I’m writing today about something that’s been on my mind for a few months now. If you cast your mind back to the infuriatingly catchy Meghan Trainor song – ‘All About That Bass’, there was something with the song that troubled me slightly and I wanted to explore it really, and see if anyone had any thoughts.
Obviously, the song was positive in the sense it was employing thoughts on body positivity, with lyrics such as ‘All the right junk in all the right places, I see the magazines working that Photoshop, We know that shit ain’t real, Come on now, make it stop’ and of course this is wonderful!
However, my issue comes with the song a little bit later on with the lyrics ‘Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches’. It’s in the promotion of body acceptance for larger women, that the skinny women are pushed under the bus.
Personally, when I was younger I was very skinny and was often faced with comments such as ‘OMG look at your ribs!’ and ‘are you anorexic or something’ and other insensitive comments such as these. I had a healthy and regular diet, yet never gained weight, and these comments did affect my self-confidence to some extent. I’m not here in any way to suggest that slimmer women are facing the same systematic abuse and erasure that plus-sized women, (or even averagely sized women!!) face, but my question is this: in raising up the downtrodden larger women, should we tear down the naturally slimmer framed woman?
Meghan Trainor’s song does follow with ‘No, I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat, But I’m here to tell you that, Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top’ which does change the meaning slightly. However, the ‘skinny bitches’ is still slightly troubling to me.
Again, in Nicki Minaj’s song ‘Anaconda’ she sings ‘Fuck them skinny bitches,
Fuck them skinny bitches in the club’. Now Nicki herself is a wonderful image for girls everywhere, with her mantra being to stay in school, and never depend on a man for anything to all her young fans – and to note that I love this woman. Which is why this troubles me, do thin women have to bear the brunt of the masculine gaze and internalized misogyny which has torn down the larger woman? Minaj is well versed in feminist rhetoric yet includes this in her song.
Minaj’s song does take on another level, as a woman of colour her acceptance and love for her curvier body is acknowledging the different body types of black women and the usually associated curvier figure. In this sense, Minaj has more right to criticise if referring to the cultural appropriation of skinnier white women of black culture and figures (see Miley Cyrus and Kylie Jenner). However, assuming it isn’t referring to race, as it isn’t directly referenced throughout the song, Minaj’s ‘fuck the skinny bitches’ is troubling.
Body positivity and the rise of plus-sized models is amazing and I support it wholeheartedly, but having issues with my self-esteem when I was younger, these poster girls of body positivity for the larger women should continue their amazing work without attacking other women. Skinnier women don’t have any sort of a similar struggle as larger women, and press and media depict beauty as being thinness. However, this isn’t necessarily the thinner woman’s fault – and should we work on breaking this rhetoric of attacking the thinner woman and more criticise the creators of this image through the twisted male gaze in media?
It’s easy to attack society’s ‘ideal’ but it doesn’t solve the issue at hand, it may be an attack on the skinnier women who have personally attacked and belittled these larger women, but this cruelty does extend to the thinner women – perhaps moreso in adolescent when comments are more cruel.
But in conclusion – body positivity should be positivtiy to all body types, it’s hard to achieve self love and larger women have it the hardest, but women struggle throughout their lives to love their body. Men and the media are troubling enough in the body type of ‘beauty’, so please other women – don’t drag down other women to achieve the love of plus size women!