By ROB SCHUMANN
Good, I see you fell for the clickbait title. Buckle up.
Between listening to elevator music and Prince’s Greatest hits on loop, I strayed off the beaten path and flipped though pop culture radio stations. Imagine the Stoic look on my face when I discovered Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.”
After a brief internal debate about the meaninglessness of human existence, I opted not to steer into oncoming traffic but spent the remainder of the day pondering why such a song exists.
Grab the rum.
No, all of it. We’re going to need reinforcements.
Trainor bellows out how she stands in opposition to the unrealistic standards of beauty, describing how she/you (the market the song is for) are beautiful the way you are, how she’s not a stick figure Barbie (no shit) and some other pedantic consonants that are the musical equivalent of “uhhh” and “uhmmm.”
Unfortunately my rage when confronted with an impossibly stupid and assertive force has the tendency to dull my auditory perception, but I’m under the impression I heard enough to understand the idea.
Here’s a pro-tip: If anyone is only able to describe themselves in terms of what they aren’t, or what they’re opposed to, you can take this as a safe sign to end the conversation right there as they have no value to add to your life whatsoever.
The obvious conclusion is that Trainor fails to understand that for beauty (or any other attribute) to exist, it must stand in contrast with an opposing force. This is not profound.
While I’m sure it’ll serve as a motivational anthem for plus-size, “big and beautiful” women all over, it misses the point so entirely and reinforces the same behavior that further reinforced the type of thinking that caused the problem — and caused those to like it, to like it precisely because they hate themselves.
Did that make any sense? If no, thank god.
Giving yourself a pat on the back for trying/participating is an easy target that’s been beaten to a bloody pulp a million and four times over, but it is this exact same mindset that breeds such a song:
Follow along, I promise it’ll make sense.
Examine the following statement which is exactly the same as the idea proposed by the song, only the sounds coming out of your mouth change:
“Just cause I can’t bench press a mobile home like those guys doesn’t mean I’m not strong.”
Actually, yeah it does. You’re arguing over vague obscurities and ignoring the whole issue at hand. These conventions/perceptions and their accompanying definitions exist in the minds of multiple others
Arguing against, and trying to bend the definition of a word to make it fit you because you’d like to be associated with the idea you purport to stand in opposition to serves no purpose other than verifying the fact that this existing perception has power over you and influences your perception of yourself.
It’s descriptive madness. “Just cause I’m big doesn’t mean I’m not beautiful.”
Cool, that’s fine. I’m willing to call you whatever you want. Nice to meet you “beautiful”… from now on call me “The Great Charlemange” but (capital B but) don’t for a second delude yourself into thinking that you or anything short of a cultural revolution will smash these pre-conceived conventions. You/I/nobody but the mass media has that kind of power and attempting to speak up against it is the identical equivalent of a logically structured argument by a child justifying ice pops for dinner.
“But mom, look they’re red.”
“I can see that son, but they are not dinner.”
The easy/probable/narrative conclusion is that the ‘cult of self esteem’/’everyone is a winner’ ethos has had a profound effect on the majority of us, deluding us into believing that we can be ‘anything we want’.
Maybe you can be some things if you work at it/serendipity/have certain natural attributes/luck/whatever, but others… you should realize you don’t fit the bill and bow gracefully out, not trying to linguistically bend words to create new connotations for your own personal gain. Don’t you have enough trophies?
No intrinsically positive attributes are worth having if they come easy or naturally. For those that might have said attributes easily/naturally, observe them, take a step back and see how you can posses the attributes they posses.
“But I can never be like them.”
Then don’t, give up, pack it in and spend you’re whole life chucking metaphorical batteries at their parade. Or try to work towards achieving those goals, realize there’s no such thing as a destination, that life is just a series of journeys and feel enlightened.
Hell, I couldn’t care less what you do.
It’s easy (*cough Time magazine/Huffington Post) to put the focus on millennials as lazy/unmotivated/spoiled, but who do you think raised them?
“Nah, not our generation’s fault. It’s the damn culture’s fault this generation is lazy.” – Baby Boomers everywhere
Who the hell you think designs the culture? Runs the media? Maintains it? Perpetuates the status quo? And most importantly teaches us (millennials) how (yes, how) to want?
Oh, yeah… your generation.
If your first response is to try and discredit someone/something by proxy or bend the definition of a positive convention to fit you just by birthright, I am able to automatically understand that you are deeply troubled, would describe yourself as “unhappy despite the great things you have,” have seen a therapist and have image issues/insecurity.
“I have so many good things, why am I so unhappy… I’m just trying to discover myself.”
“Wow, how did you know?”
You might as well scarlet letter in on your chest, you’re not fooling anyone.
Mathematically I am also able to deduce that the problem is… you.
Ultimately, the only one who can solve this is also…. you.
First, stop trying to “figure things out,” you aren’t “anyone” yet, just accomplish something and be ready to discover that in 40 or so years the sum of your existence’s accomplishments are drastically different than you had expected, but they must be enough.