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All About That Future Husband: The Controversy Regarding Meghan Trainor’s Newest Song

On March 16, 2015 Meghan  Trainor released the official video for her newest song Dear Future Husband. Watch it here!

However, this snazzy 1950’s inspired bit has received both expected and some unexpected criticism about its supposedly “sexist” message.

Rossalyn Warren, a News Reporter for BuzzFeed, summarized the feminist response in her article titled People Have Very Strong Feelings About Meghan Trainor’s “Sexist” New Video. She details the backlash the video has received, pertaining especially to scenes in which Trainor is cooking and on her knees scrubbing the kitchen floor. It features tweets such as the following: “Thanks @Meghan_Trainor for setting the feminist movement back 50 years us ladies really appreciate it :)))” from sydney_heyler (@SydneyHeyler).

While critics seem to be focusing on the scenes of the video depicting Trainor as a traditional housewife, the lyrics seem to tell a different story. You got that 9 to 5/ But, baby, so do I/ so don’t be thinking I’ll be home and baking apple pies. These lyrics reflecting women’s career ambitions juxtapose the corresponding video image.

The article also addresses the support which Trainor and her song have received. In response to claims that the lyrics, “Cause if you’ll treat me right/ I’ll be the perfect wife/ Buying groceries/ Buy-buying what you need,” are anti-feminist, a fan tweeted:

Feminist opponents argue that the idealization of women to be “the perfect wife” leaves women  feeling objectified and subjected to an unattainable standard. Monica Gabriel, a writer for the online magazine Verily, argues the other hand. In her article “Dear Future Husband” Is Relationship Poison, Gabriel presents the argument that Trainor presents an unrealistic standard for men to live up to. According to her, lyrics such as, “And don’t forget the flowers every anniversary/ Make time for me/ Don’t leave me lonely/ And know we’ll never see your family more than mine” and “You gotta know how to treat me like a lady/ Even when I’m acting crazy” not only put men under severe scrutiny, but also set women up for dissatisfaction. She writes that the expectation of men to idolize women is toxic for both sexes; “Instead of understanding our relationship with the opposite sex as a partnership, men and women can begin to see one another as pawns to be manipulated for our own self-serving purposes.”

Gabriel, too stunned that anyone could be happy with a relationship described by the lyrics, “After every fight/ Just apologize/ And maybe then I’ll let you try and rock my body right/ Even if I was wrong/ You know I’m never wrong/ Why disagree?” even chooses to give Trainor the benefit of the doubt and regard them as satire.

With different opposition attacking the song from every angle – music video to lyrics – and with the same aspect often being criticized for opposing reasons, a writer has taken it upon herself to “fix” the song lyrics altogether. Here is an excerpt from Alexandra Petri’s Fixing ‘Dear Future Husband,’ or, How I Stopped Worrying And Learned To Create A Completely Unproblematic Pop Song“And don’t forget the flowers every anniversary… or do forget the flowers on the grounds that they are an outdated ritual from a society that linked a woman’s so-called purity to her value and could contain messages that most modern flower-readers would consider rude or objectifying.”

Still, Petri’s “completely unproblematic pop song” may prove problematic to those supporters of the so called “outdated ritual.” There will always exist support and opposition for any given topic. Points of view will always differ from person to person. For Meghan Trainor, the song is not sexist, but simply an expression of what she, herself, wants to communicate to her future husband. As she said in an ET interview, “Everyone’s going to say something. I don’t think it’s sexist. I just wrote a song for my particular future husband out there, wherever he is. I’m just preparing him. Lettin’ him know what’s up.”

 

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Images: 1, 3, 5, 6, 2 and 4 author’s own

 

Nicole (noun): 1. Writer & Marketing and Publicity Director for Her Campus Notre Dame 2. Junior Neuroscience and Behavior major 3. Avid Traveler 4. Lover of Languages 5. Coffee Enthousiast 6. Laughing Queen (can't dance)    
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