Meghan Trainor is No Role Model
By: Gabby Frost
A week ago, a multitude of artists of all different genres were awarded Grammys for their work in music. One of the awards was for "Best New Artist," which had 5 nominees - Tori Kelly, James Bay, Meghan Trainor, Sam Hunt, and Courtney Barnett. Out of the 5 nominees, Meghan Trainor was crowned the winner. After finding out she won, it really upset me. Other than the fact that she's not even a new artist (she was nominated last year as well), her lyrics and things she's said in interviews are not things to make her a "best artist" (not even talking about her voice).
I'm sure many of us remember the song "All About That Bass," that took radio stations by storm last year. I remember the first time I heard this song I thought it was awesome since she was representing people who aren't skinny. I never really paid much attention to the lyrics outside of the chorus at first, but once I read them I was not cool with the song anymore. This song may empower girls who don't fit society's standard of "beautiful," but it brings down girls who are skinny or don't have "booty."
In the song she states that "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night," which can lead girls (especially young, impressionable ones) to believe that male attention is the only important thing about your size and body. It also can make girls who don't have a "booty" think that they aren't desirable by anyone. A few lines later, she also says "I'm bringing booty back
Go 'head and tell them skinny bitches that." I don't care if she follows that line with "No, I'm just playing," there was no reason to even make that a line in the first place if she's "kidding." You may be thinking that people need to get over it, but if we allow one artist to shame skinny people, more will think it's okay to do so. Shaming another size type to empower another is not okay. You can empower a group without having to drag down another.
In an interview with Entertainment Tonight (skip to 1:39 in the video below), the interviewer states that she had an eating disorder growing up. Meghan replies to this with, "I wasn't strong enough to have an eating disorder...I tried to go anorexic for a good 3 hours. I tried eating ice and celery, but that's not even anorexic. I quit I was like 'Ma can you make me a sandwich?'"
This comment enraged me. Eating disorders are nothing to joke about or glamorize, especially if a majority of your listeners are young girls. Trying to eat low-calorie foods is not being anorexic; anorexia is not a diet, it is a mental illness. According to NIMH, "Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. While many young women and men with this disorder die from complications associated with starvation, others die of suicide. In women, suicide is much more common in those with anorexia than with most other mental disorders." They also list the symptoms of anorexia as:
- Extremely restricted eating
- Extreme thinness (emaciation)
- A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight
It is not okay at all she shared this and it is quite disrespectful to those who have experienced anorexia. This is exactly why people do not take mental illnesses, especially eating disorders, seriously, people like her make others believe it is just a "diet" or a choice. There's a psychological difference between wanting to lose weight and having anorexia, which younger audiences might not realize.
"Dear Future Husband," another one of Trainor's songs, has some more lyrics that can put the wrong impressions on younger listeners. Instead of a few lyrics like All About That Bass, the whole song has lyrics with a problem. To make things short, she is basically perpetuating 50's gender roles. She gives her "future husband" a long list of things he has to do in order to please her, and things she will do to please him. This song can once again, make young girls think that male attention is the only thing that matters. She can also make her listeners think that the only thing they're good for later in life is tending to their husband's needs and being a housewife, not amounting to anything remarkable outside of the house. I thought we ditched these standards years ago, why is she trying to get them to crawl back into existence?
Meghan Trainor is not a role model at all. You're allowed to like her all you want, but I don't see why she was chosen as best new artist when she does all of this stuff. No, I'm not "bullying" her by stating these things, I'm simply calling her out for body shaming, perpetuating gender roles, and glamorizing eating disorders. Music should be more about the lyrics from the standpoint of not encouraging toxic mindsets like this. The whole world is surrounded by music and in my opinion, it is one of the most powerful things that exists. We need to stop making artists with horrible lyrics popular just because the song is "catchy." Awards shouldn't just focus on an artist's voice, but their lyrics as well. There are so many artists out there who use their voice for good who deserve the recognition over someone who is perpetuating awful ideas into young people's minds.