ALL ABOUT THAT BASS, SOME TROUBLE Why recent body positive songs arent as empowering as you think

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Why recent ‘body positive’ songs aren’t as empowering as you think

Even if you have little interest in popular culture, you can’t have failed to notice the recent trend of pop music involving body image- More specifically, songs with references to those of a larger size. Some the music is good; going far enough to deem 2014 “The year of the booty”. Others disagree.

Take Nicki Minaj for example, with her summer hit Anaconda. Currently the music video has 300 million views on YouTube, and counting. Clearly, her audience is vast, and deeply impressionable.

To an extent (If you disregard the blatant sexualisation of women in the video), the hit could be viewed as a good thing- Some would argue that instead of objectifying women, the song empowers them, especially women of larger sizes. However, listen to the end of the track, and you’ll encounter a frightening double standard.

The final verse of the song, instead of empowering women, demeans many of them, saying “F*** you if you’re skinny”, and referring to thinner women as “B******”. People often seem to forget that insecurities aren’t just felt by larger individuals- Everyone has the potential to experience anxiety and low self esteem due to body image. Eating disorders stand testament to this. People of all sizes are affected, and lyrics such as these are potentially very triggering.

Worse still is the attention the song has drawn in the media, and horrific parody covers that have emerged as a result. One particular cover published on YouTube blatantly fat-shames women, and features the beguiling lyrics of, “It’s better if you’re bony, you won’t suffocate in fat,” and, “Don’t be selfish and eat yourself to death”. This song is more than just offensive- Exposing this to individuals suffering from eating disorders is not only incredibly insensitive, it’s dangerous.

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Similar ideologies are reflected elsewhere in that charts. For instance, the September hit ‘Booty’ is a prime example of this. To some, this is the real body positive pop song of 2014- A less offensive Anaconda. However, delve a little deeper into the lyrics, and you may find yourself mistaken.

On the surface, Booty does seem vaguely empowering- It’s Jennifer Lopez, a 40-something mum of two, making a comeback and combatting misogyny faced by older women and mothers in society. Despite the ‘booty’-filled video flashing fast enough to trigger epilepsy, the song does seem to have a slight feminist air ...

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