DISCLAIMER: For research purposes, I’m currently bumping Meghan Trainor’s insanely catchy hit. On repeat. While wiggling around at my desk and throwing in the odd sassy finger-shake for good measure. You know, for research… OK, let’s be real. It’s a great song. Not great like 18th-century gilded oil paintings, but great like eating cotton candy on the beach with dirty bare feet. Which is an equally important breed of great. Suffice to say, I’m not a hater. I’m also not one of the “skinny bitches” she puts on blast halfway through the second verse. I’m no stranger to that pain unique to little girls who hope to be cast as the lovely, leotard-clad Thanksgiving fairy in the class pageant and is instead handed an eggplant costume. Certain aspects of life can kind of suck if you’re not skinny. Not all the time, but definitely around Victoria’s Secret fashion show season, and every time your boyfriend thinks it will be adorable to pick you up and proceeds to stagger around with shaking elbows before throwing in the towel and muttering about how he needs to get back to the gym. Which is why, in theory, I’m all for songs like ‘All About That Bass.’ But, like a lot of the things I’m all for in theory — i.e. communism, rompers — their real-life application can get a little problematic.
Regarding the aforementioned “skinny bitches” — OK, wow. What did they do to deserve that rude moniker? Run over Meghan’s dog and not leave a note? If that’s the case, by all means, sling that b-word around like nobody’s business. But judging by the music video at least, all they’re really guilty of is rocking questionable plastic peplum and looking mildly perturbed. Which is pretty understandable, considering Meg’s flagrant name-calling. When did it become OK to throw shade at other women simply because they’ve committed the unforgivable transgression of… having a different body type than yours? Why can’t we genuinely, joyfully and, sure, sassily celebrate our own awesome, voluptuous frames without snidely implying that our thin sisters are somehow inferior and lacking? We don’t know everyone’s story. Maybe yesterday’s slender Thanksgiving fairies are today’s bra-stuffers and butt-pad buyers (yes, that is a real thing, according to my beautiful runway-model proportioned friend.) Maybe the way you cringe when you consider the utter futility of ever looking like Kate Moss is the way she cringes over Kim Kardashian. (Except that actually nobody looks like Kate Moss or Kim Kardashian. Not even Kate Moss or Kim Kardashian.)
I know that in recent history, bigger chicks have borne the brunt of most size-related criticism. And I know that the awesome body acceptance movement is still fighting to be taken seriously when it should be straight-up embraced. And that’s not fair. But to borrow a phrase, two wrongs don’t make a right. The fact that, overall, skinny ladies face less prejudice based on looks than their full-figured peers doesn’t mean they need to be cut down to size (no pun intended!) It just means we all need to work harder, together, to put the focus on women back where it belongs. On our brilliant minds and beautiful hearts, our ideals and opinions and contributions to our communities. That’s what defines us, not our dress sizes, whether they’re size 0 or 16.
I believe that our current cultural obsession with achieving the perfect (often equated with ‘thin’) body is absolutely nuts, one that makes women suffer deeply at its hands. I believe in speaking out against corrosive practices like extreme Photoshopping, and that the media must stop shamelessly exploiting our insecurities. I believe in realistic beauty standards, an emphasis on health and self-esteem, not unattainable measurements. I believe curves are smoking hot. And, you know what, if I’d been invited to Meghan’s adorable pastel orgy of body confidence? I believe that, while shaking this fine eggplant booty that I actually wouldn’t trade for all the thigh gaps and skinny jeans in the world, I probably would have sang along to that mean-spirited line. But I hope I would have felt yucky about it afterwards. I hope I would have thought to myself “Wow Katie, not cool. The way to build yourself up is not to tear down other women. You’re better, and more beautiful — inside and out — than that.”