The Blog

In Defense of Meghan Trainor

The first time I heard “All About That Bass,” I was inspired. Here I was, sitting in the front seat of my family’s minivan, watching my forty-year-old mother rock out to an incredible beat. She was singing along and when I strained to hear the words, I was moved.

“Yeah, it’s pretty clear I ain’t no size two,” Meghan crooned in her wonderfully malleable voice. I couldn’t believe it. A mainstream singer on the hottest pop station in DC was celebrating her curviness. It was entirely different, wonderful, and… feminist!

Recently, an article from the blogger called “Ambitiously Living” was circulating around my Facebook newsfeed. It was titled “Why I Will Never Respect Meghan Trainor.” Being a fan, I clicked.

In the article, the unnamed author claims Trainor is going about feminism all wrong. “You have manipulated thousands of adolescent teenagers into a twisted ideology of positive body image,” she says to Trainor. As it continues, she goes on to discuss how, in her mind, Trainor’s music essentially damages young women’s body images.

And here’s where I’d like to disagree. In my mind, Meghan Trainor is an incredible role model and a modern feminist icon. Every argument this author put forward is, in my humble opinion, petty and narrow-minded. She casts judgement before judgement should be cast and attacks a woman for her own body image, the very same cause she is fighting against.

So, Ambitiously Living, here is what I have to say to you:

First and foremost, let’s address a statement you make in your piece: “You are a walking contradiction, and I do not respect you or your ideologies.” Woah. Hold up a minute. Regardless of your opinion of Trainor’s music (with which I adamantly disagree), you have no right to cast judgment on her as a human being. How could you know you do not respect her if you’ve never even met her? For all you know, Trainor could be the nicest, most respectful person you may ever meet. Do you automatically disrespect anyone who doesn’t agree with all of your ideologies? I certainly don’t. Those are the kinds of people who ruin the opportunity for peaceful talks and open debate. Please don’t be that kind of person.

Secondly, let’s break down your argument. You claim Trainor “tells [her] young and confused female listeners that a man’s acknowledgment is important, and the reason they should obtain a certain build.” Where you get this from her music, though, I’m not so sure. True, in “All About That Bass,” she argues men may appreciate a curvy body, but nowhere does she say this ‘approval,’ so to speak, is what inspires her to boast of her curves. It’s simply an acknowledgement of her reality- a proud acknowledgement at that, where Trainor points out she is happy and thriving in her relationships, and that her weight never holds her back.

“When you refer to these women as ‘stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll[s],’ you are belittling their lifestyle choices and their own self-image,” you say. But this is also mistake. When Trainor uses these words, she isn’t putting down women, she’s building them up. “Don’t be what society tells you you must be,” she is saying, “don’t be a stick-figure silicone Barbie doll, be whatever you want to be. You can be curvy, you can be petite- just don’t listen to the media when it tells you to look like a Barbie doll. Look the way you want to look because that’s how you want to look.” It’s a misunderstanding to assume Trainor is attacking thin women, and honestly, a step back in feminism.

The only slightly persuasive argument in the author’s critique of the talented Meghan Trainor is when she argues the singer has “even managed to degrade those 11 million individuals [who have suffered from eating disorders] by making light of their struggle in an interview with Entertainment Tonight. You told interviewers ‘you were never strong enough to have an eating disorder.’” Yes, at first glance, this statement is shocking, and possibly even offensive. But at the same time, we shouldn’t be so quick to judge. As someone who has lived at both sides of the scale—with an overweight and then a dangerously thin body- I am acutely aware of the struggles women face when examining their own body weight. And as someone who fought and beat an eating disorder, I also know that it is indeed a test of strength. I was overweight for years, and I toyed with the idea of bulimia for as long as I could imagine. The reason it took me so long to go through with it was not a testament to my will- I wasn’t “strong enough” because I had convinced myself I would be ugly forever.

Now, please don’t misunderstand me. Submitting to an eating disorder was the worst decision I ever made, and I do not condone nor make light of the struggle of bulimia nervosa or others like it. But there is also a seriously degrading self-image in the mind of a woman who says she is not “strong enough” to have an eating disorder. On that topic we should never cast judgment.

Ambitiously Living, you may have just degraded a woman for her body image to respond to what you call a degrading song. But that’s not right. Attacking an insult with more insults never solves the problem. Honestly, attacking a woman for her body-image should never be okay, no matter which side of the scale she’s on.

When I bought Trainor’s album Title, every track was beaming with feminist pride. In “Lips Are Movin’” and “No Good For You,” she decries abusive and imbalanced relationships. In “Walkashame,” she asserts a woman’s right to her sexuality. In “My Selfish Heart,” she values a woman’s career and right to choose her own path. And yes, in “All About That Bass,” she rallies for positive body image.

So, Meghan, I support you. I applaud you. Keep fighting the good fight and forget the haters. You are beautiful.



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Comments ( 1 )
  • bookseaterblog says:

    Thank you for this article. I always see so many hateful things about her and her music because people refuse to see from which viewpoint she stands. I’m saddened by all of that and the narrowmindness of some but it’s truly good to see someone defending her. ^^ Wish you a happy day

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