Meghan Trainor's new video is either an ode to pizza or gender stereotypes. We're not clear.
Oh Meghan Trainor, you are the enigma for our times. You were one of 2014’s breakout stars with your body-positive jam “All About That Bass,” which skyrocketed to #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. You wrote the catchiest of earworms that made girls feel kick-ass about their curves, but your song sewed seeds of controversy along with all those seeds of awesomeness. Like, was that “skinny b*tches” comment REALLY a “just kidding” or was that a body-shaming dig? And the message of the song, if we’re being honest, isn’t “Love your body for yourself,” as much as it is “Boys approve of this body type that is being sung about, and as long as a man thinks you’re pretty, you’re allowed to think you’re pretty, too.”
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE this song, I literally say “Yay!” out loud every time it comes on the radio. I love this song and I think it has problems. Even though it’s easier to 100% love or 100% hate a piece of art, the more honest approach to dealing with a song, a movie, an ANYTHING, is to allow yourself to have your complicated feelings.
So, Trainor is back with another song for us to all have complicated feelings about. “Dear Future Husband” is just as catchy as “All About That Bass.” This time, Trainor has put her marriage dealbreakers to music and in the throwback-style video, sings of needing a man to “treat her right” and in return she’ll be the “perfect wife” by “buying groceries” and letting said man “rock her body right.”
If this is just Trainor’s tongue-in-cheek humor (see the “skinny b*tches” lyric that launched a thousand hate comments) then yes, Trainor, you are hilars, these lyrics read like a creepy “Good Wife’s Guide” from a 1950’s home ec textbooks but, like, with updated slang. But if you’re serious? Meghan, Meghan, Meghan, I don’t think clinging hard to outdated gender roles is going to make you OR the future hubs happy.
Yes, you subvert those old-fashioned stereotypes in your lyrics (“he has a 9-5 BUT SO DO YOU, you never learned to cook BUT YOU CAN WRITE A HOOK”) but then you totally play into those same stereotypes and you seem to be straight-up serious in a lot of your lyrics. (“Take me on a date/I deserve a break/And don’t forget the flowers every anniversary/’Cause if you’ll treat me right/I’ll be the perfect wife/Buying groceries/Buy-buying what you need.”)
And going one step further, you drop this: “You gotta know how to treat me like a lady, even when I’m acting crazy.”
Note: every time a woman apologizes for being “crazy,” I want to jump into a time machine and head to the year 3000 when women are finally allowed to have and express feelings without being deemed out of control.
The video features a whole lot of Trainor scrubbing the floors and deciding between suitors and we want to believe it’s all just a throwback joke—a meditation on gender stereotypes and how ridiculous they are in this modern world? Oy, we’re trying.
In the end of the video, she picks the suitor who brings her pizza (i.e, the best food ever), so maybe that’s her way of waving off all those stereotypes she just sang about and embracing a new world order where pizza is the great equalizer. Hey, it’s just a (very loose) theory.
We want to believe Trainor’s message is a positive one, but it’s really, deeply unclear.
Meghan, Meghan, Meghan, you unknowable mystery, we will never fully understand you, but we shall never stop trying.