Forgive me for gushing—and I’m like two months late because I don’t listen to the radio much, but hit singer Meghan Trainor is SO CUTE! Do you not agree? I think she’s the kind of person that would be a blast to hang out with, so it pains me to say this… Megs, I know what you were trying to do was make me feel good about my pear-shaped proportions, by telling me that “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” and likening my ample lower section to those nice, low, booming base notes…but you failed! (From now on, I will address YOU, the reader, because I don’t think Meghan Trainor will read this or care.)
I’ll tell you why I don’t fall for Mod City Magazine’s write-up on this as an “empowerment” song, but first I want to highlight the bit I really do like:
“I see the magazine workin’ that Photoshop
We know that s**t ain’t real C’mon now, make it stop”
THIS is a great message, and one that the media and marketing people have been struggling with. It’s hard for them to show “real” and representative models when the sales numbers show that many men and women still want to purchase things displayed by ultra thin women. SOMEONE has to break the cycle, but do you think it’s going to be the advertisers if they lose money? I mean, that is someone’s job on the line! So here’s the sad news: as cute as her whole song and dance are, there are a couple lines that make me question if the song can do any real good for the psyches of our young ladies.
“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
And all the right junk in all the right places”
“Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says, “Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”
She can shake it like she’s supposed to do? Be a good girl and shake your booty like you’re supposed to. Bit weird, isn’t it? Also, is it ok with you that they’re apparently chasing you for your boom boom? Are you settling for that? Gah!
Oh, and don’t worry about your size, because boys will be happy to take your extra helping of booty to bed with them—SAYS HER MOM! Thanks mom, I can always count on you for sage advice. 😉
So look, I agree with you that this might be a step in the right direction—having a hit song that calls the advertisers out on their contrived beauty standards is pretty cool, but what would be even better was if there was a song about a woman’s intrinsic worth, but that’s a big vocabulary word for today’s music industry. As my friend Ty Gibson tells it in his book, A God Named Desire, the most frequently used words in modern songs are “oooh”, “baby” and “yeah”.
Lots of girls will hear these lyrics and feel like it’s a message of self-worth and empowerment, like some of the articles are telling you. It’s not. On the surface it’s like “love yourself”, but these lyrics still show that this “bass” girl is still secretly a slave to thinking of herself as beautiful BECAUSE there are still plenty of boys who will chase her. So what if there aren’t? Would she be less beautiful if there were no boys? God doesn’t think so, and he’s the ulitmate beholder, creator–first and final word on what’s beautiful.
The truest way to self-worth is by understanding your “God-worth”. I want our girls to believe (and get pumped about) the knowledge that we are all enough, independent of how many boys chase our boom booms or lack thereof. We are unspeakably beautiful because we are made in God’s image (Gen. 1:27).