Music industry vs. body positivity

Sarah Ross

Meghan Trainor. (Via Wikipedia.)

The body positivity world is a very complicated one, mostly because we haven’t decided on how exactly to empower others in a way that others find acceptable.

One of these conversations that suffers the most due to these disagreements is the idea of spreading body positivity and healthy images by focusing on body image and physical appearance. Many feel like we should be empowering women to love themselves despite physical appearances, since they are more than just their outside. However, others argue that women should recognize and be proud of what they look like. This argument extends over everything, from makeup to body size to the music industry.


Billboard wrote an article addressing these issues, calling into question Colbie Caillat’s “Try,” John Legend’s “You & I” and Meghan Trainor’s controversial “All About That Bass.” The songs have all been put under the looking glass because people think their body positive messages can be misconstrued as something more hurtful or shaming than what they are trying to condemn.

The controversial “skinny b*tches” line aside, most of these songs focus on the physical appearance of a woman as what attracts others, and the songs are about how you shouldn’t have to worry about your body because you are beautiful already. However, many are saying that it shouldn’t be about a woman’s appearance at all, and that it should be about the person and their “insides” that count. This is especially a problem in the music industry, as even when women aren’t being objectified, they are being sexualized.

Colbie Caillat. (Via Wikipedia.)

“Music videos typically convey a different message and reflect an industry that regularly objectifies female performers,” said Julie Zeilinger from Billboard.

“One study analyzed Rolling Stone covers, concluding that women are nearly five times more likely than men to be sexualized.”

Female musicians of every genre have complained about unfair treatment. Solange Knowles tweeted, “I find it very disappointing when I am presented as the ‘face’ of my music, or a ‘vocal muse’ when I write or co-write every f—ing song.”

Canadian singer Grimes wrote on her Tumblr, “I don’t want to be infantilized because I refuse to be sexualized.”

What do you think the music industry should do to be more body positive? Is telling people they are perfect the way they are the message we want to send, or should we be focusing on the inner beauty and humanity of women over their physical appearance? Let us know in the comments.

Collegian Blogger Sarah Ross can be reached online at or on Twitter @HowSarahTweets. Read more of her content on or at under Music. Leave a comment.