Dear Meghan Trainor,
Hope you’re keeping well. Congratulations on your success so far you definitely know how to write a catchy pop tune. Just writing because I feel like complaining about your music to friends isn’t fair, I may as well address my grievances to you.
It starts with your debut single. I didn’t really take to ‘All About That Bass’ because, well I don’t have much of a bass so I can’t “shake it shake it, like I’m supposed to do” and I guess that means guys won’t like me because “boys like a little more booty to hold at night” right? So I didn’t get the whole ’empowering’ message you meant to send with that song.
The real problem, and the reason this letter came about is because I just watched the video for your latest single ‘Dear Future Husband.’ I’d already heard this song because I had to review your album and when I first heard it I was horrified and now you’ve released a video for it. Curiosity got the better of me and I just had to watch it. Basically the song is an open letter to the man you’re going to marry listing the criteria he must meet in order to catch your interest. He should “take you on a date” and not forget “flowers every anniversary” because if he treats you right you’ll “be the perfect wife and buy groceries”. Of course even though you’ve bought the groceries and are the perfect wife you’ve “never learned to cook.” He has to treat you “like a lady” even when you’re “acting crazy” because “you’re never wrong” so “why disagree”? And of course, you say “Buy me a ring.”
I shouldn’t have to explain what’s wrong with every single lyric I just referenced there but clearly I have to because you don’t know. Being a perfect wife isn’t about buying groceries. Being the best wife you can be is about loving, respecting and supporting your partner. Also, why haven’t you learned to cook? It’s a great skill. Being able to feed oneself is a pretty important thing that everyone should know how to do even at the most basic level so never learning how to do that isn’t something to boast about. There’s too much wrong with the lyrics and the video for this song to justify it with a doo-wop beat and some cutesy 50s styling.
Now some comments underneath the Youtube clip are claiming this song is satirical. That’s the only way it makes sense but even if it is, it’s still offensive. Using satire, telling sexist jokes and passing flippant remarks are the problem. It keeps sexism alive and doesn’t allow for feminism to keep moving forward. By writing this I’m opening myself up to comments from people saying “Stop taking it so seriously” and “It’s just a song who cares?” but this needs to be spoken about. The way we listen to and accept lyrics of pop music needs to be spoken about and seriously reevaluated.
Pop music is mostly consumed by teenagers and young adults – these people are your target audience and you’re slapping them in the face with stereotypical gender roles that can be seriously damaging to those who don’t feel like they fit in to what you’re talking about. Maybe this is “just a pop song” but we need to realise that it might mean a lot more to the 13 year old who’s worried that she’ll never find someone to love her because she’s naturally thin or the 19 year old who knows how to cook and is ashamed to admit it because it’s not cool. Why can’t we just be the hell who we want without songs on the radio constantly telling us we need to shake our asses and have “all the right junk in all the right places.”
Society is continually becoming more accepting and progressive but there’s still a long way to go and the media has a huge part to play in this. We tend to internalize what we’re constantly exposed to and it’s only when you see young girls going around singing songs like “Dear Future Husband” or even the more sexually explicit ones like J-Lo’s “Booty” you really see what damage “just a pop song” can do. So Meghan, I urge you to be a part of the change. Tell us all about your talent, how much hard work goes into your job. Tell us that you’re confident and that you’re happy with how you look without excluding those who don’t look like you. Don’t change yourself, just change your lyrics.