All About the “All About That Bass” controversy

Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” is just one of those songs you get stuck in your head, and it’s also been rife with controversy. Is this a body acceptance song, or does it exclude certain bodies? Is is a feminist song, or does it put a woman’s worth on her sexual attractiveness? Was it plagiarized?

Is “All About That Bass” about body acceptance?

When you’re grooving to the feel-good beat and the protestations about photoshop and how we’re all perfect, a few lines seem to stand out that seem to suggest that maybe we’re not all perfect. Some of the lyrics celebrate larger bodies, but then go own to put down smaller ones. The very chorus includes the rejection of “treble,” which in this case is a metaphor for skinny bodies.

Meghan insists that that wasn’t the message she was trying to send with the song. “Any body type is beautiful,” she told The Guardian. “It’s all about loving what you got and rocking it.” She acknowledged that the song would always get criticism, “but for the most part people are relating to the self-acceptance part of it, which is amazing, because that was my point.”

Is Meghan Trainor a feminist?

Beyond the controversy over body acceptance, the song itself seems to be sending an anti-feminist message, namely that a woman’s worth is strongly tied to how sexually attractive she is. Meghan Trainor herself has said that she doesn’t identify as a feminist. When asked to further clarify that stance by The Guardian, she explained that she didn’t want to label herself as a feminist because she was only 20, and didn’t really know enough about it.

“I totally agree with equal rights and women’s causes and most of my songs are woman-power,” she explained. She went on to say that she had not yet heard Emma Watson’s groundbreaking speech on feminism, and said she might change her mind after she heard it.

Was the song plagiarized?

South Korea K-pop group Koyote claim that All About That Bass is a ripoff of their song “Happy Mode,” which came out in 2006. The song’s writer, Joo Young Hoon, has tweeted that he’s contacted a lawyer about this. So far Meghan hasn’t commented about this accusation, and there is no news of further action being taken. Interestingly enough, both “Happy Mode,” and “All About That Bass,” sound a lot like a 1989 Phish song called “Contact.”

Right now last year’s song of the summer, “Blurred Lines” is currently in the middle of a lawsuit over its similarities to Marvin Gaye’s “Get On Up.”

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