"All About That Bass": Empowering or Problematic?

On Monday I posted that I'm loving Megan Trainor's first single, All About That Bass. Since then, I've been reading what others in the body positive and feminist community think about it. So I thought maybe I'd throw my own hat into the ring and discuss what I find empowering about the song, and what I consider problematic.

Here goes.

Yeah, it’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size two

But just look at Megan in the video. She's not fat. She's within the realm of what society deems acceptable. She's probably a size 4 or 6, even. She has no idea how hard it is to be "unacceptable", to be told by strangers that she's going to die if she eats another cheeseburger, to sob in a department store dressing room because even the largest clothes there won't fit her. 

Then again... "Skinny shaming" is not the same as fat shaming. One results in a few minutes of hurt feelings; the other is a single aspect of the systematic oppression fat people face every single day.

So I agree with those who say 'Bass' isn't so much an anthem for fat girls as it is for what Jenny Trout has dubbed "the fatcepptable movement".

But... At least we're moving in the right direction. Excluding fat girls and putting down skinny girls is definitely not where I want society to be, but with catchy, somewhat empowering, somewhat problematic songs like 'Bass' and Nicki Minaj's 'Anaconda', at least we're getting closer to where we should be.

The other major problem I see with this song is the emphasis on how boys feel about curves. 

"Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size / She says boys like a little more booty to hold at night".

Part of me snarks, 'thank God! Boys like your booty! Then I guess your body is acceptable'. But is it wrong to care what others think of your body? No. Part of why I love my body is because I know it's fun to touch and others find me attractive. But that's just part of why I love my body. That's the key. So what's problematic isn't that Megan mentions that boys will appreciate her booty; it's that she seems focused on the male gaze, rather than what she loves about how she looks. 

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

The above line could go either way; she can 'shake it, shake it' like boys expect her to, or how she feels she's 'supposed to do'. And is she glad that boys feel she has 'all the right junk in all the right places'? Or is that how she feels about herself?

The main aspect of the video itself, that I find could be empowering or problematic (or both) is the dancers. There's one dancer who's fat. Is he highlighted because being fat is 'perfect from the bottom to the top'? Or are he, and the skinny girls in the video, too fat and too thin, respectively, and in the video to demonstrate that only Megan Trainor-sized people are acceptable?

All of that being said, the one lyric that really sticks with me is this one:

If you got beauty beauty, just raise ‘em up
Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

Doesn't that say something?

To conclude: 'All About That Bass" is somewhat empowering, somewhat problematic, and catchy as fuck. I can't wait to hear Megan Trainor's future releases-- and I hope they'll be just as catchy, but far less problematic than this one.

Music Monday: All About That Bass

I can't get enough of this song! It's been out for a couple months, and it seems to be getting more popular as time goes on-- which is refreshing, considering the subject matter!

Every inch of you is perfect, from the bottom to the top!

Being Fat

My perfectly imperfect, gorgeous and fat body.
Being fat is awesome; I give good hugs. I'm soft and fun to touch. I look great naked or clothed.

The only things I hate about being fat? The fact that I can't walk into more than 2 stores at my local mall and find something that fits over my head and covers my entire torso, let alone an outfit that's affordable and makes me feel pretty.

That, and the stigma. People stop me in the street and tell me I'm 'killing myself by living an obese lifestyle' (whatever that means?!?!), comment on my Instagram that I'm 'fat and ugly' and I can't get medical care without being told my BMI is off the charts and I should 'probably consider going on a diet'.

But these aren't symptoms of being fat. This is the reality of being fat in a fatphobic world.

I won't change just to fit in to a society that systematically oppresses people of my size, simply because of our size. I will stand, fat and proud, and fight for the right to exist happily, stylishly and without stigma.

Sweater (Dress) Weather

As cooler weather approaches, there are a few things I know for sure: Fall foliage will make up 50% of my Instagram feed, salted caramel and pumpkin spice are everywhere, and sweater dresses are in again.

Sweater dresses are the perfect item for the stylish spoonie; they're comfy, often affordable, and easy to wear without effort and without looking frumpy. If you get cold easily, layer it. If you overheat, roll up the sleeves or pick a lighter fabric. Accessorize or don't. Rock colour, patterns or neutrals. It's that simple!

Here are some of my Autumn 2014 sweater dress picks:
Sweater Dress Weather

Times Are Hard. Having a Disability Is Harder.

"Times are hard," said the creditor, cutting off my explanation that I'd love to pay my debt, but can't, because my disability is so severe that I can't work. "Times are hard for us all. I know".

Don't tell me you know how hard I have it until you've stayed up all night, clutching your stomach and trying not to be sick, wondering if a tenth extra-stong painkiller will kill you-- and wondering if maybe dying would be better than this.

Don't tell me you know how hard I have it until you've been so desperate to make the pain (emotional and physical) stop that you'd consider anything, everything; therapies that make you go into debt, dangerous treatments that have a 50% chance of working, expensive prescriptions that give you viscious side effects. And when none of that works, you're ready to cut your wrists or burn your thighs or drink until you forget.

Don't tell me you know how hard I have it until you've worked as diligently as you possibly could, for as long as you possibly could, and realized that your best wasn't good enough. You fall asleep on the job because the fatigue is so overpowering. You're in excruciating pain and have to call it quits early. Maybe you can't even get a job in the first place because you're too sick.

Don't tell me you know how hard I have it until you've had to stretch your $100/month salary and sell everything you own and beg your parents or friends or the government for help so you can put food on the table. And then the creditors start calling... You fell deep into debt 'splurging' on clothing and shelter and medication, praying that your health would stop declining so you could finally hold down a real job and pay off your Visas, just for your cards to be maxed out and the sharks to start circling. How can you pay off 3 credit cards and feed yourself and pay for medical treatment on $100/month? They don't care.

Don't tell me you know how hard I have it until you've been stared at and cat called because you gained literally 150 pounds on a new medication. You lose friends because you keep having to cancel on them because you don't feel well, ever. Even your doctors don't know what to do with you. You develop clinical depression because you're so distressed about your illness and the way it affects your family, friends and career. People glare at you because you won't can't give your seat on the bus to a little old lady because your joints are aching. You go to bed in pain and wake up in pain. You go to bed tired and wake up tired. You take your meds, grab your cane or your brace or your heating pad and pray that tomorrow will be better, that people will be more understanding, that simply existing won't be this grueling.

Don't tell me you know how hard I have it. Because unless you have a disability, you don't.

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