I live with eight girls. Yes, that makes nine all in one house. Usually this fact is greeted with wide eyes and a chorus of “good luck” as our peers at Gonzaga University silently thank God they found a house with less rooms than ours. I absolutely love living with my eight best friends. And while I spent a good amount of my summer wondering what the catch was, what the fatal downfall of all my favorite people in one place, I have come to realize this is going to be the best year yet. You can be sure that for a house full of nine girls we have our “who left their dish in the sink” and “whose bra is laying on the counter” moments. One of my absolute favorite aspects of this living situation is the dance parties.
We dance like crazy to just about everything. Pop, Lock and Drop It, Taylor Swift, I Want Candy…you name it, we can do it. Lately we have been shuffling our Spotify and Pandora stations, and some of the reoccurring songs on both stations got us all thinking. Meghan Trainor and Nicki Minaj have recently come out with two songs, apparently preaching to the women ostracized by the skinny ideals we are constantly bombarded with. All About that Bass by Trainor and Anaconda by Minaj aim to critique the ideal that women must be a size two to be considered sexy, or worthy. This is great! My housemates and I bounced around and twirled our hair and embraced our curves and BAM! Body acceptance.
These songs may aim at a positive message, but they end up creating even more issues within the struggle of women and their bodies. The solution to fat shaming is not, and will never be, skinny shaming. Ladies, the shame has got to stop! If we could commit to some solidarity we could get a lot farther than what we currently have going on. Body size, shape, and weight do not inherently make another woman an enemy; this is a learned behavior that we have, in some way, picked up through example, media, and society at large.
Yeah, its pretty clear, I ain’t no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I’m supposed to do
‘Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places
The problem with Trainors song is the new standard set for women; okay, so we don’t need to be stick thin, but we do need to be thin, with a large booty and big boobs? That certainly doesn’t sound like a way to embrace your body. At first glance this song looks like an anthem for those of us who don’t feel as though we fit into the mold society has offered as the ideal, but after thoughtful examination it is just another way to put “the other” down. Similarly, Anaconda offers an identical message in a largely more explicit, sexualized way. Using profanity to shame women who are thin makes me shudder. So, the question is, why does this happen? Why are women constantly pulling the rope back and forth in the “best body” game of tug of war?
He keep telling me its real, that he love my sex appeal
Because he don’t like ‘em boney, he want something he can grab
So I pulled up in the Jag, and I hit ‘em with the jab.
Realistically, we need to stop searching for the right body type, because among billions of women in this world there isn’t going to be one. These two songs perpetuate the idea that we are only our bodies. But if we can get enough distance from that message couldn’t we all agree that our bodies are one small aspect of who we all are?
Apologies, Trainor, but you aren’t “all the right junk in all the right places” or the “booty that boys like to hold at night.” And Minaj, you aren’t “ a fat a** in the club.” You are your laugh, and your smile; you are your hard work and achievements; your abilities and your perseverance. You are your mind, and the limitless power it obtains.
What are you? Because you sure as hell aren’t a body type, or a weight, or an objectified body part.