Meghan Trainor’s debut single, “All About That Bass” has recently skyrocketed to the top of Billboard’s Top 100 with its catchy lyrics and attractive message about the shallowness of our culture which promotes a super skinny yet unobtainable body image “ideal” for women using technology like Photoshop. If you haven’t seen it yet, I encourage you to check out her music video which has now reached around 75 million views.
Many are praising this song as a body-positive, female empowerment anthem for advocating that you don’t need to be a size 2 to be beautiful. And I do believe that its success is doing some great work in helping to fight body image issues, which are especially prevalent among teenage girls who are particularly susceptible to eating disorders caused in part by feeling the pressure to be considered beautiful by their peers and live up to the fake images of thin super-models that they see in the media. Eating disorders have become a bigger issue than many of us realize, and some of the women that I am personally closest to and love most struggled with them when they were in their high school years. So I wanted to give her a high five when I first heard some of the lyrics to her song like “Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size” and “Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.”
However, to borrow the words of one of my greatest role models, Obi-Wan Kenobi, “This isn’t the female empowerment anthem you’re looking for.”
Although “All About That Bass” does a great job of showing young women that they don’t need to be skinny to be beautiful, the song still reinforces a very damaging idea that plagues our culture- The belief that a woman’s beauty and worth is based on how attractive she is in the eyes of men. Trainor states that larger women are still beautiful because “Boys like a little more booty to hold tonight” and “Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase. And all the right junk in all the right places.”
In that regard, she couldn’t be more wrong.
Women are beautiful because they are created in the image and likeness of God, not because a significant enough portion of the male population thinks that they are. If we are looking for fulfillment in someone else’s opinion of ourselves, we will never find it. That fulfillment will only come through God, who already has a pretty darn high opinion of us because he created us and was willing to die just so we could spend eternity with him.
If the book of Genesis had gone into a little more detail (and was written with modern clothing sizes in mind), I’m sure it could have easily said something like this: “Some of them he created size 2, and he looked at them and saw that they were good. Some of them he created size 8, and he looked at them and saw that they were good. And some of them he created size 18, and he looked at them and saw that they were good.”
We need to look past the size 2 or size 22 and see women (and men) for who they are. We need to value their personalities, their values, the choices that they make, and the way that they show love to others far more than how many inches wide their hips are. I’d love to see someone write “All About That Soul,” not just because it sounds like it could have the potential for a catchy, soulful, and jazzy melody, but because it would address what really matters in a person: how much they love God and love their neighbor.
If we continue to tell women, especially those who are still in their teenage years, that their beauty is reliant on how physically attractive a man thinks they are, we are doing them a great disservice. Instead of telling them that there are boys out there who are sexually attracted to bigger women, lets put the focus on reminding them that, no matter what you look like, “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” because God made you that way and he doesn’t make mistakes.