Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” Is A Bouncy, Body-Positive Summer Jam That Brings The Booty Back

Some of you might have heard about Meghan Trainor, the 20 year old musician from Nantucket who has written songs for Rascal Flatts and Sabrina Carpenter (the girl who plays spunky best friend Riley on Girl Meets World), among others. If you haven’t heard of Trainor, well, you’re about to because her debut single, “All About That Bass” is too damn important for y’all to stay ignorant much longer.

“All About That Bass” is a bouncy, bubbly bubblegum bop of a song that perfectly blends 1950s soda fountain effervescence with a radio-ready 2014 pop sass. Oh, and did I mention that it’s lyrics are forward-thinking, body-positive affirmations for women of all shapes and sizes.

The video begins with a blonde Trainor against a pink background, juxtaposing stereotypically “girly” imagery with the lyrics that praise “that bass” [i.e.: dat ass!] The first verse makes a clear statement that Trainor is declaring her independence from the stick-thin models fetishized and praised by current pop culture standards.

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

She’s making a bold statement: boys chase real women. It’s a refreshing departure from male-dominated songs that fantasize unrealistic body dimensions. She’s also calling out our cultures obsession with photoshop, saying what we all know, but can’t seem to get enough of regardless: that these airbrushed models aren’t the real deal, and that real-deal beauty comes from how we feel about ourselves, not by what magazines or TV shows or movies tell us it should be.

I see the magazines workin’ that Photoshop
We know that shit ain’t real
C’mon 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

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The video sees Trainor opposite a series of realistic women, of all colors and sizes (Spoiler: all of them are beautiful in their own way), and a Ken Doll-like man, equipped with a Hamptons-esque sweater tied around his neck. They’re sitting around a dinner table filled with cupcakes and other treats, and at one point, she touches his face, almost checking to see if he’s something more than just shiny hard plastic.

Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size
She says boys 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 you’re into then go ahead and move along

What I think is most brave about this song, and its accompanying music video, is that it’s unabashedly unafraid to call everyone out while simultaneously promoting a healthier body image:

I’m bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that
No I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat
But I’m here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

By saying, “skinny bitches,” but following it up with “No I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat,” Trainor is doing two things:

  1. She’s declaring war on “Skinny”
  2. She’s saying that she knows that everyone of all body shapes can take issue with how they look, and that it’s not just limited to someone who might actually be overweight.

There are so many people, as evidenced by the comment section in Sam Smith and the Gay Male Body Archetype, who suffer from Body Dysmorphic Disorder; what we need are more mainstream songs/videos/films/television shows that promote this kind of Christina Aguilerian way of thinking that we are beautiful, no matter what, and if others don’t think so, fuck ’em!

Just because you’re “all about that bass,” doesn’t mean you’re also not one hot piece of ass!

Brava, Meghan Trainor, for crafting an infectious pop jam that takes a bite out of a real issue regarding media perception and body image!

Check out the video and weigh in in the comments below!

25 Comments

  1. I too love what this song is attempting to do, but there are 3 important issues with its methods:

    1. It seems to be skinny-bashing, promoting larger women while putting down those who fit the stereotype. People who are naturally thin don’t have control over the fact that they were born that way, and may have some insecurities of their own. Body positivity should promote love for ALL.

    2. A white woman with non-white back-up? An unfortunately common occurrence in modern music videos (see Miley Cyrus etc. + the slew of articles condemning this).

    3. The song says that men like women with curves and a butt, and this is one of the reasons she cites for loving her body. A huge part of the body positivity movement is learning to love ourselves FOR OURSELVES and not because we think someone will prefer us a certain way.

    1. See, I don’t really see it as skinny-bashing. There are women of all types and body sizes in the video. Sure, you can argue that it sways a bit more toward bigger, bolder body positivity, but in a world where “Skinny is better,” we need more messages like this…But I absolutely agree with you that TRUE body positivity should promote love for all.

      Also, there were women of varying skin tones throughout the video. I think you might be nitpicking on that one.

      As for your last point, the song never claimed to be about independence from men. I think what you’re citing here was actually supposed to be very tongue-in-cheek and playing on obvious stereotypes.

      This is all just my interpretation, though.

      1. Some might take it as sarcastic, but to me it came across as serious in its critique of thin women (or as she says, ‘skinny bitches’). While the song is not about being single, ‘because men like curves’ can’t be an argument for body positivity – it suggests that women’s bodies are still *for men,* an anti-feminist notion that works against what many are pushing for.

        It’s a great, catchy song and certainly a step in the right direction, but it missed the mark in some major ways that are worth discussing.

        1. From a feminist perspective, I definitely agree with you. But I wonder if she meant for this to be a statement from a feminist perspective? I’m not so sure that she was, which is fine though; not every notable song promoting body image has to carry a feminist undertone.

          It’s definitely an imperfect song, no doubt about it, and while I agree that it’s a tad backwards (the suggestion that women’s bodies are for men), the subject matter is still one that never gets any attention in the world of pop music, and it’s a big step toward promoting body standards beyond “model skinny.”

  2. HOW DID I NOT KNOW about this???

    This song — along with your erudite reflections on its message and importance — is perfect, especially considering the fact that I’ve fall off the gym bandwagon and am also currently procrastinating going for a run.

    #EmbracingMyCurvez

  3. This is such a cute song, with a really great message! I just love how you’re such an astute observer and that you picked up on these little things because it enhanced my viewing experience. I’d love to hear more songs like this

  4. This was an amazing post! I love this video, and I agree with you that it is not skinny bashing nor that it is anti-feminist by suggesting beauty is dependent on men. But, then again, everyone is entitled to their own opinion!

    1. Thank you! And yeah, everyone is entitled to their opinion, and the discussions that surround this song/video are wonderful! It’s a discussion that is SO important, from all angles.

        1. Absolutely! Being one-sided and stubborn in opinion can only lead to regression. The only way to truly move forward as a race (i.e. the human race) is to create open discussion and be accepting of other people’s perspectives.

          Nothing is perfect, but mass media is the antithesis of perfection. The only way to combat that is to spread the word, TALK, and teach.

          1. Exactly! It is so refreshing to hear someone else echo this belief. Also, hearing both sides allow us to reach a compromise, which is usually the right answer rather than an extreme.

  5. Thanks for opening up this discussion. As a skinny girl growing up I never knew the hurt my friends experienced with comments aimed at them about their weight. Now as an adult I find myself excluded from cliques for my lack of weight. Skinny bashing is now the hip thing to do apparently. I really like this song but I think the word “bitches” could have been left out. Not a song I will be sharing with my preteen daughter unless a clean version comes out. My mom said that if i dont understand people like those who need to put others down to feel good..dont try to ..it just means your nothing like them and that is a good thing.

    1. I’ve noticed that skinny bashing is starting to take place a lot more. It’s amazing how, in order for one subset of people (in this case, those who are considered overweight) to gain acceptance, it becomes commonplace to go after those whose appearance is at the other end of the spectrum. Can’t we all just accept each other, and ourselves, as is? Must we tear each other down? It’s our greatest downfall as a culture.

      I agree RE: “bitches.” I really hate the use of that word. It’s just not acceptable for women to call other women “bitches” because it just justifies men doing it, the same way black men and women shouldn’t use the “N” word and gay men shouldn’t call each other “fags.”

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