I’ve read some feminists critiques of this song as well as some anti-feminist critiques. I have to say that I disagree with all of them. I love this song and it’s body-positive message and I will enjoy listening to it no matter how other people try to twist it whatever negative thing they think it is.
When the music video for this song first popped up on my Facebook feed, I was sure that this was a feminist parody of something. I, in no way, thought that the mainstream media would be showing a fuller figured woman singing about how great it is to be a fuller figured woman. Once I realized that this was a “real” song, by a “real” artist, I liked it even more. Meghan Trainor was making no apologies for her body, she was proudly talking about the advantages to being a larger woman. This is what we need. More people claiming their bodies and not being afraid to sing about them.
But other people have issues with the lyrics. And honestly, I don’t care. I think most of the issues are overblown or complete misunderstandings. Some are simple non-issues that people who are generally anti-women have with the song because no one wants to see a big girl that’s not crying and eating ice cream because she’s ashamed of herself. So let’s go through the lyrics and dissect exactly what some people think is wrong with this song.
Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
Some people like to claim that this song shames skinny women. But really, what they’re saying is that talking about fat bodies negatively impacts thin bodies while talking about thin bodies all the goddamn time is just normal. Just because a girl is proud to be big doesn’t mean that there’s something wrong with being small. And honestly? Cry me a river.
Mainstream media is all about one body type and it’s the size two. One song comes out saying, hey, I’m not a size two and that’s okay, and everyone is acting like it’s the end of the fucking world. If you find this song so shaming to your conventionally attractive body, please console yourself with the fact that we live in a world where people regularly call Jennifer Lawrence fat.
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places
I’ve heard people say that these lyrics are problematic because it implies that women’s bodies are acceptable because men accept them. I have two responses to this:
1. Meghan Trainor was writing a song, not a dissertation on women’s bodies. She only mentioned one aspect and just because only one is mentioned doesn’t mean that that’s all there is. And so what if she mentioned that some boys like her booty? She’s a sexual person that dates men. Having the people that she is sexually attracted to be sexually attracted to her is a win/win.
2. This is pop music and most of it revolves around male/female relationships. I would love for the genre to stretch and challenge itself more than anyone, as this is primarily what I listen to. But I accept that in pop music the majority of songs sung by women are going to be about men and vice versa.
I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon now, make it stop
Does someone want to comment on how this is problematic? Cause it’s not. Photoshop is such bullshit even the creators of South Park did an episode on it. This is one of the great lines that people just gloss over because they want to talk about how this song is bad. But look at this! This is beautiful and true!
If you got beauty beauty, just raise ’em up
‘Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top
The anti-woman vlogger I listened to said that this is a dangerous thing to say because no woman’s body is perfect and telling women that their bodies are perfect will cause them to stop trying to improve themselves. I have never heard a bigger load of bullshit in my entire life. The bodily perfection that society currently demands is unattainable. You can never be thin enough, you can never be pretty enough, you can never be young enough, you can never have big enough boobs.
No one should be encouraging young women or women in general to chase after photoshopped images and dedicate themselves to surgery and self-hated, all in the name of “improving themselves”. Women’s bodies are fine, even if they’re a little bigger than their BMI, even if their nose is a little crooked, even if their breasts aren’t the same size as an exotic dancer’s. Anyone that tells you otherwise is full of shit.
Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
People want to argue this point because it once again supposedly reinforces that girls’ bodies are okay because men like them. But this line right here is actually just truth. According to science, men prefer larger women to what women think that men prefer. Studies have shown that boys like a little more booty. And do you want to argue with science?
You know I won’t be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
People have problem with this line because they find it shaming to thin women. But this line is not really talking about thin women in general. It’s talking about stick figure, surgically enhanced women that look like dolls. Your average thinner woman does not fit this bill. And here’s the truth about this; this line is not complimentary to these kinds of women, but guess what, these types of women are already lauded by the mainstream to be the most desirable and attractive and they don’t need Meghan Trainor to pat them on the back.
No one really wants to talk about thin privilege, but I’m going to. Attractive people have advantages in life that we non-conventionally-attractive people do not. And when one group has an entire media behind them telling them that they’re the best and everyone should emulate them or be ugly, I’m not going to exactly feel sorry for them when one goddamn song dares to say that another body type is awesome. No privileged group should be taken seriously when they claim discrimination the first time someone pokes fun at them.
Now, is this line exactly bringing people together? No, it’s not. But hold on one goddamn second, because we’re about to.
So if that’s what you’re into then go ahead and move along
I find this line very helpful for girls. So often they get caught up on the body type that one person or one society likes and think that if they don’t fit it, they will never find a mate. But the truth is that there are lots of people out there and some of them will like your big booty. It takes a strong person to look at someone that rejects them for having a body type they didn’t choose and can’t completely control and say, move along. I’ll find someone that does appreciate me.
I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
People had a major problems with this line, but they shouldn’t because it’s followed by these lines:
No, I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat
This is a nod to the fact that no woman is happy with her body. No one is allowed to be when photoshops rules the world and reminds all of us that we’re still not perfect. Women who are of a normal size or even below a normal size still believe that they’re overweight and unattractive and need to change themselves. And that’s exactly what the diet and beauty industry want you to think. Because they can make money off of people that are searching for something they’re never going to find. They can’t make money off of self-acceptance.
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
In this bridge, Meghan is talking to the aforementioned “skinny bitches” as well as her big girls. Everyone one has a beautiful body and everyone needs to be celebrated and that’s what this song is about. When it comes to body acceptance, everybody needs to be accepted. Not just the thin ones that society encourages and sometimes demands.
Overall, I find this song empowering, uplifting and fun. Is it the perfect body-acceptance feminist anthem that everyone can agree on? Fuck no. Because there will be nothing that 100% of feminists agree on and that’s just the reality of the situation. In the end though, this is a pop song. It’s great to dance to and gets stuck in your head. That’s all it’s meant to really do. The body positive imagery and tone are just a bonus.