I need to discuss something very serious. It’s about body image and women and pop culture.
We live in a society where we are bombarded with images of how women should look. More recently, a variety of songs claiming to promote positive body image have hit the radio.
Meghan Trainor’s summer jam, “All About that Bass” has been praised among many for containing a body-positive message. “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top,” she says in the song. Fine, OK, great message. But other lyrics in the song don’t live up to the whole “love yourself no matter what” idea.
“My momma told me don’t worry about your size. She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
“I’m bringing booty back. Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that.”
According to these lyrics, girls that are built with a smaller frame are somehow literally and metaphorically, less than girls who have more curves. By insisting “boys like” this body, it is implied that boys won’t like girls who are thin. I think it’s great that the artist is proud of her body (She is, by the way, adorable), but it’s unfortunate she has to diminish the worth of another group of people to build up her own argument that her body is beautiful.
In fact, it seems that a lot of music perpetuates this same kind of childish nonsense. Even more less believable of an argument is that of Nicki Minaj, who recently spoke about her raunchy song, “Anaconda”, which uses snippets of Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s hit “Baby Got Back.”
Far be it from me to compare Trainor’s hit to Nicki’s, because in my opinion Trainor’s is WAY more positive and well-written than Nicki’s. But we have a similar kind of justification for negative and insulting comments towards other females all in the name of self-love. In the video, we see Nicki Minaj dancing around provocatively, showing off her debatably fake butt. After she raps a bit about her various sexual partners, she also declares “I have a big fat ass, he loves this fat ass,” followed by “F*** you if you skinny.”
You can imagine my shock and frustration when she later said in an interview: “I wanted to reinstate something because of the shift in pop culture, even hip hop men are really glorifying the less curvy body. I wanted to say hey ladies, you’re beautiful.”
- Where in hip hop are men saying this? Because I can’t think of one song. I can, however, think of plenty that speak of a woman’s curves, or “junk in the trunk.” This isn’t my main point, though. Because it shouldn’t be a competition!
- How is “F*** you if you skinny” a way to say “Hey ladies, you’re beautiful.” This to me, is complete crap. She should have just said “I wanted to get across the message that “Hey Ladies, I am better than you and more desirable to the opposite sex because of my body shape.”
How many of Nicki’s fans, or scratch that, the public that listen to the American top 40 hits being played on the radio, are skinny girls? The teasing in the schoolyard goes both ways. I saw girls get teased for being overweight, and I saw the same kind of attacks on girls who were “sticks.” For everyone out there that thinks it’s a compliment or a self-esteem boost to tell someone “You’re a stick!” or “Eat a sandwich”, you’re wrong.
If you’re so secure in your self-image, why do you have to put someone down for having a different body shape? Why can’t there be a song that celebrates all body types, or celebrates one without hating on the other? It’s like people are saying “I love myself and my size cuz I’m bigger and beautiful, but you’re ugly because you’re skinny.” Celebrating beauty should be a positive thing, and it makes me angry that these messages are portrayed as such when they really contain back-handed insults about someone who is different. These comments are just drumming up more competition, more unnecessary hurling of insults. And what’s worse is that the majority of the public is dressing it up as “Loving yourself.”
Try again. If you are TRULY proud of who and what you are, then stop declaring others who are different as being less. Not every boy is attracted to a single shape. Opinions and preferences vary, and there are many types of people. We are all women, and we shouldn’t be competing and hating each other over something so superficial. Let’s stop the BS and call it what it is.