Mixed Messages in “All About That Bass”

Rebecca Pollard, Staff Writer

American recording artist Meghan Trainor’s popular single “All About That Bass” was released by Epic Records this past June and was immediately a hit among listeners. At the peak of its popularity the song reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and even inched its way onto the top charts of more than 10 other countries. Although initially loved, the upbeat tune has recently caused some controversy, raising the ears and eyes of feminists in particular. At first the song seems to be filled with only positive body themes and a cheerful message to not worry too much about your weight (as people often tend to do). However, on closer inspection it is easy to see why some have qualms with the song.


Hidden in the supportive message to women about their bodies lies a more grim message—a message that says, “You don’t have to worry about having some weight on you because boys will still be attracted to you.” Is that the message we want to send to women? That it doesn’t matter what size they are, as long as men are still attracted to them? Or that it’s okay to look a certain way, as long as the boys still like it? The line “Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase, all the right junk in all the right places” suggests that boys are still attracted to her and that is why she is comfortable with her weight. What about women who have “junk” that does not “fall in all the right places?”

Speaking as a 20-year-old woman, I can assure you that gaining weight does not always allow for all of it “falling” in “all the right places.” Who’s to say where all the right places are anyway? Is she exalting large breasts and butts? This is the most likely answer, which again points toward the pleasure of men.

The chorus of the song states, “Yeah, my mama she told me don’t worry about your size. She says, ‘Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.’” Again, this is sending the message that it’s okay to have “a little more booty” because boys like it. This implies that a woman’s body should be defined by what men like. It tells girls that their confidence, image and perception of self lies in the hands of what society thinks the majority of men want. This creates a distorted self-image, especially for young girls who are still malleable and more readily accepting of society’s opinions and ideas of perfection. Although I agree with the vast majority of people who see this song as a step up from the usual messages of pop radio, I don’t think a tune that tells girls their body is okay as long as men still like it is anything revolutionary.

Women, as well as men, should be happy with their size as long as they’re comfortable in their own body. A healthy body is the happiest body. A “little more booty” is of course nothing to worry about, not because men like it, but because it’s normal and healthy. Modern American society needs a wake-up call: How you look should never take priority over how you feel.

This song was close to a breakthrough. Had the focus been more on how women feel and less on how men see them, it could have been revolutionary. However, it’s a step in the right direction and I absolutely still adore the song!

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