A catchy beat came on my Pandora a few months ago, followed by a nasally, auto-tuned female voice singing, “I’m bringing booty back/Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that.” It was then that I disliked “All About That Bass” and whoever was singing it. It turned out to be cotton-candy-haired Meghan Trainor, fresh from the pop star factory. The first time I heard the song was on the radio, but Trainor said that it’s “pretty clear” that she “ain’t no size two.” She went on to lament about Photoshop in magazines, which was a solid approach. But if you’re going to write a song about body acceptance, how about not mentioning clothing sizes and calling skinny girls “bitches?” I’ve never heard fat-shaming in a song, but thanks to Trainor I’ve heard thin-shaming. As if it couldn’t get worse, she summed up her point by saying, “boys like a little more booty to hold at night.” Because, ladies, the way your body looks is totally dependent on what the boys like.
I forgot about Meghan for a while. But she was still out there, conjuring something worse. She ditched her pink hair and came out with “Future Husband.” Unfortunately, I came across this one online, and watched the video. It begins reminiscent of a low-budget Mad Men set. As the camera enters a little house, we see Trainor dressed as a housewife, singing about all the qualities she wants in a husband, as she cooks and cleans the floor. It’s hard to watch, especially knowing that thousands of little girls are watching it too. There’s a weird scene of her refusing to eat, because she had to continue her screwed-up body image streak. She doesn’t date a man because he isn’t physically strong enough for her, and the guy she chooses as her future husband brings her a pizza. I feel sorry for him: he thought he was going in for a Netflix and chill but he’s got Trainor, who’s already planned out their entire lives together and pegged him as her husband.
Not long after, my little sister asked if I wanted to come with her to a Meghan Trainor concert. I declined. I’d rather have her idolizing half-naked Miley Cyrus. A few weeks before she went, I saw a blurb about Trainor commenting on eating disorders. I clicked on it. In an interview, she said that she was a “chubby girl” growing up but never had an eating disorder. And then specified, “I wasn’t strong enough to have an eating disorder… I tried to go anorexic for a good three hours. I ate ice and celery, but that’s not even anorexic. And I quit. I was like, ‘Ma, can you make me a sandwich? Like, immediately.’”
Tried to go anorexic? That statement is everything that is wrong with how the media and society perceives eating disorders. Aside from my personal experiences, all I could think about was my sister. What if she saw this interview? It was on Entertainment Tonight, so she could’ve. Forget about her awful songs, this was an entirely different reason not to like Trainor. Her ignorance is perpetuating a serious issue that affects her main audience. She could be raising awareness and writing songs about loving your own body, but instead she’s making fun of skinny girls and trivializing people with mental illnesses. Trainor never apologized for her comment, which was made in 2014. Yet, in an article released this week by the Huffington Post, she was deemed a champion of body acceptance. A champion, indeed.
—Follow Sarah Grace McCarthy on Twitter: @birdy_grace