Monday, August 11, 2014

Not "All About That Bass"

Recently, a music video I had heard about popped up on my Facebook feed. I had known about this song for a week or so, and was happy to hear that it was about body positivity. I hadn't listened to it yet because I didn't catch the name of the song, but it popped up over a social media site again so I decided to take a listen. It's called "All About That Bass" by Meghan Trainor.

I won't deny, it is incredibly catchy. I've been dancing around the house and singing the chorus for an hour. The overall message is nice, and I agree with it – it's completely ok not to be a size zero – but in doing that, there were a few problems. I know I'm nitpicking, but unless I express these thoughts, it's just going to keep bothering me.

First of all, there seems to be a bit of animosity towards thin people with the use of the term "skinny bitches." My first thought was, "Was that really necessary?" I had to listen to it multiple times and then look up the lyrics online just to be sure that I had heard correctly. Instead of what I thought it meant, the actual lyrics were,
"Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches, "Hey!"
No, I'm just playing I know you think you're fat,
But I'm here to tell you that,
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top."
Now that's better, with the real message being that even skinny girls who think they're fat should know that they're "perfect from the bottom to the top." But the first two lines are still a bit concerning. Even if the phrase was "just playing," it does nothing good and overall takes away from the actual message. The truth is, a lot of people are insecure about how they look, no matter what size they are, and hearing derogatory language attached to a certain body type sets off an instant reaction. It ignores possible mental health issues, and can even encourage eating disorders. It wouldn't take away from the song to not include those words, so why use them at all?

I used get comments about how I was "too skinny," especially during my years of swimming. It simply wasn't possible for me to gain weight with as much exercise as I was getting and the speed of my metabolism at the time. I'd eat and eat, but I'd still get comments like, "Eww, I can see your ribs, are you like, anorexic or something?" At the same time, other girls that swam even faster than me and worked out even more just couldn't lose the weight. Both body types were equally healthy though.

Comments on how "thin" I am still trigger me, and make me eat more in order to compensate for the insufficiency. It's not healthy, and over the course of the last year or so, I did start putting on more weight as a result of mental health issues and medication. I'm certainly not a size zero anymore, and I'm ok with it. I'm not necessarily proud of it, because to me I'm pretty average, and I don't see the point of celebrating average-ness. I personally don't even own a scale, but I like to gauge my size based on how I feel inside. I take action when I start feeling uncomfortable, but still eat whatever I want. And to anyone that tells me that I need to gain weight, I'm not going to sacrifice my health so you can feel better about yours.

If you look at the singer, she looks glowing and radiant. Her body is well balanced just because that's what her body shape is.The fact is, if I try to gain weight, it just pools around my middle and makes me feel icky. It certainly doesn't fill out evenly everywhere. Just as I'm naturally small, there are people that are naturally larger, and that's fine. Still, just a precaution, if it gets to the point where the problem is obesity, there is definitely a need for things to change in order to be healthy. Just as "not eating enough" can be a mental health problem, "uncontrollably eating too much" can be as well.

Secondly, there's a line that says, "Boys they like a little more booty to hold at night." Honestly this part was also quite unnecessary, because if you're endorsing body and self confidence, why should it rely on anyone else's opinion, at all, ever? You don't need anyone else's approval to feel good about yourself. Furthermore, I'm pretty sure female athletes and such are just fine and proud of their bodies without having to have a lot of curves that are supposedly male-approved.

If you watch the video on Youtube, you'll notice that the hate war in the comments is atrocious. Both sides are equally vicious, and it just goes to show that size doesn't dictate personality, and vice versa. Bottom line is, do what feels right to you. You own self image depends only on how much you accept yourself, and has absolutely nothing to do with the opinions of the people around you. If you work hard for an athletic body that's fine, and having a naturally thicker body is just as good. Just don't put down someone else's body for being different. ◊

UPDATE (09/21/14): I stumbled upon this genius blog post a few days ago, which delves deeper into the issues of the song. I highly recommend you read it.

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