Body Positivity or Body Shaming: Nicki Minaj and Meghan Trainor

nicki minaj

[Ed. Note: This is a guest post from Carli Darlene Trujillo. See Carli’s other post on assumptions about single women.]

Has anyone else noticed an ghastly amount of hit songs that objectify women’s bodies lately?

One that particularly stands out to me, and has caused a lot of controversy, is Anaconda by Nicki Minaj. The song has Sir Mix-a-Lot’s Baby Got Back mixed in with popular lines such as, “My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hun.” And Nicki sings “he can tell I ain’t missin no meals” and “fuck those skinny bitches.” Another song that gives me an icky feeling is Meghan Trainor’s All About That Bass. Meghan’s lyrics read “I got that boom boom that all the boys chase” and “boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”

It’s important to uncover the negative body image messages behind these songs so that we aren’t as subject to the unhealthy attitudes and mentalities they suggest.

The Good

The good news is that female artists likeMinaj and Trainor are making bold statements that contradict Western standards of female beauty. They both praise women with more voluptuous figures through their high self-confidence about their own bodies.

The Bad

Unfortunately, these artists’ messages aren’t exactly what we should be striving for. First of all, as Sesali B. points out in a Feministing Article, “When you get your desired amount of junk in your trunk (I’m looking at you, Nicki), don’t make fun of people who don’t have big round butts. That’s not body positive. Most importantly, we are not defined by our booties.” So the first problem is that female artists like Trainor and Minaj boost their own confidence by insulting other women’s bodies, which isn’t healthy or supportive.

Another problem with these songs is that the focus is heavily placed on men’s perceptions of women’s bodies. Trainor describes that she doesn’t worry about the way she looks because her mother told her that men will like her that way. I would argue that aiming to please anyone other than yourself with your physical appearance is unhealthy. It is disappointing to know that phenomena is so prevalent today.

Finally, I would like to point out is that although female artists like Minaj and Trainor’s intentions are probably solid, what they may not realize is that performing songs with objectifying lyrics and boasting about little else except their physical appearance doesn’t help us progress towards appreciating women for their entire beings rather than simply their appearance.

What are some of your favorite empowering songs? Do Nicki and Meghan make your list?



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