Beverly Godfrey column: Not all about my bass
Meghan Trainor's song "All About That Bass" has been coming on my car radio a lot lately as I drive my kids around. As a woman, and especially as the mother of two girls, I'm happy when pop culture promotes self-love and acceptance. I'd be happy ...
Meghan Trainor’s song “All About That Bass” has been coming on my car radio a lot lately as I drive my kids around.
As a woman, and especially as the mother of two girls, I’m happy when pop culture promotes self-love and acceptance. I’d be happy to think girls would stop worrying about their bodies and focus on their intelligence, education, friendships, physical and mental health.
But that isn’t what this song is doing. Some lyrics:
“Yeah, my mama, she told me don’t worry about your size. She said, ‘Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.’ ” This song of supposed empowerment sends the same, tired message that the most important thing for a woman should be whether men find her attractive. That’s the definition of sexualizing women’s bodies.
The song insults skinny women, too, as if that’s the only way a heavy woman can feel good about herself. In doing so, it disregards the sad and serious problem of eating disorders, which some thin women might be suffering from. Or not. Some women are thin simply because of a low-calorie diet and healthy activity level. Either way, it’s hardly something to hate someone for.
The title of the song confounds me, too. Is the “bass” her “behind”? She’s “all about” her buttocks? Is that what we’re saying?
Knowing there’s a problem with childhood obesity in America makes the issue all the more complicated. Children will naturally grow into different body shapes, but we do want to make sure they’re healthy, not gaining too much weight because they eat french fries every day at school lunch.
But we don’t want them aiming for the impossible and unnatural, either, taking their cues from the constant images of
Photoshop-enhanced celebrities (another point the song brings up that I agree with, actually).
Still, when the song comes on, instead of changing the station, I use it as an opportunity for another of my Mom Lectures - a long and growing series.
“Your body is your own. It’s for you to live in and use for your own life. It’s not something you’re crafting for the pleasure of men.
“You can find a partner who loves you no matter if you’re fat or skinny or in-between, and you can grow into an adult woman who uses her sexuality on her own terms.
“The path to happiness and loving yourself is not paved with the crushed souls of all the people who are different than you.”
That’s what their mama told them. Maybe they can work it into some song lyrics some day.
Beverly Godfrey is a News Tribune copy editor and columnist. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org .