Meghan Trainor burst onto the music scene in 2014 with her successful hit “All About That Bass.” Critics praised her body positive lyrics. But what about the song exactly was body positive?
The answer, in brutal truth, is not much. While the lyrics say, “mama said don’t worry about your size,” which is off to a great start, but they ultimately fall short when they’re followed by, “she said boys like a little more booty to hold at night.” While the introductory lyrics almost hint towards something of self-love, she is ultimately saying to only like yourself because a boy likes you that way. This message, to celebrate your body for the approval of a man is indicative of a larger problem of Trainor’s- internalized misogyny.
Internalized misogyny is the act of unintentionally elevating the status of men through demeaning the value of women in society. This is indicative in Trainor’s lyrics such as, “I got that boom boom that all the boys chase / and all the right junk in all the right places.” More so, this is evident in Trainor’s referring to more petite women as “skinny b*tches.” Body positivity and self-love aren’t exclusive to women of a certain size.
Not all women of petite stature got there naturally. Trainor said in an interview with Entertainment Tonight that she “was not strong enough to have an eating disorder.” In saying this, Trainor simultaneously glorified eating disorders, while shaming petite frames and promoting a curvier figure. Trainor is a walking contradiction.
Fast forward to 2015, with the release of “Dear Future Husband.” She received extreme feminist backlash to the production and the content of the music video. Trainor is portrayed in a sexist, domesticated, Stepford wife fashion. One person tweeted, “I’m having trouble articulating in 140 characters or less how brutally sexist/anti-feminist Meghan Trainor’s ‘Dear Future Husband’ song is.
According to Billboard, Trainor does not consider herself a feminist. “I don’t consider myself a feminist, but I’m down for my first opportunity to say something to the world to be so meaningful,” she said. “If you asked me, ‘What do you want to say?’ it would be, ‘Love yourself more.’”
Believing in equality for ALL sexes is the first step to loving yourself, Meghan. While “Dear Future Husband,” she tells Billboard, is about the requirements for a boyfriend and how, “girl’s need to be treated better.” It’s also a lesson on gender equality, which is the precise definition of feminism. The music video portrays living as a housewife as a negative and demeaning profession, when in actuality, there’s nothing wrong with it, as long as it’s how you actually want to live.
The unfortunate reality of the “Dear Future Husband” music video is that it’s just as offensive towards men. In an argument, Trainor sings, “Even if I was wrong / you know I’m never wrong / why disagree / why disagree?” The message here is abundantly clear- that Trainor wants men to be submissive and go without a say in a relationship. This kind of retrograde relationship expectations are harmful, particularly to children singing “Dear Future Husband” at school or on the playgrounds. The song teaches them that men are meant to be husbands, and women are meant to be wives, eroding the idea of people can be whomever they want to be.
It is now 2016, and I’d like to think that Trainor has matured and learned from her mistakes. With the release of “Me Too,” many critics have said that she is promoting self-love now, regardless of anyone else’s opinion. I disagree. Ask yourself, is Trainor overcompensating for previous mistakes?
“If I was you/ I’d wanna be me too.” This is STILL devaluing other women, and seeing them as competition, as if your value is only worth somebody else’s jealousy. Seeing women as competition, for men, jobs, or anything, is a form of internalized misogyny. While promoting self-acceptance is an excellent step in a career littered with anti-feminist and body shaming sentiments, it is still not enough to make amends for previous offenses. Trainor has a long way to go before becoming the body-positive and feminist icon many people have wanted her to be.
Meghan, if you’re reading this, it’s time to do better.