Is Meghan Trainor Anti-Feminist?
You've heard it before - this track was unavoidable for most of last (and this) year. 'All About That Bass' was meant to be a feminist anthem. Telling girls to love themselves and to not feel the pressure of society's definitions of beauty, etc, but the way the song went about it was all wrong.
"I hope ['All About That Bass'] helps girls love themselves more, because they're adorable. Women too," Trainor told Glamour.
Sure, on the surface it looks like Trainor accomplishes it by proudly singing about her curves, until you take a closer look. The issue is that she is linking everything back to pleasing men. She's basically saying that girls can be happy with themselves only when men deem them beautiful - regardless of what the girls personally think of themselves. People criticized the song for its skinny-shaming (which is a totally different issue in itself) but even more appalling is that Trainor's track is linking self-worth with what men think of you.
A recent article in from Mic explains it perfectly. "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night," Trainor sings, explaining why it's OK not to be a "skinny bitch." It's OK not to be a "skinny bitch," but only because some boys prefer you that way. The piece in Mic also brings up Trainor's follow-up track, "Dear Future Husband." Trainor's lyrics advocate outdated gender roles ("Cause if you'll treat me right / I'll be the perfect wife / Buying groceries"), seeking self-worth based on men's opinions ("If you wanna get that special lovin' / Tell me I'm beautiful each and every night") and, of course, confirming the idea that all women are crazy, emotional creatures ("You gotta know how to treat me like a lady / Even when I'm acting crazy"). But those who defended Trainor claimed that it was just a song and shouldn't be taken so seriously. The video reinforces these gender roles, with men being judged based on their money and strength and women should be showered with jewelry and flowers. And after all of that, Trainor still doesn't redeem herself when it comes to in-person appearances.
From the beginning she has claimed to be the voice for girls struggling with their self confidence, but she doesn't seem to understand what true self-worth is. "I've been in that dark place and I've been sad about my looks and my insecurities," she told Style Collective. "Nothing really changed for me until this ['All About That Bass'] video came out and I got all the positive comments." Like in her lyrics, Trainor is again basing her happiness off of other people's opinions of her. She can't just be happy with herself because she is worth it, she needs other people to tell her she is worth it first.
To make matters worse, in a recent interview with ET, Trainor said, "I wasn't strong enough to have an eating disorder. I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that's not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, 'Ma, can you make me a sandwich? Like, immediately.'"
This is a classic example of Trainor's confusion about insecurity; anorexia isn't weak or strong, it's a mental illness and certainly not something women should aspire to. It's often not a choice, and its not something you just decide to do one day. Personally, I never listen to her music and I have never seen her on television so she doesn't really affect me, but for all of the young girls out there who are listening to her and think that beauty is based off of how others view you - she needs to change her ways!