating disorder/anxiety/depression/bipolar where she entered hospitalization under 100 lbs at 5’6.”) My sister has told me sometimes there is no reasoning behind how to perceives herself, but a lot of it stems from self comparison (I too have some of these problems).
      Also imagine the audience, not just the people reading this post, but a very diverse America. Maybe there is a deeper meaning to the choice of 50s fashion, but it could also be that the audience would think the typically feminine color palette is adorable (much like I did). Also referencing that point about reusing styles, the style in this video has been hip in Japan for years… it doesn’t have to mean American 50s. I would even bet that the producer’s first thought wasn’t, “let’s make the black girls objects,” they are also living to social/cultural discourse and they don’t necessarily understand it ourselves. Calling someone names over poor judgements makes us judgmental. I like constructive criticism, but tearing something down because we think it needs to reach some unattainable, flawless piece that has no cultural construct or baggage, then we are just filling ourselves with negativity.
      So even though reading into something is fun, we do need to keep in mind that broad messages are keys to marketing and don’t always blame the messenger (in this case, Meghan Trainor).

  37. I hadn’t heard that song before coming to your blog, Jenny, but what I get from it is women of my size are “sticks” or “skinny bitches” (yay for the sisterhood), and whatever a woman’s size, she’s only worthy of note if it’s a man doing the noticing. Straight away I noticed the “THIS is what men like,” tone of the song. Because you can accept yourself all you like, but what a woman really needs is male approval.

    I’ve yet to hear a body acceptance anthem that doesn’t resort to “I’m great, but I’m still going to slag off women who look different from me to make the greatness of me look even greater.”

    *le sigh*

  38. I saw a few comments on here about there not being enough songs about body image. So I thought I’d post a few. Also, you can find more by searching Superchick and Barlowgirl on youtube. These three are just the main ones that most people love/find inspiring.

    Noelle Johnson’s “Beautiful Soul” song:

    Barlowgirl’s song “Mirrior Mirror”:

    And last but not least,
    “Courage” by Superchick:

  39. There are two types of prevalent comments in this post that I gotta say nope nope nope to.

    1. “This song makes me feel good about myself! How dare you say it’s bad!” This reminds me so much of comments left on the 50SOG recaps that basically said “This book makes me horny so no one can say anything against it!” A few things are wrong about that line of thinking but the biggest problem is that the experience or opinion of one person who listens to a song or reads a book is not the universal experience or opinion of EVERYONE who listens to that same song or reads that same book. Just because you like something, that doesn’t mean that everyone should or that it’s unacceptable to explain why someone dislikes something.

    2. “How dare she say anything bad about thin people! How horrible!” This is basically the thin person’s version of What About Teh Menz. A perfect example is “If you accuse a skinny person of having an eating disorder it’s no big deal, but if you tell someone who is overweight to lose the weight then everyone loses their minds.” First of all, people who say things like that are so blind to their own thin privilege. Second, that type of statement almost always comes across as it’s not okay to mock thin people but it’s okay to mock everyone else who isn’t thin. More often than not it also expresses wanting tit for tat insults, like “if you call me a skinny bitch, then I should get to call you a fat bitch.” NO! STOP! No one should be saying anything negative about anyone’s body. No one should be telling anyone that they need to gain or lose weight. Instead of “don’t make fun of thin people!” how about “don’t make fun of people’s bodies!” because every body type gets teased. Not just skinny, not just fat, not just short, not just tall.

    1. I don’t think anyone who brought up the fact that the line about skinny bitches was problematic was saying that for the reasons you suggested. Most people seemed to have objected to it because it was policing of women’s bodies in a supposedly body positive song. They were pointing out that it wasn’t ok to put down someone else’s body in order to feel better about your own. And the line wouldn’t have been any more ok if it had been praising a slim women’s body whilst putting down bigger women.

      Of course there is thin privilege and of course woman who have more body fat have their bodies judged more harshly. That is not in question, and it’s certainly not right. However that doesn’t mean that those lines weren’t out of order, or that thin women don’t have their bodies policed. It just means that it probably happens less, and it’s more likely that other people will call out the person criticising.

      No one should have to put up with their body being criticised, they shouldn’t be called names because their body doesn’t meet someone else’s standards and they shouldn’t have to hear body policing dressed up as ‘concern for your health’. People come in different shapes and sizes, and their bodies work in different ways. As long as you can live the life you want to live, and you are comfortable in your own skin, nothing else should matter. Your body is the best home you will ever have, look after it and love it. And anyone who is mean about it can go fuck themselves.

      1. I don’t mean that stating “it’s wrong that she knocks down thin people to make herself feel better” is the same as stating “DON’T EVER MAKE FUN OF THIN PEOPLE!” Those are two different things. The former is a valid argument (ie what Jenny said in her post), while the latter is not.

        1. Except that is what you said. You compared people being bothered by the “skinny bitches” line to a “what about men?” argument, basically suggesting it’s a ridiculous thing to be bothered by. Comparing it to that lovely MRA chestnut is saying that thin women have no place in a discussion about body acceptance. I agree that it is important to be aware of our own privilege, and to not use hurt feelings as a reason to ignore that most of the time thin bodies are seen as acceptable. But thin bodies are still policed, thin women still have their body hang ups, thin women can have eating disorders and therefore thin women need body acceptance too. As do men. Everyone needs body acceptance, therefore everyone needs to be part of the conversation.

    2. “Boys they like a little more booty to hold at night” is a message skinny, non-booty having women receive constantly as soon as they hit puberty. It’s considerably less upsetting than what bigger women hear day in day out, but the bottom line is that women don’t need to be fat to feel like they take too much space. Stuck-up/aggressive/competitive skinny “bitches” also take too much space, as do thin women with big boobs who don’t want to have sex with you. Shitting on other women has no effect other than dividing and conquering us on behalf of men. It should be called out because it’s part of a larger system where size doesn’t actually matter. (Doesn’t the “ideal” size changes from one decade to the next?) The point is to shame us.

  40. The line about “all the right places” or something could really upset a fat girl (or “fatceptable” or “chubby” girl that doesn’t carry most of the fat in her boobs and ass… the message is its ok to be fat but only this kind of fat so guys think you’re hot. This song and video could of featured a lot more diverse body types and its kinda upsetting when it showed slightly more full figured girls than the norm, still conventionally attractive and “hot”.

  41. So, I’ve been listening to this song since the music video hit . This is Meghan’s first ever music video. This song is also unlike any of her other songs. I believe it was commercialized a bit to help launch her career. Most of her other music is her and a guitar or her and a ukulele (adorable) just singing. She writes a lot of her own music and is genuinely talented. I do not know how much say she had in making this video or if she was just along for the ride and excited to be making it. It is also interesting that the director for her video is a black woman.

    The line “all about that bass/no treble” is word replacement. My guess is it’s a punny/cheeky replacement for “ass” and “trouble” but I don’t know this for sure.

    I didn’t read any more into the girl representing the “stick figure silicone barbie doll” wrapped in plastic wrap other than she’s wearing..silicone, or is made to look like she’s made of silicone.

    And the part about skinny bitches I felt was more a dig at “Skinny Bitch culture” and that line of garbage that Bethenny Frankel peddles at women. Maybe it’s just me, but when I hear “skinny bitch” I don’t think of thin people, I think of that entire product/lifestyle/Bethenny-people/culture of the overpriced “skinny girl” products.

    I do recognize the issues with the wording. I showed the video to my husband and then later listened to him relay the info to a friend claiming Meghan to be “a size 18 or 20 at least” and I had to jump in and point out that the girl is not a big girl at all, and is thinner than I am. He apologized.

    It is really easy for these not fat women to declare self-love and body acceptance, but you also have to keep in mind that the world is going to call her fat. She is absolutely an average size but at some point very soon, if it hasn’t happened already, she will be called fat, she will be told to diet, she will be graded for her body.

    BUT despite all of the issues with the wording and the video that has been pointed out here, I still like it. I find it considerably less appalling than a lot of the music I hear on the radio. I am holding out hope that we will be hearing more and more positive image songs that won’t hang on the opinions of men.

    1. I totally agree with you! :) Everyone should just shut up and stop dissecting this song apart. If you don’t like it then don’t listen to it.

  42. It’s catchy and you can dance to it. It seems like a lot of effort to deconstruct a pop song though. I always thought it was silly when people did that to LL Cool J too.

  43. Such a shame. As you said Jenny, this was such a good opportunity for a body positive song, but the back-handed undercurrent ruins it.

    There’s no problem with ‘I’m fat and gorgeous! Woohoo!’ but so often it’s followed up by ‘and fuck those skinny bitches!’ I don’t understand how anyone can think that’s feminist, or not realise what an insulting and harmful message that is.

    Why must we as women be trained to only feel good about ourselves by trampling on other women?

  44. So, first of all, a good amount of us evil thin women hate our figures and would love to gain up to a normal size. Songs like these don’t help.

    Secondly, if you’re going to write a song about accepting “curves,” then at least wear something that will make you at least LOOK curvy, because really none of them do. Certainly nowhere near Kardashian curvy.

    Thirdly, what does the title have to do with the rest of the song?

  45. Wandered onto this website by mistake…found it so depressing I went immediately to iTunes and downloaded “all about that base / bout that base / no treble….”

  46. I totally agree! Very eloquent.
    I also think the chorus is a bit if a dig if you think about it.
    Bass is often described to as fat or heavy notes whereas treble is thin or light.
    So in my opinion she’s essentially saying “I’m all about the heavy, no thin [people]“

  47. I personally like the song and choose to celebrate it for being positive. I’ll gladly gloss over some of the lesser proud bits because of the context of the current musical culture it is coming from. Compare it to most of the things on the charts at the moment, and this is the most woman-positive thing we’ve had for a while.

    (I had the exact opposite reaction to Frozen. Initially I hated it for all the reasons that it should have been better, but as soon as I started seeing so many louder people tearing it down, I threw it my support because it is at least *progress* toward where I’d like us to be. I learned my lesson, something about gift horses I think.)

    Back on topic, that being said, I can see your views and agree with many of them as well. The one that I just can’t agree with is the bit about the final image with the white girl grabbing the black girl’s butt. You said “…but also the dangerous belief that the bodies of black women are on offer for anyone to sample, consent not required.”

    The facial expressions do not line up AT ALL with what you’ve said. The black girl is clearly showing off her awesome ass to the scared white girl and practically saying “It’s ok, you can touch it.” The black girl is coaxing her to do it, consent was given and then some. It’s as if the skinny chick were afraid Fat was catching. The other girl is trying to show her that no, it’s ok. If the scene were instead that the black girl’s ass was grabbed and then she feigned some outrage or shock, then yes, your assessment would apply to it, but that isn’t what we are given. I am not arguing that what you’ve said isn’t a societal issue, but that isn’t what is on display here.

    And yes, I’m new here, so if I’ve completely missed some TroutNation *thing*, go ahead and laugh and ignore me. I had a friend who didn’t know that The Onion was a satire site. He was good for a few laughs. >.<

  48. Thanks Jenny for the informative and REALLY thought-provoking article. I haven’t heard of this song here on the other side of the Atlantic, so I was pretty confused by it but ultimately disappointed with its ham-handed message.

    As a kid, I used to get massively bullied for something I was born with (in this case, it was just a tendency to develop thick body hair. I started getting them at the age of 8). So when middle-school happened, I wound up constantly compared with the ‘popular’ girls and even at times got bullied and harassed by them.

    So I started developing a seething hatred against them–and it wound up turning me (as a teenager later on) to get paranoid over any attractive, socially confident girl in school. I didn’t even realise that I was treating them all like a separate hive-species JUST because of the four girls I knew back in junior high.

    That’s one of the reasons why I totally get your statement. While I was lucky for being just a chunky kid during middle school (and I later got chunky again in my mid-20s), I still ate up all the media’s messages of ‘It’s me against THOSE GIRLS.’, or, “Only I am the better girl, the boys just don’t see it yet and by the time they do, THEN the popular girls will get what’s coming for them.”–while not really realising that the most gun-ho of my bullies were just their boyfriends, and even my bullies were bullying me because they were taught that ‘girls had to look like this, and NEVER in a variety of ways.’

    (plus, I was feeding off the notion that ‘pretty’ girls would get bad karma for being conventionally attractive. I can’t believe I honestly accepted such creepy ideas).

    Anyway, that’s why ‘body positive’ celebrities need to consider what you’ve just said. No one should shame people for fitting the ‘safe’ ideal which is only made for heterosexual guys, least of all claim that you’re a better candidate for the sex appeal ‘just because’.
    Plus, WOC have been used as props to heighten the self esteem of white women for centuries. Whether to prove a woman’s wealth, or to help make a contrast on the woman’s pale skin–we have a LONG and terrible rep in using black women to help us stand out in western society. And considering how WOC all over have been trying to tell us to stop since Avril Lavigne’s alternative ‘Girlfriend’ video? It’s depressing that people are STILL ignoring their messages.

    1. Good point about listening to women of color. It seems like us white people have this habit of atomizing incidences of racism into random occurrences (who could have predicted there’d be racism there? golly gee) and refusing to see it as systemic (which we might have to do something about). I mean, how much shit did Miley Cyrus get from black women for smacking a black back-up dancer’s butt like a drum in one of her performances? And now this video does almost exactly the same thing? Ridiculous.

  49. Have to make a comment here. First, with the exception of the “skinny girl” and maybe one or two of the supposed “fat girls”, most of the people in this video are actually clinically obese. In fact, the black guy is most definitely severely obese, possibly morbidly so. This means that his BMI is so high that he is at severe risk for life-threatening illnesses. Now, I know that genetics and life experiences combined are responsible for the higher risk for an elevated BMI, but the simple fact is that people get obese because their food and drink intake is larger than what their body needs on a very consistent basis. Everyone needs a different amount of calories, but we should be able to figure that out pretty easily- if we are gaining weight, we need to tone it down. This isn’t because of body image, it is because of our own wellbeing.

    Why do we keep trying to tell people that it is “okay to be fat”? The fact of the matter is it doesn’t matter if you’re beautiful that way or not, it is bad for you! This is not the message we need to be sending vulnerable young people! We need to send the message that “You are powerful enough to conquer this”, not “its okay to give into your problems because you are pretty despite this”. Is health, well-being, and ability to face your problems really of such low value? Or is being pretty really all that matters in the end?

    1. You’ve completely missed the point. It’s not about being pretty. It’s about being comfortable with your body, because you’re in it whatever its shape. It’s about liking yourself.

      So, your advice is for people to be disgusted by their body (and, sometimes, by extension themselves) if they’re overweight? They have to feel weak and worthless for being overweight, despite the fact that a percentage of them has physical and/or mental problems that account for their weight? They have to feel ugly and stupid even though they are smart and strong and kind and funny ? They should just feel bad all the time and have no self-confidence and not accept themselves and definitely don’t think that ‘it’s okay to be fat.’

      Because clearly this constant state of self-loathing is gonna magically make go, ‘Let’s eat sensibly and work out.’ I know that’s what I feel like doing whenever I feel insecure about my body (sarcasm). More like, ‘Bring on the brownies!’

  50. I’m sorry, but this is absurd. First, just because she’s thin, that means she can’t can’t sing about body acceptance? Thin people have body issues too.
    Second, it’s a freaking pop song it’s suppose to be fun and catchy, and if I’m not mistaken, objectifying women is standard, along with African-American backup dancers.
    Third,the only person who sounds the same singing and talking is BobDylan.
    Finally, your cynical judgemental commentary is far more offensive than this innocent pop song that no one will remember in a few months.

  51. Yes yes yes, thank you for writing this! I wrote about some of the problems with this song/video a while back, but you’ve articulated so many things I didn’t have the words for. It’s really disappointing–the song is so catchy and the aesthetic is so gorgeous, and it had the potential to actually be a body-positive anthem, but then it was just full of so much fail.

  52. It’s a very good piece on a…pretty shitty song, but I do take some issue with the statement “Even reconstructive plastic surgery after breast cancer fulfills this role; when performed for the patient’s personal comfort, it’s still done to uphold the standard that all women must have breasts (well hello, transmisogyny!), which is what’s making that patient uncomfortable in the first place.” As someone who has worked as bra fitter for quite some time and helped many women before and after mastectomy and reconstructions, I find it dismissive and borderline insulting to assume that “all women must have breasts” is the motivating factor for post mastectomy reconstruction. Does the author REALLY know for sure what’s making these women “uncomfortable”? It’s arrogant to presume to speak for all of them. Even with my years of experience, I cannot. But what I DO know and have been told by my clients is that for many women, wearing a prosthesis or having reconstruction is more about reclaiming what was taken. No, breasts do not define a woman, in fact, I took a shit ton of heat during Breast Cancer Awareness month for suggesting that in an essay on my blog. But it is about EACH woman, individually, being able to regain a sense of having her life back the way it was before her cancer diagnosis. If you speak to these women, you’ll find it’s not a “body image” thing. If I lost my hand, I don’t want my hand back because everyone else has two hands. I just want MY goddamn hand back! It is about restoring a sense of personal normalcy, not bowing to conformity. These women just simply want to move past the surgeries and chemo and radiation treatment and all the shit that goes along with it. And having breasts, for them, represents that. Just that, and nothing else. Just…moving onwards and upwards. Physically speaking, reconstruction and prosthesis have benefits for women who have lost only one breast, as the imbalance of breast weight can lead to severe back and neck injury over time. So it’s a lot more than “comfort”, and “upholding a standard” and definitely not meant as an affront or insult to any persons gender identity.

    1. I didn’t mean to imply that women shouldn’t get reconstructive surgery because it’s an affront to gender identity. But it is absolutely true that anxiety over how a woman is going to look post mastectomy is largely to do with our culture’s insistence that breasts = feminine. That’s why so much literature about reconstruction post-mastectomy deals with specifically looking “normal.” I understand the importance of the decisions these women are making for themselves as individuals, and it’s not diminishing their autonomy to suggest that their choices aren’t made in a vacuum space unaffected by our cultural expectations of “normal.”

      1. My mother avoided going to the doctor to discuss the changes she was noticing in her breast, in part, I think, because she cares very much about her appearance. She’s the kind of lady that cannot fathom going out without make up or doing her hair. That is not a problem, except she was so afraid of a mastectomy that it wasn’t until the cancer had spread to her spinal column and she could hardly walk and had to have emergency spinal surgery that she faced it. At the point of her diagnosis, she was Stage 4.

        She’s doing great now, recently had that mastectomy and is looking towards getting a reconstruction because she is still worried about appearances. The point is, that yes, for some women it is just that simple.

        1. When I recently went for a biopsy, the (male) doctor seemed reluctant to do it because, “It will leave a scar.” It was almost as though he were saying, “It’s not worth it to find out if you have Paget’s disease, because your nipple looking good is more important.” When we don’t look at that pressure for women to look “normal” I feel like more women will end up the way your mother did, just because appearance is so stressed by medical personnel at every step of the process.

          1. Fortunately, she got a really fantastic team of medical doctors behind her (and got away from military hospitals >.>) who really did all they could to bolster her self esteem. She went from wheelchair to walking without difficulty and is on this side of in remission (thanks in part to a wonderful new cancer drug and support from my dad who doesn’t care at all about the fact that her breast has been removed).

            I understand about warning people that the biopsy would scar, but to be actively resistant is insane and wouldn’t bring much confidence about it’s necessity. I wonder how many women have been scared away from important diagnostic tests because of fears of scarring? After watching the stuff with my mom, I’m at a point where they can just take both of my boobs and I’ll go ahead and get a rockin’ tattoo there instead. ;)

  53. Just to raise a point I think is being ignored here:

    Songs [media] promoting position body images for girls and women are extremely rare. And where they do exist, they are rarely popular. It should be acknowledged that any song, even one that is not perfect, that asks us to discuss and potentially re-evaluate the way we think about women’s bodies should be recognized with some praise. This song can be broken down and analyzed on the internet and flaws can be found, as with any “positive” piece of media. However, the young girls signing along on the radio, or the women humming this song at work, are taking the words at face value and therefore, are hearing a message that does promote respecting and loving what you’ve got.

    Let’s acknowledge that this song certainly isn’t perfect, nor is it going to significantly alter the current norm society seems to expect of the female body, but it is bringing attention to the issue and hopefully inspiring people to think their bodies are “perfect from bottom to the top.”

  54. One should watch and listen to Ms. Trainor’s other work before encapsulating all of one’s opinion into one negative criticism over a single video. I found it fun and funny.

    1. I’m not interested in critiquing Trainor as an artist, just this song, since it’s become such an overnight hit. :)

  55. This is a good article. I have some questions though, she looks round to me the blonde lady? How is she not big? She looks heavy to me. Aren’t bigger women oppressed by beauty norms that tell them they must be skinny to have worth? Although I suppose it’s not skinny women’s faults, but on the other hand I thought- I have read a lot about social justice on tumblr and I thought that it’s understandable for the oppressed to feel anger at the oppressers. Is this justified anger at skinny people or internalized misogyny?

    This article doesn’t seem to want to devalue slim ladies, want to have black ladies’ bodies used as props and not to devalue ladies who are trans ladies or ladies who modify their bodies. Why are you comparing her song to fan fiction? A lot of teenage girls write fan fiction and some of them are persons of color and LGBT people- I read a study that a small majority of LGBT women possibly writes slash or homosexual fanfiction. Why are you devaluing the creative contributions of women? I loath that word Mary Sue, it’s such a gendered word!

    Anxiety of the word Mary Sue inhibit teenage girl authors who are writing for fun and inhibits them creatively. Batman, Superman, Harry Potter and lots of other characters are idealized ladies. I hear the word Gary Stu far less often then Mary Sue. Mary Sue is a gendered, sexist word used to discourage teenage girls from writing. Why do you seem supportive of trans ladies, persons of color ladies, big ladies, ladies who modify themselves and skinny ladies but not supportive of teenaged ladies who are also probably trans ladies, teenagers of color, big ladies who are teenagers too, teenagers modify their bodies too and are skinny too. Are you ageist? Why do you feel the need to devalue an art for fan fiction, that has lots of idealized characters in it-?

    Now this isn’t to say that there aren’t self-insertions, idealized female characters and things like that. However in cannon works there are idealized male characters all over the place but no one seems to go into films and criticize any male character idealization going on, any whiff of it going on but since fan fiction is dominated by female authors got to criticize any whiff of female character idealization going on.

    Now obviously the lady in the song seems to want to seem superior to ladies who modify their bodies and ladies who are slim and maybe that’s some internalized misogyny. However I think you also display internalized misogyny by comparing Traynor to fan fiction authors. You criticize the artist for putting down and comparing themselves to skinny ladies and ladies who modify their bodies, but you are doing the same thing by criticizing teenage authors-

    I am sure teenage ladies of color, teenage LGBT ladies and people other then teenage white girls have it worse and have it tougher then white girls, but don’t they write fan fiction too? I read something on tumblr that this lady of color thought that African American teenagers writing self-insertions of themselves in or writing fan fiction and putting idealized characters in fan fiction, they give themselves representation and probably empower ladies of colour.

    I also read a study about how writing fan fiction could empower marnalized individuals who aren’t white or a man in a society that worships white male characters and who are written in complex, sympathetic ways. But heaven forbid if persons of color and ladies go to fan fiction to write idealized, sympathized ladies who aren’t white and who aren’t men, heaven forbid they write complex ladies who are the centre of attention who are idealized, sympathized with just like white men always are.

    This is a great article but why did you feel the need to shit on teenage girls? Everyone always shits on teenage girls. Why did you have to do it too? Your a hypocrite!


    In this paper it’s mentioned how there was a fan fiction of Gone with the Wind, that highlighted African Canadian ladies in a more positive light. Also it mentions how margnalized individuals can empower themselves through inserting themselves and imagining themselves in those fictions. I am not saying that some fan fiction cannot contain problematic things like racism, internalized misogny and stuff like any other media- But it seems like to me Mary Sue is a very teenage girl shaming, very sexist gendered word. Why did you have to be one those people? I would have liked the article other wise if you didn’t shame teenage girls. Why is it everyone’s favourite hobby even amoung women to shit on teenage girls? It angers me.

    1. I don’t know how on earth you got most of that from what I wrote. I never devalued fanfic (I write fanfic as a hobby and have since I was a teenager and am familiar with its purposes and politics), I never “shit on” teenage girls (I can’t even remember if I mentioned teenage girls in the post at all), and “Mary Sue” is a term commonly associated with the “curves in all the right places” trope. I wasn’t comparing the song to fanfic, I wasn’t degrading teen girls or disempowering people of color by mentioning a term from fanfic. I was drawing a parallel between “all the right places” in the song to “all the right places” in fanfic for humorous effect, because the words are the same.

    2. I wanted to come back, though, and say that I agree with you about Gary Stu not being used to call out male characters nearly enough. I don’t have a problem with calling a Mary Sue a Mary Sue– they exist for a reason, and they’re fun to write– but I do have a problem with the way we’re not calling me out for writing the same things and getting praised. Like, when you hear about the “gritty realism” of Batman. It’s about a rich dude in a rubber suit fighting cartoon villains. It’s the definition of a Gary Stu. But male = artistic merit or something, I guess.

  56. This might just be me, and I’m completely contempt with it , but I think people make racism to be a larger problem than it is. How often do you hear direct racial slurs or offences. The majority of this these “racial slurs” are interpreted from a small amount of context. I cannot even refer to someone at Mexican because it is apparently a generalization, even though I know that they are from Mexico. The last time I heard an offense to race was from an elderly man that grew up with slavery, and he is probably dead now.

    1. Oh my God. You shimmering gemstone. You precious lapis lazuli.

      Sparkle on, space traveler. Sparkle on.

    2. Racism isn’t just about making patently offensive racial slurs or racist comments. It’s about sterotyping and making judgments about people just because of the color of their skin. About using them as background material, such as this video, or, far more often, not using them at all, even white-washing stories originally written about people of color, and never giving them a chance to tell their own story.

      So far as not being able to refer to someone as Mexican, that seems like a pretty anecdotal way to dismiss a really pervasive problem in our society. If you happen to know someone is Mexican (like, if they told you), then there is absolutely nothing wrong with referring to them as Mexican. But often times, a lot of people refer to any person who is Hispanic, regardless if they are from South America, Central America, or, a lot of times, born right here in the U.S., as “Mexican.” That is racism, and understandably pisses a lot of people off.

      1. “Racism isn’t just about making patently offensive racial slurs or racist comments. It’s about sterotyping and making judgments about people just because of the color of their skin.”

        As pseudo-intelligent as that sounds, you are 100% wrong. Racism is the belief that are person’s ethnic characters represent different biological races and that one is superior to another. Very few people are actually racist; these would include members of the KKK. So, throwing the “ractist” label around actually makes you look unintelligent. What you are referring to is actually “prejudice.” These are two different concepts, so I suggest you look it up in the dictionary.

        1. Or you should look up some contemporary sources and learn the current definition of racism, as defined by activist from marginalized groups and you’d realize that a dictionary definition isn’t the full depth of what racism is. You won’t, because you’re a white male, and you don’t have to, and you can just continue believing you’re superior to everyone because being a white man means you’re automatically right.

  57. get a life — she’s just a cute girl trying to sing/create a cute song/video. it’s not fat shaming unless you over analyze it to death as you seem to have done with great enthusiasm. we’re all different sizes. wow. revolutionary. she doesn’t have to be morbidly obese to prove a point about the size zero culture in america. nor should she be — because that would be pretty sad. i think she’s brave to put out this video/song because of people like you who will for sure try to bring her down — when is your next music video coming out? would love to see that.

    1. I’m a USA Today Bestselling author who’s been on national television talking about exactly this stuff. I think I’m doing just fine without a music video. Which is more than I can say for your ability to craft an effective put-down

    2. I agree!!! Why is everyone over analyzing this video? Its a cute, normal, average girl singing about how she loves her curves. That’s the way I see it!

  58. Not sure if it’s been brought up in the comments… but there’s also the whole issue of the not-white not-skinny apparently gay male voguing. Speaking of props

    1. I was hesitant to comment on it, because I know that guy does youtube videos and he’s been in other things, and that’s kind of his schtick. I don’t want to criticize him for doing basically what he’s marketed himself as, you know?

  59. “Don’t let the unflattering dress trick your eye. This girl is not a fat girl.”

    Your phrasing suggests that, in order for clothes to be flattering, they must make the wearer look maximally thin. Conversely, an “unflattering” dress is one that might conceivably make this woman look a little more fat than she actually is. So, that’s problematic.

    Otherwise, great post.

  60. Thank you for this. I really love the body-positive movement, but a lot of how it’s being handled makes me uncomfortable. First, as you pointed out, women are tending to objectify themselves with arguments about what men prefer, as if that’s all that matters. Secondly, as a teen who was called “skinny bitch” at every swim party, I never felt comfortable in my body. And while I know I can’t ever understand what it’s like to be teased for being fat, I don’t think telling girls who are skinny that they aren’t “real” is the solution either.

  61. I enjoy the fact that you openly criticize her body for not being “fat” enough, stop writing

  62. Lol, how long did it take to deconstruct this? What a sad waste of time- it’s a pop song that people like made by a chubby girl that is picking on the advertising industry.

    1. Why do all these strangers care how I spend my time? Is it getting subtracted from their lives?

      1. I agree with you completely Jenny. Keep up the good fight – us medium sized girls aren’t even talked about. I don’t like that personally.

  63. I got paid to be in this video and I knew what it was about. I don’t think I was compromised and a person since I did it voluntarily.

    1. It’s awesome that you and the director are so close that you have the same IP addresses.

      1. Having the same IP address doesn’t mean you’re the same person; it can mean you’re connecting to the Internet from the same location.

    1. Walmart has never supported me. Walmart has never paid me a dime of alimony, and I worked two jobs while Walmart got its law degree.

  64. Great piece. You really clarified some of the things that were bothering me about this song and video.

  65. I want to start by saying this is the first I’ve seen/heard of this song.

    Very interesting points regarding body image. I agree it’s problematic and other than the phrase you pointed out (which is super) the rest of the lyrics just seem a bit… off.

    What I find curious about and want to genuinely ask you about is the ‘black women as props’ comment. Maybe it’s because I live in a country (Australia) where the whole conversation about cross-racial casting is still a thing and where visibility of non-white people is pretty damned poor, but I’m curious to know how any back up dancer is anything other than a prop (realistically) and would it be somehow better to have other races not represented at all? Can you not come across as objectifying other races simply by trying to be inclusive of them?

    (that being said, I completely agree about the point regarding the booty-touching. I saw that and it seemed pretty inappropriate to me!)

  66. I agree with many points in this article – the appropriation of the African American Vernacular and the use of African American people as props in particular. My biggest complaint in the song is the line about “skinny bitches” as they are, in fact, people too and every inch of them is perfect as well.

    The one point I disagree on is the author’s contention that the singer is not overweight. Compared to actresses, models, and other pop stars, she is in fact larger. Just because she doesn’t meet the author’s criteria for being overweight does not mean that society in general doesn’t view her as such.

    Also, it’s a damn catchy song! *chair dances*

  67. There’s one thing in this article that really bothers me. “Even reconstructive plastic surgery after breast cancer fulfills this role; when performed for the patient’s personal comfort, it’s still done to uphold the standard that all women must have breasts (well hello, transmisogyny!), which is what’s making that patient uncomfortable in the first place.” “Women”, as defined as a DNA positive female that has undergone puberty, have breasts. Regardless of size they’re there unless there’s a medical anomaly preventing their growth. Assuming that a woman wanting something, that she’s likely had more than half of her life, back for any reason other than it makes her feel more like herself is…..insulting at best.

    1. “Women” is not defined by DNA. But women are often defined by our culture as having breasts. It’s not wrong for a woman to have reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy, and I never said that it was; it’s a personal choice. But women, even women who’ve had cancer, don’t make choices in a bubble that’s untouched by the rest of our culture. If I had to have a mastectomy, you’d be damn sure I’d get reconstructive surgery, but no matter how I frame my motive, be it, “I want to look normal,” or “I want to feel like myself,” or even just, “I really like my boobs,” I would have to accept that the definition of normal and the importance of my breasts as a part of my identity isn’t coming from some inner well of insecurity untouched by the outside world. It isn’t insulting or demeaning women who’ve had reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy to realistically examine why we as a society expect that women have to have breasts to be a woman. It’s insulting and demeaning to expect that all women, regardless of the gender they were assigned at birth, must have boobs to qualify.

  68. I know I showed up pretty late to the party, but I really wanted to thank you for writing this article. I only saw the video once before, when one of my best friends posted it on Facebook and tagged me and a few other friends saying that she thought we would like it.

    After watching it, I had a lot of feelings, and I don’t think I could articulate them well until I saw your post on this. My friend, the one who posted the video, is beautiful. She is also overweight.

    I knew after watching the video why she posted it. I know she has struggled with body positivity over the years, and I could see why a video like this would make her happy. I could also understand why she tagged me, because we’ve had plenty of discussions about body image and society’s negative views on anyone above a size 6, and all those other things that you described as fitting into the “fat acceptance” and “body image acceptance” messages, where your sense of self-worth should not be drawn from a waist size. I think she saw this video as fitting into that movement.

    After I watched the video, I was so uncomfortable, and so unhappy, and it’s because, as you said, this video isn’t about body image acceptance, it’s just about idealizing one view of body image over another. I, myself, am a size two, and guess what, I still have a weird body shape, being a size two doesn’t magically make me a “barbie doll.” Sorry, every woman has a different shape, and no one size automatically makes you the human ideal of physical attraction. Waist size is just one aspect of a person’s shape, and having a certain waist size, regardless of whether it is 2, 12, 24, or whatever else, isn’t what makes you beautiful or attractive. Hell, having any specific type of shape in any given size is just one facet of what makes a person attractive. Maybe we should have a body positive song about how our personal appeal to others around us isn’t solely and directly linked to our body.

    Also, you mentioned Jennifer Lawrence and Drew Barrymore, but let’s also talk about Christina Hendricks for a minute. I think she was one of the first women people cited around the beginning of the “fatcceptable movement.” I remember so many people, but especially men, pointing to Christina Hendricks and saying “see? we don’t just want poles, gives us real women with real curves.” Citing Christina Hendricks as having the type of figure that the average “real woman” has was the most ridiculous thing I had ever heard. She is drop-dead gorgeous, and I wouldn’t be surprised that if “all the right curves in all the right places” was ever defined, her picture would be right there next to it.

    So yes, bottom line, I am happy to see that it isn’t just “skinny bitches” like me who are sad to see certain people trying to turn the body positivity movement into idealizing a new body shape/size by putting other body shape/sizes down.

    1. You’ve put it really well.

      Re: Christina Hendricks. I watched this interview that the Sydney Morning Herald did with her a few years back where the journalist said something like ‘ you’ve been know to be an inspiration for full-figured women in the past. When have you been an inspiration for someone? And she was really put off by that she was like ‘I don’t know’ and then looked at her people off camera sort of like she didn’t want to be asked this question. The journo thinking she needed to rephrase the question called her ‘full figured’ again and Hendricks was really annoyed by that. Apparently late off-camera she told the interviewer she thought calling her full figured was really rude.
      At first I thought you know what’s the big deal? I don’t think being called ‘full figured’ is bad, I means she’s freakin hot. But as someone who is not full figured, like yourself I’m a size, AU8 (US4) I wouldn’t know what it feels like to be called that. And I get that she must get really tired of interviewers talking about her body and appearance all the time. Actresses really do get the short end of the stick for interviews. It’s always about ‘how do you keep in shape’ and ‘what’s your diet secrets’. Men never get that, unless your Dwayne Johnson. I think Emma Stone once pointed that out, that actors always get really interesting questions and actresses mostly get diet and body image questions.
      Women are a lot more than just their bodies and dress size, as you said a size 2 is going to look different on different people. Which is why I think this video is not crappy because she represents some ‘fatacceptable movement’ and the ideal body image but because the message is crappy as a whole. It wouldn’t make it any better if a size 2 or as size 24 sang that song, it’s still a shit message to perpetuate that your self -worth only matters if a guy finds you hot and you have to bring down others and their appearance (those damn skinny bitches) to elevate yourself.

      I would love to see a song that does the exact opposite and the first line not being ‘I’m not a size 2′ etc. I would love to see a song about a woman having a positive image of herself because she is smart, she is confident, she is pretty,she has something to give and it wouldn’t matter if she was skinny, in the middle or fat because she will still be all those things no matter what she looks like and no matter if she doesn’t conform to the standard of beauty.

  69. She is easily a 12-14-16 size, which would be considered plus sized by most standards. While its certainly a common size for many people, she will more than likely get a lot of fat shaming comments.

    She’s on the small size of plus sized, but she is. I don’t think she’s fat of course, but socially speaking if she were to sing something else, come out as a pop star, her size would definitely get comments, unfortunately . I definitely agree with the rest of the article, though. Its not a body positive song so much as it is a ‘if you are like me’ body positive song

  70. Hi girls, english is not my mother language, and I would like to know what does ‘I am all about THAT BASS ‘ mean

    Thank you

  71. Hey! I just wanted to drop in and say thank you for this article. It hit everything that I wanted to say about the song — especially about the appropriation of black culture and abuse of black female sexuality. As a woman of colour (and even as a “skinny bitch”) that problem with the video bothered me immensely more than her feeling the need to sham thin women and seems to be lost in a lot of arguments about it.

    I do want to caution you a bit about this one line though: “It’s in the right places, guys! Meghan Trainor is a fanfic Mary Sue. You heard it here first.

    I get the little tongue-in-cheek you meant about trite writing cliches and laughed, but I did just want to point out that it does come awfully close to shaming creative young women who want to exercise their literary talents and put a bit of themselves in media that frequently does not reflect or represent them. I’ve never written Mary Sue fic and I do roll my eyes at them frequently (and even sometimes other people’s defenses), but it’s also worth pointing out that its writers are also often pre- and teenage young women who are trying to learn how to write. And laughing at rather than supporting young women who aren’t very good at writing yet because they haven’t had the practice doesn’t … seem very feminist, does it?

    On that note though, and perhaps more concerningly, it’s worth pointing out that it does reinforce a certain notion that your body has to look a certain way for you to feel good about it, re: what we saw with Shape Magazine and Brooke Birmingham earlier this year. As you mentioned throughout this post, it’s a line that excludes women who don’t conform to the standard of beauty the singer is preaching about: people like Brooke, but also breast cancer survivors who are missing breasts, and people who are missing limbs or paralyzed and have lost muscle as a result. Those people can’t have the “curves.”

    In the end, any song that is exclusionary and essentially at the expense of POC should take a long look at what it’s promoting.

    Here’s to hoping Weird Al does a parody of it (maybe something with fish…?)

  72. Do any of you actually listen to music to enjoy the beat or sing along to without analyzing it first? Or do you have to make sure the song is appropriate for your agendas? You all sound like crazy buzzkills. Oh well.

  73. Bravo!

    There is only one part I somewhat disagree with:

    “Even reconstructive plastic surgery after breast cancer fulfills this role; when performed for the patient’s personal comfort, it’s still done to uphold the standard that all women must have breasts (well hello, transmisogyny!), which is what’s making that patient uncomfortable in the first place.”

    Missing a body part is uncomfortable in and of itself. Imagine not having a foot, or an arm? You’d probably want some sort of prosthetic or reconstruction if it was ANY part of you.

    It’s just a shitty coincidence that the particular body part being augmented in the case of reconstructive, post-cancer breast surgery just happens to be a part with a sexual / reproductive function that others can judge.

    And speaking as a flat-chested woman, I can say that ill-fitting clothes, having things shift and bunch and sag on you, having to constantly adjust yourself, and 99% of bras you ever try on really really really hurting you, is uncomfortable simply in and of itself. Totally regardless of my sexuality or sense of attractiveness. I would honest to god get implants just to not be chafed and annoyed on a near-constant basis.

  74. How would you feel that knowing the choreographer of the video as well as the stylist, and director where all people of color?

    You’re giving a lot of credit to someone who has never has any music out before this without realizing that the music industry machines, makes like 90% of her decisions at this moment in her career. In fact it was a black record executive that heard her demo of the song (she is one of the writers) that pushed her version forward and got her signed to Epic Records.

  75. For starters I want to say that although I still like this song, I completely agree with all the points made here. It is not a positive body image song for all the wrong reasons, the biggest being because its not defined as simply appealing but appealing for men. Regardless, the point I wanted to make was that if we’re going to be realistic here and truly dissect this, she IS fat. Everybody has their own opinions about what fat is and how plus size and obese differ. But I’m sick and tired of hearing how’s she’s not even fat and the only fat person is the guy in the video. Medically speaking she is fat. That’s not to say she’s not beautiful or attractive, because personally I think she’s very pretty and has a great shape. But in case no one here has ever had to have their BMI taken, the scales for average/fat/obese are not very forgiving, but they are a fact and it is a medical measuremment that opinion does not change. My size 4 roommate is on the borderline measurement for fat though to me she’s the perfect size and healthy. So let’s be realistic people: she is fat, the male dancer is obese, and while it is not the positive body image song we want she does have a right to sing it because she is not “a skinny/average girl calling herself fat” as I keep rereading on here. That is all.

        1. I walk into the gymnastics center to collect my girls one afternoon. I had just begun chemo treatments about 3 weeks prior, and had lost 14 pounds in 9 days. Mind you, I started at 130 pounds and I’m 5’9. I looked like a skeleton, yes, no one is denying that. But what happened next still baffles me. A woman (another mom, presumably) walks up to me, touches my arm, and says “honey, you should eat more.”

          Random woman in gym say wha???

          Now…if I had been overweight, would this same woman have approached me and suggested I eat less? I’m gonna go with “no.”

          Why does anyone care what anyone else looks like? And WHY do they feel like it’s their duty to make it their business? Why isn’t the message “be a good person?” I’m all about that kindness, ’bout that kindness, no rudeness.

  76. i first listened to this song probably almost a week ago and it offended me but i didn’t exactly know why but after reading this.. oh man, haha. i am a 100 pound 21 year old, about 5’2 and i have a fantastic ass. this song really rubs me the wrong way, too bad it’s so catchy.

  77. I am so happy I found this article. I completely agree with it, and believe this song is totally offensive. I am a very skinny 18 year old girl, and I have medical conditions that restrict me from gaining weight. Listening to this song on the radio made me feel almost worthless. They degraded “skinny bitches” in a terrible attempt to boost thicker women’s self esteem. If this singer wanted to deliver a positive message, she has failed quite miserably. Songs about body image should direct every female and all body types, and characterizing us all as equals. Bravo on this article.

  78. Thank you.

    Your work is always thought provoking.

    I hate that people think to shine positive light on one thing they have to negate everything else.

    Difference is good. Just because one thing is different than the other doesn’t make it wrong.

    We can all feel good about ourselves without negating someone else.

    It’s like the victims that grow up to be the bad guys instead of being empathetic and understanding to the weaker ones that need help.

    We don’t need to bring someone else down to lift ourselves up. People need to understand that.

    Don’t step on someone to make yourself look good.

    This song tried but failed miserably to send a positive message.

  79. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE… I’ve been from a size 22 back to a 4 (the smallest in my life) and neither was healthy. Either way I have a “booty” and YES I AM WHITE!

    No, maybe the song/video isn’t “perfect”, but THAT my friends is the point! DID YOU OVER LOOK THIS PART?

    I see the magazines working that Photoshop
    We know that shit ain’t real
    Come on now, make it stop
    If you got beauty beauty just raise ‘em up
    ‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
    From the bottom to the top

    I really don’t care if you want to dissect it, for all that it’s worth.

    It screams “You don’t have to be a 2, Need plastic surgery or fit into a “mold”, everyone is perfect” (yes I’ll give you there is a little jab, but PLEASE, more positive than negative here!)
    I think there are a lot of other songs you could be putting through the ringer, with a fine tooth comb, that would make more sense!

  80. I think it’s a catchy song with a catchy tune written/sung by a cute blonde girl who knew it was gonna cause a reaction (whether positive or negative) -and knew it was gonna make her the big bucks! I say brava…she seems like a smart chick :)

  81. Thank you, Jenny! My first reaction on seeing this video when a friend posted it to my Facebook Timeline was, “Gross, more racist cultural appropriation”, and I stopped watching it not even halfway through. I’m really glad someone took the time to break it down, deal with the faux fattie celebration, deal with the anti-body-mod undercurrent , and deal with the cultural appropriation.

    I didn’t say anything to my friends, though, because I didn’t want to rain on their parade with my Intersectional Feminism Killjoy-o-Matic 5000 (got her for a song with the Anti-Kyriarchy package), because I do enough of that already.

  82. Wow you women took this much time to break this song down, its just a song! No hidden messages, stop over thinking and be happy.

  83. The one and ONLY off-putting thing to me about the article is when you suggested that breast cancer survivors who eleceted to have breast implants after a mastectomy were doing so only for the benefit of men and had fallen victim to misogyny. I could have done without this argumentative point. A woman could have her own unique and loving realationship with her breasts, and she could find value in them outside of men simply sexualizing them, or outside of their obvious sexual functions. I know you specifically said that you were not trying to shame women who have reconstructive surgery, but honestly you just ended up sounding a tad bit condescending and like a intellectually superior author who could see that all these women were being duped by misogyny while they were too weak minded and naive to see that they were being duped themselves. The breast are a body part, much like a limb or an ear. All of our various parts combine to make a whole functioning body. Breasts physically balance you and keep you literally grounded. My grandmother complained about feeling so unblanced when one of her breasts had to be removed when she had cancer. What I’m trying to say that loosing ANY body part is traumatic. Please consider that a woman may want to reconstruct her missing body part without any concern of being deemed acceptable and worthy of men.

    Otherwise, top-notch work in so many ways! Thank you.

  84. Wow, I really don’t like this blog post. You’re way overthinking things. This is an anthem for curvy girls, opposed to the 50 billion aimed at super skinny girls. Get over it. You wasted your time.

  85. Also, for the record, having black back up dancers is not to make her ‘look cooler’. Why can’t you have some racial mix up – not purely white dancers – without it being scrutinised? You’re just making up stories. Get your facts right, Jenny.

  86. Oh, for crying out loud! It’s a POP song! Since when are pop songs deep and meaningful? The lyrics are being way too overanalyzed! :/

  87. Just saw video for first time. I have mixed feelings about this fatacceptance movement. I love my body and I have never been less than a size 8. I think we should focus on healthy. Extra weight is unhealthy and ends up costing all of us more in medical costs. I do not want to be ok with an overweight body. I love myself enough to stay at a healthy weight.

  88. Thank you! I just heard you on NPR and thought I’d come read your blog myself. I had a similar reaction to the song. So while I appreciate young women speaking out against the mainstream media’s version of beautiful (a.k.a. Photoshop everything to death!), I am not comfortable with it at the expense of other women. Women need to ban together against the expectations of beauty, and not be pitted against each other.

  89. Wow. There are rap songs out there talking about killing hos and you’ve now deconstructed a pop song that is basically fluff. I fear that if this humorless crowd had its way, we’d all be stuck in Lillith Faire forever. As an old school feminist, this reminds me of that stupid battle to label hurricanes with male names. You seemingly are offended by everything, even when you state that you don’t really understand it. Did the word “homage” pop into anyone’s head? The fact that you see so much misogyny and racism in this vid makes me wonder what’s in your hearts and heads that you immediately leap to these conclusions. Including Jenny Trout. Maybe especially Jenny Trout. Who is apparently allowed to mock, as long as it fits a politically correct agenda.

  90. kind of a rhetorical mess, but the fatcepptable idea is a good one that, while pretty well deconstructed elsewhere, bears repeating

  91. Reading this post I didn’t exactly agree with your points, but I thought ok, she’s entitled to her opinion. But I have to say, after getting to the part about race I was really shocked and appalled at the things you said. I think accusing this young girl of racisim is way out of line and the conclusions you drew seemed really incredibily forced and without merit.

  92. I can’t believe you spent all that time writing out so much just to make yourself feel better about how you dislike a song and not only want everyone to know not just why you hate it but why they shouldn’t like it either.
    You’re a hypocrite, borderline fascist, and you should just enjoy a simple song every now and then. Not everything has to be over analyzed.

  93. So maybe you should recognize that you’re putting down slimmer girls and continuing this cycle of hate on the appearance of women. If you think curvy girls are beautiful, then God bless you because I agree. And I agree slimmer girls are beautiful too. The ugliness that I see in this video is nor the larger, medium or smaller sized people. It’s the voice that I hear singing words of hate.

    PS. If you really feel empowered about your body, you don’t need the opinion of a boy to let you know what to like about yourself

  94. WHAT! My thought while I read this entire post. I don’t understand how this song can be considered so bad and offensive. So I have some points of my own.
    1. I really enjoy this song and think it gives a good message about being proud of your size. Yes maybe the lyrics don’t blatantly say this, but no one really dissects lyrics this much in real life. This song has a general message that is to be proud of yourself no matter your size.
    2. By saying this song is “racist” and is “using black women” offends me! Most videos are called out for not be diverse enough, but when a video is finally diverse (majority of the dancers being black) we still complain. Why? Because we are never happy. Also who cares what the skin color of the dancers are. Maybe they were chosen cause they were the best dancers or friends with the singer. Who’s cares it’s just a video.
    3. Oh no the singer is of an average size she can’t sing about body positivity! Excuse me when was a law passed saying people of all shapes and sizes can’t sing about being proud of your size.
    4. Lastly, this is the song we choose to knit pick. Have you listened to the radio recently. Every other song is about girls and there “big buts” and how women are just an object for men.
    In the end I fell that people have taken this song and deconstructed it to a point where you can make its say whatever you want.

  95. I think you people are ridiculously over-thinking a fun song. It’s a fun song that has NOTHING to do with what color the people are. I DO think it is a positive song for girls who “think” they’re fat. I was one of those girls many years ago and I find this song refreshing!

    1. i agree with you. this is a fun song. it made no sense to me lyric wise as many songs dont make sense to me also. if any song including this one has the right beat to it you bet i will be dancing to it lol.

  96. Let’s not start fat gatekeeping like people do with geek girls. If you want to say she’s not fat, let’s have you put forward a number. At what BMI are people allowed to consider themselves fat? What sort of fat test do they have to pass? How much do they have to weigh before they’re allowed to say that they’re fat?

    That’s not to say that she doesn’t have some problematic shit in there, but let’s take a fucking step back and remember that it’s a pop song and that this is slight progress compared to that morass of wrongness.

  97. WOW.

    SO– when did it become that every song made was suppose to cater to YOU and YOUR views? Just asking. Are you going to now deconstruct and hate on some Johnny Cash songs so you can feel better about yourself?

    OK– SO I can see some of your warped points… But to me– this song is about HER and her “mama” telling her– and HER experiences. Granted she DOES say “Skinny bitches” but says she’s playin’. Do you think that she ever had any “Skinny Bitches” be mean to her growing up? YOU bet she did.

    As a woman who has NEVER fit into the “skinny fake photoshop magazine” mold that Megan is CLEARLY referring to– I FUCKING LOVE THIS SONG and VIDEO– and you know what– it’s YOU. She’s talking about HERSELF and her experience (not skinny- not obese- not YOU or YOUR experience and the FEELINGS- YES the way you are meant to FEEL about your body when you are this size– not about the trials and tribulations of being obese) — and you’re trying to relate it to YOURSELF– and it just doesn’t relate to you and you’re pretty much crying wolf about it- and instead of seeing the quite POSITIVE message– you are making it a shitty thing because it didn’t make YOU feel better about yourself- and you know what–THAT is what is shitty. There is no ONE feel-good-for-everybodyband-aid anthem. Why the hell do you have to rain your crap on someone else’s parade. She is NOT putting other’s down– that is YOUR insecurities interpretation.

    As a feminist woman– THIS is what I hate MOST about so-called FEMINISM. Where EVERYONE must be served. This is fucking impossible. OF COURSE if you are gonna put up all these ridiculous measuring sticks– her song will come up short.

    If YOU are so damn brilliant and PC— why don’t YOU write the PERFECT feminist song AND video regarding THIS HERE TOPIC and gain my respect instead of being a somewhat lame armchair CRITIC?

    Would love to see this.


    astro– I’m all about that bass…

    1. This is a really long comment, so to sum it up: “This song isn’t supposed to cater to YOU, it’s about ME, and your writing should also cater to ME, because you’re so insecure that everything has to be about YOU, unlike me, as I am not insecure, and you need to gain my respect.”


  98. I love this thing where white people think that being called out for racist behavior is worse than actually experiencing systematic racism. Fellow white people, since it seems like we need to say it explicitly: racism is worse than being called racist, and using people as props is dehumanizing and contributes to a system of dehumanization.

  99. So, you can only sing about body acceptance if you’re really fat and not just kind of normal fat?

    Not everything is about you.

  100. Is it just me, or are we over-analyzing a pop song?

    This is a cute, hooky song, by a cute, pretty singer. The video is a fun pastiche. Of course anyone can pick holes: why aren’t the dancers fatter? (if they were, would you ask why is the singer the thinnest person in the video?); why is the singer white? (because she is!); why is her vocal style reminiscent of black singers from the 60s? (go ask the same of the late Amy Winehouse – I guess it’s music they appreciate). But really, it’s a pop video!

    The culture that looks to be offended – to find what’s “problematic” in this song/video – is just as discriminating and censorious as the media culture that says a size 2 is better than a size 10, or 14, or 40; that white is better than black; straight better than gay; young better than old. Political correctness is inhibiting and oppressive, just like any other enforced social norm.

    It’s a fun song, about finding enjoyment. It’s not promoting drugs, guns or domestic violence like so much hip hop, just one girl celebrating her (pretty standard-sized) body and life. Go ahead and find enjoyment in it!

  101. Hmmm. Interesting that you spent so much time writing about your disagreement with this song (and, frankly made some racist insults). Maybe you should just get a real job and keep your opinions to yourself, just saying. Sounds like your a frustrated wanna be who couldn’t make it. The song is great.

    1. Interesting that you spent so much time writing about your disagreement with this blog post. I have a real job. This is my real job. Sounds like someone here is a frustrated wannabe, but I’m pretty sure it’s not me.

      1. Oh, and by the way I am male (I know that Americans consider Robin a female name but it actually began as an English male name). And do love wasting my time responding to hemorrhoids . I’d call you something less attractive, but that has a purpose in life.

        1. Why do you think declaring your maleness is going to in some way enhance this conversation? Am I supposed to be more or less devastated by your comment because you’re a man? I hate to break it to you buddy, but you’re not special because you’re a dude. But stroke, stroke, stroke that ego, buddy.

    1. I’m sorry, I don’t see where in my post I said anything about everyone having to accept my opinion as fact. I’ve seen a lot of that in the comments, though.

  102. This is my first time on this site. Ms. Trout’s observations are spot-on and I’m impressed by most of the comments. When I have some spare time, I’ll be back for more! Thanks!

  103. What a great review of this song! I heard it a few times on the radio and was indifferent about it. Then I actually started paying attention to the lyrics and each time I heard it I liked it less and less. This break-down is spot on. The song combined with its video is an insult to both: skinny women and heavier women, as well as black women and white women. One thing I want to mention from a perspective of a “skinny” woman, I feel offended by being called a “skinny bitch” to boost “heavier girls” confidence. The video adds to it as well. I kinda question if I am being hated for being a size 4? I’m also wondering if I’m supposed to feel less confident because I’m skinny?
    Also I love the fact that “booty” is celebrated in this song but I personally don’t have a big one and I’m very content with it. I’ve lived in a few countries and out of all the countries I’ve been to the USA is the only one that concentrates on it so much. I’m sorry, I don’t mean to sound racist, but I do believe it’s because of already mentioned black girls’ round bottoms that are also mostly glorified by the black population. That also works for every other “overweight” girl as she also can use this argument as to think of herself as desirable to males (nothing wrong with that). The video is nothing but a cheap attempt to cater to the “overweight” women in order to appeal to a mainstream audience.

  104. Im not sure how I’ve never heard of this site before but you have just nailed everything I thought about this song. There is a version that exists in the Radio Disney realm that uses the lyrics ” boys like the girls foe the beauty they hold inside” and “im bringing beauty back, tell all them haters that, later I’ll be tweeting that” it removes almost all the negative context except the barbie doll comment

  105. I think you’re overthinking this. It’s a song about body image written by a 20 year old. It has the insight of someone just out of her teens, so maybe she should be given a break for not having the depth of Bruce Springsteen or Bob Dylan. It’s fun, it’s TOO DAMN CATCHY, but it’s hardly the subversive thing your over-analyzing turns it into.

    1. If you’re gonna write her a pass for being 20, and simultaneously mentioning Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, I have to question your musical knowledge.
      Bob Dylan wrote some profound music as a twenty year old.

  106. Jenny Trout, I think you are wrong about few things.

    1. If Meghan was to have all white back-up singers, people (i.e., you) would have complained that there was no diversity. Yes, I know the history of Western imperialism; please spare us your lectures on music history. Liberals who pride themselves on being so politically correct are always going to find some way to fault people for something. It’s a losing situation for whites. I think in this era where a lot of white singers call themselves “rappers” we have moved beyond thinking that it’s cultural appropriation when white people admire music from other cultures. To say that only certain people can appreciate music is its own bigotry. Frankly, I’m tired of all the American Idol sound-alike singers; it is refreshing to hear something different for a change.

    2. The “skinny bitches” comment is obviously one which a lot of women can relate to; she’s expressing a feeling of envy. Women like this are insecure and often feel like victims of their own genetics; they wish they had size two bodies but they don’t and have to reassure themselves that they are just fine too. The complaint is that those other women don’t know how easy they have it. To suggest that Meghan is saying skinny women are inferior is a misinterpretation.

    3. I disagree with your blaming men for these issues, which obviously comes from your admittedly feminist-skewed viewpoint. I have been told that it’s offensive to suggest that women dress to please men; they dress to impress other women. That should be no surprise since there are virtually no heterosexual men in the fashion industry. It’s women who work for women’s magazines and airbrush other women’s bodies. It’s women who shame other women for the size of their bodies.

    You blame misogyny; I suppose that can include women hating other women. But feminists have to blame men because, in your worldview, your belief in the victimhood of women, all men are wronging all women everywhere and at all times.

    If women stopped to ask men what we find attractive (again, what an offensive thing to suggest, right?), they would find that, yes, we like all kinds of women–skinny, curvy, etc–but not the models who are starving to the point that their bones are showing. So, the male gender is certainly not to blame for women starving themselves (in fact, I even wrote fashion industry reps to ask them to stop this). It’s surprising that when women get breast implants, THEN we men are to blame. It’s all too confusing which of women’s behavior we men are supposedly responsible for. (Why don’t we just say people are responsible for their own behavior and leave it at that?)

    You also fail to understand that we men deal with expectations for our gender regarding our physical appearance as well. We are supposed to be six feet tall, muscular, have a full head of hair, tanned flesh, and flash a lot of expensive items and clothes, none of which describes myself or most men, and, yes, we have to shave every day. Yes, women are shallow too. Feminists wouldn’t know anything about that because they’re too busy studying women’s issues.

    1. I’m going to go ahead and approve all the “poooooooor meeeeeeeeeeeeen” comments you threw up all over my blog, because you’re embarrassing yourself and it’s hilarious.

  107. First, I’m offended by the portrayal of heterosexual men in this video. Uh, we’re NOT represented! And what about climate change? Can we have a pseudo-intellectual conversation about that too?

    Second, while men are not featured in this video, we were not involved in the writing of it, and from what I can tell, it’s celebrated by women… and yet…it’s misogynist? There should be a feminist drinking game. Every time a feminist says Misogynist, someone takes a shot.

    1. Jason, you are just one of those people where I want to argue with you, but I’d have to start with such basic concepts that I’m bored just thinking about it, so I won’t.

  108. It’s a song. Yes, lots of the lyrics have problems, but can’t we just listen to a song with a good beat and dance along without picking out the little things. I mean, come on! She’s singing in treble?! Ya, ok, we get it! Nobody cares! It’s catchy and fun and even tho there’s some problems, whatever!

  109. Women do not have breast reconstruction after mastectomies to “Uphold a cultural standard” or to attract heterosexual men. They do it to replace a part of their body that cancer tried to steal. They had surgery to save their life. Would you say the same thing if someone lost an eye or an ear and had surgery to replace that body part? You are young. And you are showing your own prejudices and ignorance with your comment. Breasts are a body part, and if someone wants their body to feel whole again after battling cancer (or if they have been in a car accident or a fire…) and you think they are doing it to be “sexy” it just shows that you are really clueless. Not the same thing. You are spreading pure ignorance and I have the scars to prove it. Get educated before you write about that again. You have a lot to learn.

    1. I know there are a ton of comments on this post, and it would be ridiculous to ask you to go find two specific ones, but I clarified what I meant in those statements to other people, so I don’t want to leave your comment hanging (I think I missed someone else’s and now I can’t find it). The way I originally phrased that part is too simple, and I’m sorry for that. My point there wasn’t, “Oh, women who do this are vain and do it for just that reason,” but to say that the desire to look “normal” stems from our expectations of what a normal body would look like. I really do think the same of replacing eyes or losing ears. It doesn’t make the people making that choice wrong, it’s just an example of how we view bodies. I’m not “prejudiced” against women who have reconstructive surgery– I even stand up for women who choose elective surgeries in this post– and I would have it, if something like that happened to me. But the mechanism behind what we perceive as a “whole” body is what I was trying to address. I mean, if you lose a finger or a toe, generally people don’t try to have that replaced or hooked up with a prosthesis. But if we lose part of our face, we replace it, because we put more value on it in our minds. We all have an ingrained idea of what a man looks like, what a woman looks like, what a human body in general “should” look like, and that’s what drives our emotional decisions about what parts we fix and what parts we ignore. Like I said, it’s not a judgement against people who have anything done in a reconstructive or modification sense. It’s just an observation that I made clumsily. I’ll address it in a longer apology/explanation on the blog later this week.

  110. The singer is so comfortable with herself and her size that you can totally see her spanx and corsets under her modest garb.
    Come on, girl, own that gut. Let it wiggle, wiggle.

  111. To clairify, I said you were Prejudice – to pre-judge, a preconceived opinion that is not based on actual experience. Including prejudging the reason that women choose to have reconstructive surgery. I understand that you were speaking from a place of ignorance. I said you were Ignorant because it is clear that you do not have knowledge of the experience of losing a breast, or any other body part I suppose, which is why you can be so glib. No one elects to have breast cancer. You Can educate yourself about the experience by respecting and learning from those who have had the experience. And I hope that you do before your next post and take this as a chance to educate others. I hope you never have to know, firsthand, how truly offensive your “clumsy” statements come across. It is not a prejudice worth defending. I wish you the wisdom and knowledge that will help you gain in understanding as you prepare your next post. If you gain more real knowledge of this experience and share it you could make a positive difference.

  112. Oh my God! What a bunch of crybaby bullshit! The only thing that was more of a waist of time than you writing this article, is when I read the better part of it. Another classic case of over-thinking something and turning it into a huge problem that everyone should be offended by. It’s a song. A catchy song. And enjoyable song. Nothing more. If you’re offended by it, sorry about your luck. Who ever promised you that you’d never get offended in life? No one promised me either, but I don’t go digging for hidden meaning and subliminal messages to be offended by. Live you life for pete’s sake and stop worrying about stupid shit. There’s a whole lot more out there to enjoy than there is to be offended by. At least that’s my experience!

    1. I can’t believe you don’t realize how dumb it is to leave a comment about how offended that you are that someone else is offended about something and shouldn’t be because it offends you.

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