So ‘boys like a little more booty to hold at night’… Probably not the most appropriate line for a four-year-old to be singing but given the fondness said four-year-old has for the song, we’ve been listening to it a fair bit. And the other day, we realised we actually really don’t like it.
Not because it isn’t a good song, not because it isn’t catchy, not because we don’t like the lovely Meghan Trainor. But because of this line: “You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll”.
Sure, the song celebrates women with curves. The obsession we’ve had with size zero, and the pressure on women to be size zero when nature didn’t make them that way, isn’t healthy. Doubtless some men do prefer a woman with a bit of meat on her bones, and it’s great that Meghan wants to shout about being at one with her curves. But wait; what if a woman wasn’t born to have much meat on her bones? What if she’s naturally long and lean and can’t gain a pound no matter how hard she tries? What if having a little silicone enhancement of what nature was a little mean on makes her feel that much better about seeing herself in the mirror each morning?
An AQ staffer read a mummy blog about posting homemade cupcakes and party favours on social media. The mum wasn’t trying to show anybody up, she said she just loved baking and creating things and it made her feel good, but other mums in her social group made snide comments as if she was deliberately setting out to make them feel bad. “Wouldn’t it be nice to have the time to do that? I had other [read: more important] jobs to be doing so my child had to make do with shop-bought.”
And this mean, judgemental trend continues. A recent office chat had us thinking about the pressure to be glamorous post baby; some of us prioritise a morning make-up routine before we go out the front door, some of us consider it a good day if we’ve brushed our teeth before the school run.
We can’t say who’s right, but what we can say is that we’re rather concerned about this insidious trend for put-downs that seems to be infiltrating pretty much all areas of womenhood. You don’t want to blow-dry your hair before drop-off? No problem, but for someone who does it might be the only way she can face the day. You’re happiest in heels and a matching handbag? That’s fine, but it doesn’t mean someone in track pants and Birkenstocks is any less of a woman. Your idea of a child’s birthday party is playing pass the parcel in the park with McDonald’s supplying the food? Good for you; you can still support the mum who’s spent the past four weeks hand-crafting party favours till the wee hours in her kitchen. And you’re a curvy, bootylicious size 14? Congratulations. That doesn’t mean the gazelle-like beauty next to you in the supermarket checkout queue deserves to be derided because her genetics gave her a different body shape to yours.
Stop and think for a second next time a put-down starts forming on your lips. If you’re about to belittle someone who’s different from you, is this to do with them, or you? Do they really deserve the judgement, or are you simply trying to make yourself feel better because, actually, you’re not happy? We’re all women. We all have different bodies, different lives, different goals, different priorities.
Meghan, we love your song, but you let us down. Celebrate your curves, but celebrate your skinny sisters too. Acceptance, support, sisterhood. There’s room for all of us. And let’s face it; if we were all the same, it’d be boring!