Sunday, October 19, 2014

All About that Bass? Fat Shaming and Body Acceptance

I really enjoy Meghan Trainor's song, All About that Bass.  I was listening to it yesterday in the car and started thinking some deep thoughts.

An image from the All About the Bass video. Do they represent different sizes?

Here's a snapshot of the lyrics:

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
All the right junk in all the right places
I see the magazines working that Photoshop
We know that sh*t ain't real
Come on now, make it stop
If you got beauty beauty just raise 'em up
'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top
Yeah, my momma she told me don't worry about your size
She says, boys they like a little more booty to hold at night
You know I won't be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll,
So, if that's what's you're into
Then go ahead and move along

So, great! An anthem for women about loving your body.  But, wait a second.  She goes on:

I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny b*tches Hey
No, I'm just playing I know you think you're fat

Wait, what? That's kind of mean.  It turns out, this is an anthem for some women, only those who think of themselves as having "a little more booty". But, plot twist - even skinny girls think they're fat so does that make this an anthem for them, too? (P.S. That's called body dysmorphia, and it's a real disorder.)

I wish we could find ways to help everyone honor and love their bodies without putting others down, and I'm not alone in that.  There's the Health at Every Size Campaign. And, there's Whitney Way Thore behind the No Body Shame campaign. She loves to dance and her campaign started with putting out videos of herself dancing.  Here's her "Zumba edition" video!

Critics of body acceptance warn that the movement is dangerous, that it encourages people to settle for and even intentionally maintain unhealthy bodies. I really understand this concern, and that's why the best messages about body acceptance recognize that loving and respecting your body is the FIRST step to a health journey. If you don't care about your body, why would you eat vegetables over pizza? Why would you go for a walk around the block? As Whitney says, body shame is "a complex, multi-faceted issue that is best dealt with by first unapologetically loving yourself as you are, without being shamed out of a gym or off a dance floor. A movement that knows positive change can’t start or be sustained until you are truly kind to yourself from the inside out."

One of the things that I love about Zumba is that we can all do it, even if we're starting slow. Zumba instructors are of all different sizes, and I think that sends a great message to students. What do you think?

P.S. I hope we can all continue to enjoy the song after this... no offense to Meghan Trainor intended!

1 comment:

  1. Now need a song about being short and having small feet