'All About That Bass' Is Sending Dangerous Message to Our Daughters

Meghan TrainorWe were in the middle of a conversation, when my daughter interrupted with a shout: "Mommy, turn up the radio! I love this song!" I spun the dial and instantly regretted it. What my daughter had heard over my prattling on about this that and the other thing were the opening strains of All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor.

Of course it was. Pretty much the last song our daughters should be listening to just happens to be the hottest song on the radio at the moment.


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The song is a big hit with women especially, it seems. I can't begin to count the number of Facebook status updates I've seen in recent weeks, quoting the lyrics and calling it a feminist anthem or praising 20-year-old Trainor for a body-positive message.

But as the mother of a daughter, I shudder every time the song comes on, and when my daughter started bopping around in the back seat of the family car, I had to speak up about the one lyric that really makes me scream:

Yeah, my mama she told me don't worry about your size. She says, "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night."

Sorry, ladies, but telling a little girl that it's OK to have curves because boys like them is neither body-positive nor pro-feminist. It's just another way of making girls feel like they have to conform to a standard set by the males in our society.

Considering our girls are subject to enough male-centric "rules" created for them (anyone looked at who's voting on female reproductive rights lately?) in this society, it's more important than ever for parents to tell our girls that they have the power to make decisions based on their own needs and desires -- not those of some guy.

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And yet Trainor's reference to her "mama" telling her what boys like is particularly telling. Moms (and dads!) can easily fall into the trap of not-so subtly telling girls their worth is based on the likes and dislikes of the opposite sex for the same reason that Trainor likely included it in this song: because at the outset, it sounds good. You're telling a girl something nice about her body; how could that possibly be bad? 

Except it is.

Because our daughters' self worth shouldn't be contingent upon someone else's approval.

That's why I interrupted Trainor's singing on Sunday -- much to my 9-year-old's chagrin -- to tell my daughter all of this. It's not the first time I've said it, and it won't be the last, but I wanted her to hear from someone that "every inch of her IS perfect, from the bottom to the top," but not because some little boy on the playground thinks the little pooch in her belly is cute. It's perfect because she's one gorgeous, smart, hilarious human being.

She needs to learn to fall in love with herself, her body, her personality, her emotions, her brains ... regardless of what the boys think of who she is.

I may have gotten an eye roll and an assertion that she just likes to sing "All about that bass, no treble," and not the other part, but at least I tried. And I will keep trying ... because I need my voice to drown out all the others telling her to make herself over for a boy.

Here's the video, in case you haven't heard the song yet:

Does your daughter listen to this song? How do you counteract its messages?


Image via Meghan Trainor VEVO/YouTube

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