Attitudes towards women’s bodies have changed recently, and this has been reflected in all facets of the media. Gone are the days of ‘heroin chic’, spearheaded by the waif-like Kate Moss; nowadays, curves are something to be celebrated, with Kate Upton and Kim Kardashian possessing bodies that are the envy of women worldwide. Recent chart hits, such as Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda, and Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass, revel in this new found celebration of curviness, rejoicing in their ‘buns’ and ‘booties’.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully support women of all shapes being proud of their size. But is it really necessary to slam the skinnier ones among us as ‘unattractive’ and ‘bitches’?
Being a size 6 myself (the UK equivalent of the US size 2 Trainor has such a problem with), it doesn’t exactly fill me with joy to be considered a ‘bitch’ just because I have a slim build, particularly when singers like Trainor seem to be uniting women against ‘shit’ such as ‘Photoshop’, claiming ‘every inch of [you] is perfect from the bottom to the top’. It’s even more condescending to be told that everyone who is skinny ‘thinks they’re fat’. They don’t; nine times out of ten, skinny girls are painfully aware of their slightness – they’ve been told about it enough times.
The most dangerous thing about these jaunty hits is that both singers emphasise the need to be curvy in order to get men to like you. The fairly obvious phallic reference to the ‘anaconda’ not wanting ‘none’ unless ‘you got buns, hun’ suggests to the more impressionable ones amongst us that girls have to have boobs and a bum in order to be considered attractive by men. Trainor’s super-helpful life advice from her mum that features in her song reinforces this notion; ‘boys like a little more booty to hold at night’. Telling girls and women they have to look a certain way is bad; telling them to look a certain just so they appeal to men is even worse.
Just, no. Stop.
The most frustrating thing about this whole debacle is that if the word ‘skinny’ was swapped for ‘fat’, you wouldn’t hear the end of it. People would think these songs would be encouraging body-shaming, and promoting eating disorders. But by calling girls ‘skinny bitches’, they are doing exactly the same thing, giving rise to unnecessary and even dangerous surgeries such as breast enlargements and bottom augmentations. Perhaps these girls aren’t bitches because they’re skinny, perhaps they’re bitches because they’re expected to grow sizeable tits and arse on cue.
Both Minaj and Trainor’s songs probably intended to have a positive message at heart, however, the exclusion of slender girls prevent them from being female anthems that universally endorse all different types of beauty. Christina Aguilera’s oldie but goodie ‘Beautiful’ sends a far more positive message, uniting women (and men) in accepting themselves for who they are.