The G-Rated Version of "All About That Bass" Totally Misses the Point
Meghan Trainor's body-positivity anthem "All About That Bass" is No. 1 on Billboard for the third week in a row. Everybody in the country, it seems, is totally on board with the song's message and its fun, repetitive hook. Everybody, that is, except for listeners of adult contemporary or family radio stations.
As Billboard revealed, these stations, in fact, have so neutered the song's lyrics that they've completely destroyed its empowering message. The safe version of "All About That Bass" sends a simple message to kids: Even if it isn't OK to talk about your body if you're slightly larger, you're still beautiful on the inside.
There will be absolutely no shaking of anything for anyone listening on Radio Disney. What's worse, though, is Radio Disney's choice to edit all the body positivity parts out of the relatively clean song, rendering it almost unrecognizable in tone and, frankly, way dumber.
Trainor's lines celebrating her voluptuous curves — "I got that boom-boom that all the boys chase / And all the right junk, in all the right places" — have been smoothed out to this insecure nonsense: "I got them smooth moves, they say I look great. Yeah, I'll be the star on all them big stages."
The subversive beauty standard protest "Yeah, it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two / But I can shake it, shake it, like I'm supposed to do," is now the baseless and confusing "But Imma make it, make it, like I'm supposed to do."
Even the song's most pointed — and truthful — insight, "Yeah, my mama, she told me, 'Don't worry about your size' / She says, 'Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.'" Now comes off as the demeaning: "She says, 'Boys like the girls for the beauty they hold inside.'" Because it isn't all about that bass — actually you can be ugly, but your beauty is just on the inside in that case.
This is not the first song that has suffered the Radio Disney sanitizing treatment, but their standards are slightly suspect. Radio Disney neglected to cut any of the lines that explicitly reference Becky G's body in "Can’t Get Enough" — "The music taking me higher / Moving my body" and "Fired up too hot to touch ow" survived the cleansing — the channel also left alone all the intense lines from Ella Henderson's "Ghost": "I let you under my skin / 'Cause I love living in the sin." Trainor's body talk is tame compared to these mentions.
It's a problem not so much because it's bad, but because a powerful song has been censored of its socially conscious meaning. "All About That Bass" hitting No. 1 is a moment we can all be proud of. But it becomes meaningless when you replace the body-conscious message with one about inner beauty. Trainor knows she's beautiful on the inside: You can hear it in the confidence, spunk and attitude with which she delivers every line. It's really nothing less than an insult to tell a Trainor fan "Don't worry, you're beautiful on the inside!"
The song is meant to try and help girls feel comfortable sharing that inner beauty with a world that discriminates against bodies that aren't Ariana Grande-slim. Radio Disney's edit is just one more reminder that that's something we all hear too infrequently.