Posted in Soapbox

Am I Really All About That Bass?

pop-art-bassSometimes I come late to the party on song lyrics. As a kid, there were some humorous misunderstandings of lyrics…wrapped up like a douche? don’t fear the reefer? (and I love my husband’s just like a one-winged dove…) It can make for an interesting twist to a song, for sure.

While the internet has certainly made it easier to find the lyrics, the meanings can still take me a while, too. Of course, songs—like any other art—can have various interpretations, but sometimes they’re pretty obvious (bang bang into the room anyone?) Occasionally I hear a song one way, though, and then on the umpteenth hearing of it, something hits me differently.

Such is the case with Meghan Trainor’s song, “All About That Bass.”

When the song came out, I loved it right away. For one, my husband is a bass player—and I AM all about That bass. And of course the song’s music is a whole lotta fun. But I also loved the message of supporting bodies with a little more “bass” on them, too. I’m in favor of anything that helps push back on the ridiculously intense message to girls and women to be stick thin—and not because I have my own “bass”—but because it simply needs to stop. Body image is a sore spot for countless women. Too many girls are starving themselves or sticking their fingers down their throats in an attempt to be thin, and the media continues perpetuating that “thin is in.” And as a society, we just seem to go along for the ride…because if it wasn’t working, the media wouldn’t keep pounding it so hard.

 

tomato-booty
from our garden a couple years ago…aka “booty tomato”

 

Recently my husband made “That Bass” his ringtone, so it’s been a bit of an earworm to me of late. And it was with a recent ring of his phone that something dawned on me. (I told you I can be slow.)

The one lyric I already knew I wasn’t a fan of was Trainor’s reference to the “skinny bitches.” After all, if we’re talking about accepting different body types, then it’s got to go both ways. Though I have never, ever, ever had the problem of being “too skinny” (or any kind of skinny at all), I know that some women do indeed have a hard time—for various reasons, including simple genetics—being what is considered average weight. And getting teased for being skinny hurts just as much as getting teased for being heavy. (This is another great instance where women should be kinder to one another for everyone’s sake.)

 

light-flare-bass

 

But hearing the song bubble up from my husband’s phone triggered a realization about another lyric from the song. When I heard the line “momma she told me ‘don’t worry about your size.’ She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” I thought WAIT! The message is still about what the boys like. Other lyrics reinforce that body acceptance is still “all about the men”:

Yeah it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
All the right junk in all the right places

I may be a little slow on the uptake, but once I really gave the song a bit more than a passing thought, I couldn’t help but see that the song is still sending the message that a woman’s body is defined, at least in part, by a man’s approval.

And that’s not okay.

 

blue-bass

 

Should women want to be healthy and fit—to be our best selves physically? Of course. But not because it’s what the boys like. We should want it for ourselves. And the goal shouldn’t be some unrealistic ideal created by Disney and Calvin Klein, but one where you simply feel good in your own skin.

And while the message of guys saying “more is okay by us” helps to battle against the pressure to be, as Trainor says, a “stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,” the message needs to go further. Far enough that we are who we are because WE like us as we are.

Sometimes when I write a post and my husband reads it, he’ll let me know that it didn’t really feel like the intended audience included my male readers—which is probably the case here. HOWEVER…I hope you guys don’t feel that way because you are part of the solution.

As the mom of a boy, one of my goals is to raise him knowing the true value of women—and that value doesn’t reside in our bodies. I want him to see gender equality as something that men should care deeply about, too—to understand it as a goal for all humanity because it is an inherent right for all.

So…I guess I’m not all about that bass after all.

Though I still enjoy the song, its message falls short. “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top”…well…no, no—it’s not. There’s no such thing. And you’re still amazing.

 

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Author:

Writer. Blogger. Storyteller. Juggle Struggler. Cynical Optimist. Work in progress.

9 thoughts on “Am I Really All About That Bass?

  1. It’s always such a let-down
    when songs we love end up
    having lyrics that we don’t. I
    remember when our friend
    Kathleen had “Pumped Up
    Kicks” as her ringtone, and
    I, as the Debbie Downer, had
    to tell her what the song was
    all about. Ouch! I didn’t know
    all the lyrics to “All About the
    Bass,” but now that I do, I’m
    firmly in your camp. As a
    teenager and into my 20’s,
    I subscribed to Seventeen
    Magazine and Glamour and
    even Cosmo. But as the years
    went on, their covers began
    to reflect the very thing you
    are talking about: how we
    should define ourselves via
    men. “What he wants” began
    to dominate all of the covers
    of these magazines and still
    do, and it makes me very sad
    for the current generation. And
    the saddest thing? There are
    grown women working at these
    places that support these articles
    and covers, just like they support
    the Photo-shopping of photos
    to make thin women look even
    thinner. Okay, you can tell
    this is a sore spot. I like the
    idea of tackling the issue by
    raising conscientious males.
    Need to figure out where my
    own son is on this next time
    we are driving somewhere, which
    seems to be the best place
    for real convos with a 16 year
    old : ) Thanks for the food for
    thought!!!

    xo Suzanne

    1. Suzanne…let’s hear it for van conversations! That’s when a lot of important, real stuff seems to surface.

      Our younger generation does have intense scrutiny focused on the physical, for sure. But I can also hear a rumbling…a rumbling that is leading–perhaps–to an earthshaking change in what it means to do anything “like a girl.” I’m hoping and praying that this up and coming generation of women–and men–work to achieve gender equality. It is indeed in their grasp.

  2. Meghan Trainors songs (especially this one) drive me crazy. My nine year old daughter is really into her music. They are all so catchy and the lyrics seem ok, but then, like you said, once you actually read the lyrics, they take on a whole new meaning. I just recently googled the lyrics to “Dear Future Husband” because I thought I heard something inappropriate, turns out she was only eluding to giving head, but either way, I feel like the base message is positive, telling girls they should expect their future husband to treat them right, but at the same time, it’s also telling girls their future happiness lies in marriage and depends on their husbands buying them flowers and diamonds. Ok, end Meghan Trainor rant. Overall, I’m a big lyric googler, there is just so much negative music out there being costumed as something it’s not, like dint even get me started on “Take Me to Church” by Hozier. I really wanted to like that one… I think this may have inspired a blog post.

      1. In the song she says “I’ll be sleeping on the left side of the bed. Open doors for me and you might get some…kisses” However in the radio when I heard it, she makes a sound that says like head. Cue the next line, “don’t have a dirty mind” I’ll check out the link on Hozier.and get back to you.

      2. I read the article. Then I watched the video. Honestly had I not read the article before I watched the video I would have been quite confused. The song is about hetero love and he has a video about gay men being killed for being gay. To me without explanation, it would come across as anti-gay. As a Christian parent, when my daughter came home singing it, I thought this is cool, a Christian song on mainstream radio, then I googled the lyrics and told her she could never listen to it because it was inappropriate as we should not worship any person and make any person an idol. I know I tend to put extra emphasis on music and what I deem appropriate for my daughter, maybe more than I should, but I really think it’s important. This song just happens to touch on a different post of what I consider inappropriate music than the others, ie, sex, drugs and bad words.

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