That Bass or Those Buns

Body positivity is loving the body you’re born with, but it is also realizing that you are worth more than just your physical form. However, cultural icons that dominate the media have very different ways of expressing this idea that is extremely important for all people to internalize, especially those of the teenage persuasion.

One of the most recent things to hit our ears is the extremely articulate “Anaconda” by Nicki Minaj. This song flows masterfully between verses about having sex with various drug dealers, the beautiful exclamation “Oh my god, look at her butt,” her desperate search for her “fat ass big bitches in the club,” and the iconic line that is the essence of her message: “my anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns hun.”

Clearly, Minaj is the perfect role model. She places a high value on having a large behind because that is exactly what men want when they are looking for a sexual partner, hence women needing to have buns for a man’s anaconda or penis to be aroused by them. She is valuing larger women, which would seem to make this song something that goes against the typical viewpoint that skinny is better, but the value is placed solely based on their size, explicitly saying “fuck you if you skinny bitches,” and whether or not men would be interested in them as sexual objects. Is that really what we want young women to be thinking as they go into the world?

On the other hand, Meghan Trainor’s “All About that Bass” has a very different approach to size. She appreciates women that have “all the right junk in all the right places” and also that the “boys like a little more booty to hold tonight.” Trainor declares that she is “bringing booty back” and that you can “tell them skinny bitches that.” At first glance, this may not seem too much better than “Anaconda” – worth is linked to the desire of men and skinny women are bitches.

However, Trainor continues on to say that if you want a “silicone Barbie Doll” that you can keep looking because no woman, including herself, naturally meets that fantastical standard of beauty. The other lines addressing smaller women read – “No I’m just playing. I know you think you’re fat, But I’m here to tell ya Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” These lines combined with the cultural references to unrealistic portrayals of women due to Photoshop and Barbie are an actual attack on what the message against loving your body and wanting to make it better by losing weight that mass media has disseminated through magazine centerfolds and The Biggest Loser.

But this much more positive idea that “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top” that Trainor strives to exemplify in “All About that Bass” is still overshadowed by the works of those like Minaj and “Anaconda,” which has had 169,335,889 views on YouTube since its release on August 4 while Trainor’s song has only received 71,521,435 views since it came out in June.