While indulging in my semi-regular jam sessions this week, something unusual happened. Instead of blindly bopping along to the music, I started picking up pieces of the lyrics. “Skinny bitches.” Wait, what? That’s no misogynistic male rapping those lyrics. Those words were placed in two seemingly pro-body image songs sang by two strong and confident women.
If Meghan Trainor in “All About That Bass” and Nicki Minaj in "Anaconda" are trying to advocate positive body image, they miss the mark. Shaming other body types is not an effective way to promote your own.
Both songs refer to thinner women as “skinny bitches.” Trainor calls them out, while Minaj goes on to say “F*** you if you skinny bitches.” One woman should not have to put down the shape of another woman in order to argue that her body is a desirable size. Trainor says, “Every inch of you is perfect/From the bottom to the top.” Does that only apply to her body type?
What if instead of praising “buns,” they sang about the benefits of being thin? If they had insinuated that all the larger women are “bitches,” there would be a mass outrage against fat shaming. It cannot be a one-way street. Women of one body type have no right to put down or call out women of another body type. It is not right and never will be right.
Respect for every woman’s body should be taken seriously. I do, however, appreciate that Trainor references the Photoshop culture and the need for its extinction. She is absolutely right. Unfortunately, this message is lost behind the main, demeaning message of this song.
While Trainor and Minaj degrade thinner women, they also explain how larger women must have a certain type of curve. The body type that both Trainor and Minaj reference in their songs is certainly not attainable for some larger, curvier women. Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” lyrics in Minaj’s song say that he desires a woman with “Little in the middle but she got much back.” I mean, according to Trainor, males are only looking for females with “All the right junk in all the right places,” right? You have to have the Kim Kardashian body if you are going to be curvy. For example, if you are curvy, you must make sure your waist is thin. You can’t be curvy all over, only in the places that men are attracted to. Any redeeming message they were attempting to put forth about being a proud, curvaceous woman is null.
Although Minaj sings “Anaconda,” it’s just another song inspired by the sexual desires of men. After all, it is based on “Baby Got Back.” The most offensive part of these songs is that they are centered on men lusting and distorting the bodies of women. Sir Mix-A-Lot states frankly that “(His) anaconda don't want none unless you got buns, hun.” Minaj accepts the fact men “need” these curves on women by explaining “He don't like 'em boney, he want something he can grab.” Really? You want men to be enticed by your body shape because there is more to grab? How empowering.
Regardless of size or gender, no one should have to accept such derogatory lyrics, no matter how catchy the tune is. We should be expecting more out of musicians, especially musicians that young girls look up to for their apparent confidence. I’m done with women calling out other women on their bodies. Can we stop objectifying women based on their size? Any size?
Grew up on the shore of Connecticut, and destined to travel the world. In the mean time, BC is her favorite place to be. She likes to write, and loves to talk. She also greatly enjoys green tea, grapefruits and cats.