Monday, October 27, 2014

Skinny bitches and that bass

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Let's get something out of the way: I'm not actually sure what determines a skinny bitch. I've heard it described about women who diet but aren't particularly bitchy and women who are skinny and also kind of assholes. (Oh, and also women who don't like that intense of work-outs.)

But in general, a lot of the time it just seems to mean "women who are skinny," which makes it a pretty shitty term and an easy way to belittle thin women by playing into the idea that skinny women are superficial snobs (or, you know, bitches).

Remember that, "Real women have curves," phrase that was thrown around all the time several years back? I could write a thesis on how much bullshit is contained within that one statement but I won't, because, I don't know about you, but I'm really goddamn sick of hearing about other people's theses (sorry grad friend who just got her master's).

But my point is that I do believe body positivity shouldn't come at the expense of another person's type of body--whether you're skinny and judgmental about overweight people or you're larger and judgmental about skinny people. But the reality is, it's complicated.

A popular response to songs like Nicki Minaj's "Anaconda" or Meghan Trainor's, "All About That Bass," is to suggest that they're discriminatory against skinny women. While it's hard to take, "fuck those skinny bitches in the club," in a nice way--to be honest, it's just not doing it for me. The outrage isn't there.

It probably helps that they're both pop songs not directed at anyone in particular and it's pretty easy to also write them off as shitty pop songs if that's not what you're into.

But, for me, the most important point is that there's a stupid amount of pressure to be thin in our society and when that frustration manifests itself in lyrics about rejecting skinny-ness, I'm not really interested in making it about me and my own hurt feelings.

Because here's the thing: Anyone can tell a skinny person that they're too thin and "it's not what men want," but every thin person has the privilege of then taking that information, completely rejecting it and knowing that popular media will back them up.

A skinny person has the privilege of saying, "Oh you think I'm disgusting? That's not what Vogue says." No other body type comes with that privilege. You call out a non-size zero person for being too big and it's status quo.

So while personal attacks can be hurtful, because of course they are, Meghan Trainor singing "I'm bringing booty back, tell them skinny bitches that," doesn't even make me pause. Skinny women? We don't need more affirmation that our body type is worthy of praise. We get it all day long.

Also? I think "All About That Bass" is catchy as hell.

14 comments:

  1. Although I think it's important to point out that women need to stop with the us vs. them mentality (i.e., skinny girls vs. bigger girls), and everyone seriously needs to being a judge judy when it comes to looks, I feel ya on this post. I was reading a similar post recently, and it pointed out statistics that bigger women face discrimination when it comes to landing jobs, working with their health care providers, etc.

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  2. I kind of hated All About that Bass at first because of the line about 'skinny bitches' even though I'm definitely NOT one. But then I listened to the whole line and realized that her actual message gets lost in the use of the term 'skinny bitches.' It's kind of too bad.

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  3. I totally agree with you, Kate. We need to learn to work together as a unit and to stop bashing those who are not like us. That goes for all body types and for all genders. If we would stop judging/discriminating against others, we could accomplish such great things! Of course, it's easier said than done.
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  4. I wrote about the 'skinny b*tch' term over the weekend. I think they're unrelated. Skinny is appearance. B*tch is personality. Just because someone is slim, doesn't make them a horrible person! Who are you calling a skinny b*tch?

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  5. Yeah, I mean ideally, there wouldn't be a need to put down one body type (like how "All About That Bass" has the line about guys liking 'something to hold') to promote another, but seriously.. it's not a struggle to be skinny. We don't have it rough.

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  6. I agree, the term does distract from her actual point, though it doesn't bother me all that much. It's totally become a catchy buzz-phrase people like to use.

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  7. Haha, right. I do dislike the idea that because you're skinny, you must be a bitch. It's such a lazy train of thought. Even better, I love the idea that being skinny must mean you're superficial. Ugh.

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  8. That post brings up some good points. Fat-shaming and skinny-shaming (sidenote.. ugh shaming) really aren't the same thing--not when being skinny is the ideal, and I think more thin people need to kind of realize that.

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  9. Thank you for writing from a different viewpoint on this! I've read a couple others, and I don't disagree - body shaming of any kind is wrong. But it's such a stupid song in the first place (is it catchy, I'll give you that) and I feel like the levels of outrage spawned were out of proportion to the perpetrator. Or maybe I'm underestimating the level of influence pop songs can have on our culture. I don't know. It's like we talked about before - too much outrage about anything and everything.

    Side note: The line "I'm bringing booty back" is awfully arrogant. I mean, I think we already handled that with Baby Got Back, Bootylicious, and Fat Bottomed Girls. But sure, Meghan Trainor, you are solely responsible for the bringing back of booty, just now, for the first time ever.

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  10. I agree with you. I've been slim/skinny all my life and the hardest thing I have really had to deal with is mean kids as a kid (who doesn't) and people assuming I'm on a diet all of the time or that I'm more vain or superficial. Fine. Whatevs. I rolled my eyes at that line, but I'm happy as hell to sing along to All About the Bass because was I genuinely offended? Of course not. Like you said, we don't need that affirmation from the media, we get it all the bloody time. How many songs talk about perfect 10s and tiny waists and how many of those videos feature (skinny) models. This article is a pretty good read on thin privelage if you're interested: http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/10/lets-talk-about-thin-privilege/

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  11. Haha, it's so true. I appreciate the play on "Sexy Back," but no, girl, you're not bringing booty back-- unless you want to discuss the, I don't know, countless women who've come before you. I guess, for me, the bottom line is that I don't think her intent is malicious--like she doesn't actually think skinny women are disgusting. But despite that, I do really dislike assertions like, "this is what men actually want." As if that's all you should be worried about or as if you're even trying to attract men.

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  12. Oh yeah, that's a good post! I definitely agree with her stance. I mean, yeah, it does suck when someone is rude to you or comments on your body in a mean way, but it's different when your body type is held up as ideal versus facing insults when your body type is constantly being criticized and treated as the most unattractive thing you could be. On another note, I love when magazines pretend to be all about healthy body image because they use 'real' women in one special fashion spread, despite the fact that they don't feature non-size 0 women again until next year's special "size" issue. And still the editors act like they should be getting all kinds of accolades for being so 'brave.'

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  13. Yes! Or when they talk about healthy body image but focus on a celebrity's "amazing" body transformation i.e. they lost weight or another one's "downward spiral" i.e. they put on weight... Way to promote positive body image!

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  14. That's actually a really good point. I didn't think about that, but most of the song is about how other people feel about her body vs thin bodies. It's not about how she feels about herself. I can only think of one song off the top of my head that doesn't justify being different "because men like this better" and that's Born This Way.

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