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I'm all about that controversy (no treble)
August 20, 2014 3:48 PM   Subscribe

Meghan Trainor - a primer: "How many of you have no idea what we're talking about? Follow-up question: How many of you have looked at the iTunes chart and felt old recently? Come, let's learn together about Trainor, 'All About That Bass,' and the problematic nature of this song."
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome (73 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Honestly the only thing that makes me feel old about the iTunes charts is seeing Counting Crows there.
posted by aubilenon at 3:58 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


When a girl walks in with an itty-bitty waist and a round thing in your face you get vital evolutionary information that acts as a fairly accurate indicator of overall health.
And sprung. You also get sprung.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:58 PM on August 20 [40 favorites]


I'm glad of the controversy because otherwise I would have never heard that cute little song!

But yeah the backup dancer thing is problematic.
posted by winna at 3:59 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Wow, her voice doesn't fit her face at all.
posted by bleep at 4:03 PM on August 20


Night of the Living AllAboutTheBassHeads.
posted by octobersurprise at 4:04 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


As cute and catchy as the song is, I was immediately turned off by "But I can shake it shake it/Like I'm supposed to do." I can see the argument that maybe she's not trashing skinny girls, but the bigger problem for me is that the whole entire song is "My body's OK because it's what men like." Which, eww.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:09 PM on August 20 [16 favorites]


Wow, this is creepy. I heard this song for the first time Monday. Pandora served it to me while I was trying to entertain an infant. And I was singing it as I clicked over here to the MeFi front page. Weeeeird.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:09 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


the bigger problem for me is that the whole entire song is "My body's OK because it's what men like."

This.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:10 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Pretty thin critique.

How about if we start being body positive by not going on about women's bodys like they are a collection of sex toys?

But girls these days don't need feminism, I'm told.
posted by clvrmnky at 4:17 PM on August 20


The perfectly good observation that uninvited male attention is bad sometimes has a weird tendency to morph into "inviting male attention is bad" which is a little fucked up and leads to policing female sexuality as we see here.
posted by fleetmouse at 4:23 PM on August 20 [13 favorites]


So, given that many pop songs are about sex, and that significant part of sex (for you heterosexual folks) is about appealing to the opposite gender, how would a female songwriter make a pop song that wasn't subject to the same critique?
posted by Zalzidrax at 4:25 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


I'm All About the Bass....

So, a song about fishing, right?

OK, I guess I am old....
posted by CrowGoat at 4:26 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Is it really that much of a controversy? I don't see anybody calling for a boycott. I see some analysis and some criticism. You get that when you have a hit single.
posted by maxsparber at 4:29 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


I was going to post this (IMO) much better criticism of the song, by Jenny Trout a month ago, and completely forgot.
posted by KGMoney at 4:37 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


So, given that many pop songs are about sex, and that significant part of sex (for you heterosexual folks) is about appealing to the opposite gender, how would a female songwriter make a pop song that wasn't subject to the same critique?

Well, there's always the Divinyl's classic which starts out with a reversal - not "Boys love me, so I love myself" but rather - "I love myself - I want you to love me."

Basically, women could sing about their own desires, rather than about male desires.
posted by muddgirl at 4:42 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


given that many pop songs are about sex, and that significant part of sex (for you heterosexual folks) is about appealing to the opposite gender, how would a female songwriter make a pop song that wasn't subject to the same critique

While I can think of a number of songs with male POV in which we are told he's lookin' good (possibly also feelin' right, but both of these appear to be self-reported and not things he was told by someone else), or that he has desirable possessions which his potential mate may find indicative of various lifestyle ideals, and perhaps a bit of double-entendre about the relative size of his penis, I cannot think of a song in which the male narrator is "supposed to" shake things, or that his body is acceptable because he is specifically a certain body type.

So why are women basically required to only care about their appeal rather than how good they are lookin' or - even better - feelin'?

I like the Jenny Trout analysis that KGMoney posted because it breaks down both the good and bad concepts in the song and the video, but honestly the bottom line is that a lot of us are really tired of the idea that our bodies can only be good if they are wanted by someone else, and that anyone should be called names because of their shape. (And then also don't touch people without permission that's gross.)
posted by Lyn Never at 4:45 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


Also, why this song? Because of how many of my friends keep posting on Facebook about how great and empowering it is, including people who know full well that body-shaming skinny girls is no better than shaming fat girls.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:48 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Also, reading these articles after watching Nikki Minaj's new video for her song "Anaconda," (likely NSFW) is giving me thematic whiplash.
posted by muddgirl at 4:52 PM on August 20 [5 favorites]


" I cannot think of a song in which the male narrator is "supposed to" shake things, or that his body is acceptable because he is specifically a certain body type."

"Sharp Dressed Man" not about body type, but certainly about appealing to women.

"Too Sexy"

So, no, not a lot spring to mind, but there are tons of songs about being the right kind of man. Strong, violent (especially in rap), self-made, wealthy, etc. (all of the machismo tropes) which are damaging to men. I won't debate which is worse (physical objectification of women vs. emotional stunting of men). They are both part of the problem.

Everyone needs feminism.
posted by oddman at 5:04 PM on August 20 [11 favorites]


She's cute. Shitty song. Same thing you could say for most of the skinny little pop starlets, I suppose.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:07 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


Wait, Jezebel wants me to dislike this song? SOLD!

Yes, I consider myself a feminist. Yes, I think Jezebel can do good things, and has in the past. But I've given up on the site entirely because it constantly bashes allies.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 5:26 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


Dear Ms. Trainor,

We at the Internet Opinion Compliance Agency (hereafter, IOCA) regret to inform you that, though you arrived at the correct opinion (e.g., "all body types are great!"), you arrived at it via an incorrect thought process.

Until such time as your thought process aligns with the approved thought process (see: IOCA Guidelines 200.4.a.1), we are unable to enjoy your song, and will, as such, dissect it infinitely so as to assure that no one else can enjoy it either, without feeling like they are betraying women.

Additionally, it has been brought to our attention that though your backup dancers all appear to be consenting adults who signed contracts and will garner both fame and compensation from participation in your video, that they are being ill-used in some vaguely, possibly racist and/or classist manner. Please make adjustments as you see fit, though you may also look to IOCA Guidelines 100 - 450 for assistance in complete compliance with currently known Internet opinions on these issues.

Thank you for you time.

IOCA
posted by gsh at 5:37 PM on August 20 [57 favorites]


The '50s throwback sound – a rarity on contemporary pop radio – is likely helping to boost its spread.

no, it's actually a throwback to 70s imitations of old 50s music, schlocky as hell, much like grease, happy days and sha na na

ick
posted by pyramid termite at 5:39 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


"Shake it, shake it, shake it like a Polaroid picture." -Outkast

“Yeah it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two / But I can shake it, shake it like I'm supposed to do...” -Meghan Trainor

I can't help but see that line as a direct response to every dance floor callout, ever, especially since she drops other lyrical references (like "I'm bringing booty back" mimicking Timberlake's "bringing sexy back.").

There are a ton of songs out there about being sexy, and knowing it, and dance dance dance woo woo woo, but as soon as it's about bigger girls, I have to abstain on feminist grounds? And she has too many black dancers, so they're just props? Is there a recommended percentage of people of color that you can include? Zero's not okay, and apparently 3/4 is too much, so is 50/50 alright? Should we not have backup dancers at all, then? I just can't even, guys.

“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.”

Jenny Trout calls out that line as problematic, too, but it seemed pretty clear cut to me. There's enough stories about guys who think their girlfriend would be perfect if she just lost some of that weight; I think it's okay to acknowledge that you're never going to fit that mold, or pretend that it's a goal.

Whatever. I'm actually really happy to be living in a world where we think critically about pop songs, so I shouldn't get too aggrieved when somebody disagrees with me; I'm just glad there's a conversation. Aaand I hadn't heard this song yet, so thanks for that!
posted by redsparkler at 5:42 PM on August 20 [18 favorites]


"Vine star?" Yep, old. Dealing with that ok.

*Cranks up Pretenders II*
posted by Devils Rancher at 5:45 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I get it, I do...but I have gotten more than enough bullshit judgment from tiny women in my time who think that they're doing it right and I'm doing it wrong that I don't have tons of sympathy for them feeling that they've been slighted because a pop song written by a 20 year old said maybe someone might prefer a bigger lady and used the term "skinny bitch". There are more than enough actual benefits in society for being preferably thin, like, say, getting jobs and stuff, to make up for this song, I think. But not all skinny girls!

But yeah: being attractive to dudes shouldn't be a yard stick here, I agree on that. Dissing other women isn't the way. We gotta diss the judgment machine directly, not compete with each other. But she's 20. And all women are judged that way, some people benefit from it and some people suffer for it.
posted by Hildegarde at 5:50 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


Maybe it's partially because I think the new Taylor Swift video has the same kind of space for some of the discussions about color and dance and all that (although, to be fair, it also has the lyrics "And to the fellas over there with the hella good hair / Won't you come on over baby, we can shake, shake, shake", which is specifically requesting that a dude shake, albeit with her, not merely beside her.).
posted by redsparkler at 5:53 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


I feel old because I'm old, not because I don't care about top 40 pop
posted by thelonius at 5:56 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


Wow, her voice doesn't fit her face at all.

I disagree. I get a real Rebel Wilson vibe (Just...ignore the redhead with the plot-convenient basso profundo).
posted by persona at 6:20 PM on August 20


I don't hear anyone calling for a boycott. Just nice meaty lyrical and visual analysis.
posted by muddgirl at 6:42 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


For me the biggest issue with that song is that I can't stop focussing on the fact that she always sounds like she says "No Chebble" to me rather than "No treble".
posted by Brockles at 7:08 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


I've had this song stuck in my head for a month, and have been patiently waiting for it to be called-out on the blue.

I was surprised, my first time listening to it, that
a)how fun it was to listen to
2)how concious of pop culture and empowering it was attempting to be
iii)how much my brain tripped and fell on its face at the skinny-bitches line, given 2)

Is there any rational, perhaps scholarly, discussion out there about the similarities between the social acceptedness of "full figured" women trash talking "skinny" women, and racial/ethnic minorities trash talking the white man? Do large women constitute a historically maligned group, making such talk excusable dispute its objectively problematic nature?
posted by The Legit Republic of Blanketsburg at 7:20 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


There is definitely anti-fat bias in America, and an associated Fat Acceptance movement, but Ms Trainor is not fat from what I can tell. People within the fat acceptance movement don't tend to trash skinny woman so much as point out that when average-size people trash skinny people, its much less harmful than when they trash fat people. Even while saying that "I'm bringing booty back," stick-thinness is still the standard by which the singer is measuring herself, even though there has always been booty, as it were.

And I have not even gotten into the intersection of racism and anti-fatness that many black women face.
posted by muddgirl at 7:36 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


"People within the fat acceptance movement don't tend to trash skinny woman so much as point out that when average-size people trash skinny people, its much less harmful than when they trash fat people. "

Yeah. On the fat vs. skinny axis, it's a punching up vs punching down thing. Thin people (for most values of "thin") have little to complain about because they're being punched upwards.

But there's another axis, the misogyny axis, on which criticizing *any* woman for their body not being pleasing enough to a man, is punching down.

The racial aspects of the video bring a third axis into it.

It's complicated, and both good and bad in different ways, to different people, like a lot of things in life.
posted by edheil at 7:46 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


muddgirl: "There is...[a] Fat Acceptance movement, but Ms Trainor is not fat from what I can tell"

So you don't accept her as being fat? Does this mean it's time for a Fat Acceptance Acceptance movement?
posted by Bugbread at 7:46 PM on August 20


What I find problematic is that any time there is a "callout" like this, the target always seems to be a young girl. A male pop stars' transgressions have to be particularly egregious in order for there to be some kind of fuss, but if the singer is female, and particularly if she is just starting her career, everything she does is subject to the tightest scrutiny, and there is nothing she can do to be ideologically pure enough.

As far as the "problematic" backup dancers - maybe it was the house scenes that made it feel this way, but it seemed less like they were props and more like they were playmates.

Yeah, "skinny bitches" is kind of rude, but as someone whose weight has fluctuated wildly over my adult life, I can assure you that being overweight, or even on the high side of "normal," will get you far, FAR more abuse than being underweight. The difference is quite incredible.
posted by louche mustachio at 7:46 PM on August 20 [10 favorites]


I wish I hadn't heard that. Now I need to hear it about 20 more times. I'm too old for this, Riggs.
posted by SkinnerSan at 7:55 PM on August 20


I always get lost in the calculations regarding when it's ok to be mean to people. Skinny women get less abuse than fat women, so punching at them is punching up, so it's OK...but they're women, which means they get more abuse than men, so it's actually punching down, which is bad...

It seems, to me, that it would be easier just to say "being mean to people who haven't done anything is bad" instead of making all these rules about who it's cool to be mean to.
posted by Bugbread at 8:07 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


The back-up dancer thing bothers me not because it's the most egregious use of people-of-color-as-props, but because it's part of a general trend that's pretty troubling. There seems to be a glut of young white pop stars appropriating black culture and using black bodies in their performances to signal their coolness, edginess, relevance, etc. There's the recently released Taylor Swift video, which has been called out for using twerking bodies and appropriating dress and dance styles. There's the Katy Perry video released a few weeks ago, which features cornrows, twerking, slicked down baby hairs, and egregious "blaccent." There's the rise of Iggy Azalea. Not to mention the impressive showings of Miley Cyrus and Lily Allen.

All of the blame doesn't fall on the performers, of course-- they're a small part of a large industry, including song writers, stylists, video directors, etc., all dedicated to producing an image that sells. And what sells is apparently this borrowing of the trappings of black life by people who do not have to actually experience what being black in America means. Which feels particularly insensitive right now, considering the ongoing fight against police brutality in black communities.
posted by bookish at 8:34 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


Lyn Never: "I cannot think of a song in which the male narrator is "supposed to" shake things, or that his body is acceptable because he is specifically a certain body type."

May I present chart topper of 2011, Sexy and I Know It, which features a mid song wiggle-off.
posted by pwnguin at 8:38 PM on August 20 [6 favorites]


I am glad for this article, because it woke me up to how far off from pop culture that I am that I thought this song was supposed to be some kind of terrible send off of Super Bass and I've been really confused.
posted by schroedinger at 9:15 PM on August 20


My only problem with the Jenny Trout piece is how she's saying Meghan Trainor is somehow not fat enough to make statements about plus-size body positivity. It kind of undermines her whole point about body type policing being problematic.
posted by grumpybear69 at 9:40 PM on August 20 [1 favorite]


From the article: Silly goose, this is 2014! Every pop song is problematic to someone.

I think that's a terrible state of affairs. I think the constant dissection to find who in the world is going to get offended means that being offended becomes a prized state to look for. It means objections always, always get more weight than positive reactions, and everything needs to be defended from whatever perceived problems it has.

I think the constant analysis isn't harmless and doesn't sit quietly alongside the original work without influencing how it's received; despite talking about liking problematic things and claiming that it's not an explicit boycott, the message always becomes one of 'this thing is bad for group [x], so you can like it if you don't mind being bad for group [x]'.

And even in this specific instance of this specific song, Meghan Trainor is getting dinged for including people of colour in her video (though backup dancers are essentially moving props, you can't hire people of colour to be backup dancers without being accused of racism, but of course you can't not hire them because of the exact same thing), for not being fat enough to sing about body acceptance, for a line about skinny bitches meaning she's shaming people who are thin, rather than singing about, you know, mean people who demand she lose weight, something she's certainly experienced in her chosen field...

It's all designed to make judging something harshly and giving no benefit of the doubt or extension of empathy not only lauded, but the standard state of affairs. You are meant to focus on the flaws, because to do otherwise is to propagate negative stereotypes or buy into some cultural shaming or basically fail as a human being, because everything being analysed has to be all things to all people but god forbid you allow that this is an impossible task set for impossible standards.

It's corrosive. It's constant. And it should not be the new normal.
posted by gadge emeritus at 9:43 PM on August 20 [22 favorites]


bookish: " There seems to be a glut of young white pop stars appropriating black culture and using black bodies in their performances to signal their coolness, edginess, relevance, etc."

I think it's just that (compared to when I was a kid) there's a lot less racism (there's still a lot of racism, don't get me wrong, but a lot less racism), leading to less "I like everything except country and hip-hop" among white folks. So there's less of the tight color segregation than there used to be.

There is bad appropriation, like the Katy Perry video, but if you're going as far as saying a white artist can't have any black people in their videos, you're now going into "segregation is a good thing for black people" territory.
posted by Bugbread at 9:45 PM on August 20 [2 favorites]


A comment on Jezebel's story brings up a third grievance: that the people of the color – including Vine star Sione Maraschino – are "used as props" in the video.

This comment baffles me somewhat since it seems like backup dancers of every race, in every video, or every performance, of every song ever, are used as props. Because that's what they are.

Are you trying to tell me dancing soldier #17 as choreographed in my city's annual production of The Nutcracker is there to convey the unique struggles of being an 18th century Russian as seen through the eyes of a magical children's toy? Are all the background dancers in A Chorus Line conveying their own narrative? Because its seemed to me that they're just there to look cool. Like props.
posted by midmarch snowman at 9:56 PM on August 20 [7 favorites]


"...young white pop stars appropriating black culture..."

Dude, I dunno. I get thats there's a blurred line between mere influence and outright blackface but... come on... flippin' everyone grows up watching Save the Last Dance and listening to Wu Tang. Appropriation of phenomena within the entertainment industry didn't start with Elvis shaking his hips and isn't peaking with Twerking.
posted by midmarch snowman at 10:05 PM on August 20


I always get lost in the calculations regarding when it's ok to be mean to people.

I'm not saying it's OK to be mean to people, but there are degrees of meanness that are acceptable in the culture at large.


Let's hear from the skinny bitches about meanness:

Stop Being A Moron and Start
Getting Skinny!

If you can't take one more day of self-loathing, you're ready to hear the truth: You cannot keep shoveling the same crap into your mouth every day and expect to lose weight.



"Skinny bitches" isn't the ideal language, but it generally isn't taken as much of an insult. In this culture, being skinny is considered to be a sign of virtue, health, and diligence. The most common complaint I hear from friends who are very thin is not that someone told them to "eat a sandwich," (which, rude) it is more along the lines of this:

"You are so thin and sexy! You look great! What's your secret?"

"I have cancer."

"I'm so jealous!"

"No seriously, I am drowning in medical bills."

"At least you're hot!"

"Well that will be a great comfort to me in the six months I have left."


Whereas overweight is always considered to be the result of sin and foolishness. Gluttony, sloth, and simply being too dumb to be skinny already.

And, like I said before, you don't even have to be overweight - remember when the tabloids were going on about how disgusting and fat Kate Winslet was? Or how Jennifer Hudson was a terrible influence on young girls because she was promoting obesity (at an absolutely unthinkable size 12!Mon dieu!) Or how Jennifer Lawrence ... you get the idea. And Meghan Trainor fits that mold: not fat, but "fat."
posted by louche mustachio at 10:23 PM on August 20 [3 favorites]


louche mustachio: ""Skinny bitches" isn't the ideal language, but it generally isn't taken as much of an insult. In this culture, being skinny is considered to be a sign of virtue, health, and diligence."

Wait, are you saying that "skinny bitches" isn't an insult because the "skinny" part is considered positive?
posted by Bugbread at 10:38 PM on August 20


No, it's still an insult. But when you call someone "skinny bitch" the emphasis is on the "bitch" part (in this case indicating, as was pointed out above, a category of people who would insist that the singer lose weight, and likely in not the nicest of terms.)

Whereas the hurtful emphasis in the epithet "fat bitch" is the "fat" part. Because fatness is considered the greater moral failing, and carries with it implications that the person is lazy, unhealthy, careless, gluttonous, foolish, and unclean.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:27 PM on August 20 [8 favorites]


Can't we all just agree you probably shouldn't be calling people skinny bitches or fat bitches?
posted by Justinian at 1:52 AM on August 21 [6 favorites]


It's all designed to make judging something harshly and giving no benefit of the doubt or extension of empathy not only lauded, but the standard state of affairs. You are meant to focus on the flaws, because to do otherwise is to propagate negative stereotypes or buy into some cultural shaming or basically fail as a human being, because everything being analysed has to be all things to all people but god forbid you allow that this is an impossible task set for impossible standards.

This (well, the entire comment really) is what I find more upsetting about this whole "controversy." Add to this that, though nobody is talking about boycotts per se, in the past I have noticed the chosen artists who have failed to meet these impossible standards tend to become the targets of increasingly vitriolic rhetoric as the original charges bounce around and are amplified by the echo chamber of Twitter and Tumblr and posters goad each other to further outrage.
posted by louche mustachio at 2:05 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


I like how everyone is going on about the black female backup dancer while not a word is said about the very fat black male dancer.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:01 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


I swear to god, I thought this was an Amy Schumer sketch at first.
posted by oceanjesse at 4:56 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


I like how everyone is going on about the black female backup dancer while not a word is said about the very fat black male dancer.

I was having a hard time figuring out which backup dancers were the problem because they seem like a mixed bunch. I will say that singer is the most girl-next-door looking pop star I have ever seen.

The video is way too pastel and suburban for my old taste. Catchy song though.
posted by maggiemaggie at 5:00 AM on August 21


All those pastels. Ugh. My spiky black heart cringes to see them.

But I have to echo the sentiment that it really doesn't matter what you do as a lady in the spotlight, you're always going to hear how you're doing it wrong. I do agree, however, that there aren't enough women singing about female desires. Peaches eats this girl for lunch in that arena.

The song is catchy. I've already added it to my personal cat-themed repertoire, to wit: I'm all about that can, bout that can. No kibble.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 6:01 AM on August 21 [11 favorites]


Ok, who here just doesn't care if people find them attractive? I mean, it may not be at the top of your priority list (as it shouldn't be), but it's human nature to want people to think you're physically pleasing to look at. A young girl who isn't a tiny Katy Perry size but looks more average-ish high school sophomore size is singing about the fact that guys like that too. I see zero problem with that.
posted by hollygoheavy at 6:45 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]



I like how everyone is going on about the black female backup dancer while not a word is said about the very fat black male dancer.



HE'S AWESOME.
posted by louche mustachio at 6:51 AM on August 21 [8 favorites]


All about that bass

Ya know that's a better title for a ditty about that day when fishing for largemouth bass I caught 5 fish with only 3 casts.

My, that was a good day. Glad others though so and as the old gypsy woman say, bards would sing songs about that day.

(reads links)

Sex? Young women? Get off my lawn!
Look....
Plenty of songs are made every year and most of 'em are crap and won't get airplay beyond the RIAA tied hype machine. There is a reason 60-70-80 and 90's stations have the same songs over and over - those songs were less crap than the others.

Today anyone with something better than a Mr. Microphone and a 1MP usb web camera can take a shot at fame with a youtube channel and use lyrics far worse than what is complained about here.

Odds are one can find in that mess of Mr. Microphone and USB 1 videos body positive lyrics. So why not spend the time setting up a curation web site for that? Or hell, take your unemployed law degree and make a record label to promote/sign those people. A far better use of energy AND who knows it might stave out some RIAA types by putting money in your pocket/the pocket of some charity.
posted by rough ashlar at 6:55 AM on August 21


rhianna: I cannot think of a song in which the male narrator is "supposed to" shake things

Frankly he's supposed to relax.
posted by comealongpole at 7:00 AM on August 21 [7 favorites]


HE'S AWESOME.

Oh I agree, just found it odd that people seemed to be picking and choosing what dancer to advocate for. I'm advocating for that guy to be in all the commercials.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:16 AM on August 21 [3 favorites]


It used to be people were worried music was going to make you worship Satan.

Now, they worry music will make you worship your body.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:24 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Oh for Pete's sake. People will complain about everything. This is a super-catchy song with a nice message. NEWSFLASH: 20-year-old girls want guys to find them attractive and have sex with them.

Also, all of this furor about the "skinny bitches" line, and nobody thought to look at the VERY NEXT LINE?

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


As soon as she says "skinny bitches", she says she doesn't mean it, acknowledges that even "skinny bitches" think they're fat, and tells them they're perfect. This is a problem?
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 8:37 AM on August 21 [20 favorites]


I was just about to point that out. Context! It matters!
posted by mrbigmuscles at 8:43 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


The male dancer is Sione Maraschino and yes, he is awesome!
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 8:46 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


I keep wondering about Trainor's delivery/accent in the song. When she's singing about "dat bass" is she following in the footsteps of Iggy Azalea?

Despite its problems, I am glad this song exists. It's nice to see any sort of body positivity anthem climbing the charts.
posted by Gordafarin at 9:54 AM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Trainor, at least, is both American and Southern, so I don't find the delivery/accent to be all that problematic. (Say what you will about the appropriation of black culture, but Trainor is hardly the first to "sound black" while singing.)

Iggy Azalea is Australian, and her delivery sounds much more fake and jarring to me.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 10:15 AM on August 21


Trainor, at least, is both American and Southern

She's not Southern, she's a New Englander. Born and raised on Nantucket. Can't get less southern than that.
posted by Justinian at 11:50 AM on August 21 [2 favorites]


Oh, my bad. I always think that Nantucket should be in South Carolina rather than Massachusetts.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:05 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


The male dancer is Sione Maraschino and yes, he is awesome!

Even his name is amazing!
posted by maxsparber at 12:24 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Born and raised on Nantucket.


I know a poem about a man from there.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:23 PM on August 21 [1 favorite]


Today I learned that Nantucket is an actual place, not a fictional place used for its rhyme potential in dirty limericks.
posted by Bugbread at 5:16 PM on August 21


I'm not as bothered by "skinny bitches" because the term has already been appropriated by diet gurus who have not been shy about fat shaming. But I also realize that I'm having a hard time breaking the habit of using the word "bitch," which I need to do.

As someone who both suffered from eating disorders in the past and tubbiness presently, I would prefer to be skinny that fat, but I would much rather my hypothetical daughter be overweight than even borderline anorexic/bulimic. When I was thin, people treated me much better, but I devoted too much of my brain to obsessive calorie counting. Now, I'm dumpy, but my brain gets to focus on more interesting things. So I'm all for messages that celebrate curves.

I would, however, like to propose a moratorium for any videos that show white women grabbing black women's butts, or otherwise using them as props. I don't think that would be too difficult to avoid.
posted by bibliowench at 8:10 PM on August 21


A young girl who isn't a tiny Katy Perry size but looks more average-ish high school sophomore size is singing about the fact that guys like that too. I see zero problem with that.

It seems to me like the "problem" being identified by most people is that this message is being held up as unique and inspiring. But as I was listening to Top 40 radio today I noted a large variety of songs about how women with proportionally more large asses are sexy and hot. This particular version is novel, I suppose, because it is from the perspective of a woman and not a man, but even then as I said above, Nicki Minaj has been milking this cow for years, and in a more interesting way IMO, where her own sexual desires and her own pleasure with her large ass are a huge part of her lyrics and videos.

But then again I enjoy thinking about song lyrics, trends in pop music, etc, and it's kind of disappointing that so many people decided to come into this thread and scold me and others for enjoying this activity.
posted by muddgirl at 8:25 PM on August 21


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