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All About That Bass
A Quick Music Discussion Guide for Parents
10/03/2014

Dynamic Image
(A Girls-Only Study about Self-Worth and Image)

The Song: All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor

Main Point: Girls shouldn’t make the mistake of basing their self-worth on looks or image. Those who do will face difficult and unnecessary problems in life.

Vital Info Before You Get Started: The following info should help you contextualize this very popular song so you can have a great discussion about it with your kids.

  • IMPORTANT NOTE TO PARENTS: We at The Source for Youth Ministry believe that certain elements in our youth culture can serve as good discussion jump starters with students. At the same time, we would never hope to introduce teens to a negative influence that they haven’t already encountered. This balance is a delicate one. In our experience most teens, churched and unchurched, keep pretty current with music and music videos like this one. Thanks to YouTube, MTV.com, and iTunes, the most popular music videos and songs are free to access only a click away. If you decide to use this, do so by catering it to fit your family’s needs.

  • As of this writing, All About That Bass is at the top of the charts. No, it’s not a song about music genres or sounds; it’s a song about girls’ booties. Throughout the song, Trainor talks about how important booties are and the lyrics (below) focus squarely on female anatomy.

  • The tune isn’t sung by some female-debasing rap star; it’s performed by a young lady from the northeast with girl-next-door looks. Her name is Meghan Trainor, and she has a fairly clean image (so far). In her breakout tune, Trainor has taken the world by storm with her song that fuses doo wop and pop. It’s really catchy, which easily explains the song’s success on the charts.

  • The music video features her and some backup singers dancing around, fixated on one another’s rear ends. It’s a highly popular video, already racking up more than 100 million views on YouTube!

  • Don’t appear as if you have a “canned” discussion in your head and rattle off questions like a teacher giving a pop quiz—your kids get enough of that in school. This is a guide, primarily—not a verbatim script. Just familiarize yourself with the content here and start a conversation in the most natural, unforced way you know how.

NOTE TO PARENTS: Simple Warning
Before showing this video to your family, check it out for yourself. In addition to the song focusing on booties (lyrically and visually), the tune also contains two different instances of foul language. The small group discussion below is a great one for young people to hear, but you’ll have to discern its appropriateness for your daughters.

Introducing the Song:
It’s #1 on the charts right now, and we’ve heard it in everyday life. I’m talking about All About That Bass by Meghan Trainor. It’s a really catchy song, which explains its success, but I have some questions about the song’s message…or messages. I want us to watch the music video together, and then talk about what we saw and heard, what’s true and what’s not, and how we should live our lives.


The Music Video:
The song’s video can be found online at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7PCkvCPvDXk



Song’s Lyrics:

Because you know
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass

Yeah, it's pretty clear, I ain't no size two
But I can shake it, shake it
Like I'm supposed to do
'Cause I got that boom boom that all the boys chase
And all the right junk in all the right places

I see the magazine workin' that Photoshop
We know that sh*t ain't real
C'mon now, make it stop
If you got beauty building, just raise 'em up
'Cause every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top

Yeah, my mama she told me don't worry about your size
She says, "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night."
You know I won't be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that's what you're into then go ahead and move along

Because you know I'm
All about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass
Hey!

I'm bringing booty back
Go ahead and tell them skinny b**ches that
No I'm just playing. I know you think you're fat
But I'm here to tell ya
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top

Yeah my mama she told me don't worry about your size
She says, "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night."
You know I won't be no stick figure silicone Barbie doll
So if that's what you're into then go ahead and move along

Because you know I'm
All about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass

Because you know I'm
All about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass

Because you know I'm
All about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass, no treble
I'm all about that bass
'Bout that bass
'Bout that bass, 'bout that bass
Hey, hey, ooh
You know you like this bass

Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What was the unmistakable message in Meghan Trainor’s song?
A:
Without a doubt, her song is about the fixation our culture has with girls’ booties.

Q: What do you think Meghan Trainor is trying to communicate in her song? Is her message helpful to girls…or hurtful? Why?
A:
It seems as though Meghan has TWO messages in this song, one being fairly healthy, and the other, not so much. For instance, she tells girls they are perfect the way they are, “from the bottom to the top,” even if they are a little overweight. But then, she kinda puts all girls on the hook for basing their whole lives on their booties, saying girls should “shake it shake it like I’m supposed to do.” The first message can be very liberating for young girls. The second one can be quite damaging.

Q: What are some disappointments a girl can face if she builds her self-worth and self-esteem on her looks?
A:
Her sense of self-value is built on something shallow because she’s only focused on the temporary. Equally important, she won’t experience healthy relationships because she’ll only attract guys who are looking at girls skin-deep.

Where to Take It from Here:
Wherever it feels natural. If these questions lead to a longer discussion on the topic, wonderful! (There’s a guide just after this paragraph that helps you do just that.) If your kids are barely uttering grunts, don’t get discouraged—the next time it feels right, try out another song. Keep engaging them.

For Deeper Discussion:
(If your kids seem into diving in deeper and looking at what the Bible has to say on the subject, the following discussion guide can help take you there.)


Want help getting your teenager engaged in conversation? CLICK HERE for a helpful article from our "Parenting Help" page providing you with 3 Essentials to Talking with Today's Teens.

Transitional Statement:
Let’s admit something right up front: this song is really, really catchy. I mean, I totally get why it went #1 on Billboard’s charts. But at the same time, this song is tricky for me. It really is. On one hand, she sings about girls being perfect the way they are from top to bottom. Good stuff! But then, on the other hand, she talks about girls’ appeal to guys being based SOLELY on their booties. And then there’s the line about her feeling like she’s “supposed” to shake it. Says who? I guess, at the end of the day, this song is a little frustrating to me because of the mixed messages it sends young girls. Of all the long-lasting attributes Trainor could be praising about females, she chooses to focus on the physical (and temporary). I want you to know that girls shouldn’t make the mistake of basing their self-worth on looks or image. Those who do will face difficult and unnecessary problems in life. You may already know that, but let’s jump into God’s Word for a moment to see the truth about us.


More Discussion Questions:

  1. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: Let’s all take a second to share our favorite song at the moment.

  2. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What does our culture expect of girls’ image these days? How does that make you feel?

  3. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: In her song, Trainor talks about guys liking booties. “Yeah my mama she told me don't worry about your size. She says, "Boys like a little more booty to hold at night." Is that true? Is that what guys want? How do you know?

  4. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Alright, for a second, let’s pretend it’s OK for girls to be “all about that bass.” But what happens if a guy is “all about your bass”? Then what happens?

  5. Read the following passage:

      Proverbs 31:10-31 (NIV)

      A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. 13 She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. 14 She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. 15 She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. 16 She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. 17 She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. 18 She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. 19 In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. 20 She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. 21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. 22 She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. 23 Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. 24 She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. 25 She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. 26 She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. 27 She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. 28 Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: 29 "Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." 30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. 31 Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

  6. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: What were some of the descriptions given of the “noble wife” in this passage?

  7. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Do you think a guy who is looking for a “girlfriend” and another guy who is looking for a “wife” have the same list of desired attributes they’re looking for? Why or why not?

  8. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Can someone explain the warning given in verse 30? Maybe put it in your own words.

  9. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Nobody is saying that “looks don’t matter.” But what’s the balance between physical appeal (like booties) and inner appeal (like integrity or hard work)?

  10. ASK A FEW FAMILY MEMBERS: Look back over the list of attributes of a noble wife. Name a few that you would like to possess. Why are those important to you?

  11. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What changes would you have to make to move from being a girl who’s “all about that bass” to a girl who aspires to be a “noble wife”?

  12. HAVE ALL YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ANSWER: What is one decision you will make this week to be less focused on the physical and more focused on the internal/heart?

Wrap Up:
In a world where looks are all that matters… let us not be foolish enough to believe that ONLY looks matter.

There is a balance that each of us must try to reach. For example, there is nothing wrong with trying to take good care of yourself and being beautiful. By all means, take regular showers and brush your hair! But you should work on your character harder than you work on your image. You should focus on your character more than you focus on your image.

It’s sad, and I’ve seen it hundreds of times: girls who ONLY focus on their image and base their self-worth on their looks will generally face unnecessary disappointments and frustrations in life. For example:

  • they risk living a shallow, one-dimensional life. They pursue qualities that aren’t sustainable over the long haul. Instead of cultivating inner strength that lasts a lifetime, they’ve focused on attributes that can fade (quickly).

  • they could be taken advantage of by guys who are looking for beauty alone. Girls know that guys want “sexy” so they offer “sexy” in order to get attention, but after the guy gets the shallow prize he was after, he usually moves on. Sexy isn’t a firm foundation on which to build a healthy relationship.

  • they respect themselves when they think they look good, but if they gain a little weight, or get a zit, or get older, they lose respect and value for themselves.

There are more, but I think you get the point. I strongly encourage you to measure yourself by Proverbs 31 instead of the mirror. If you do, you will enjoy richer relationships, a healthier frame of mind, and even a better relationship with God because you are trusting His way, not your own.

Let me tell you the whole truth, though. Living like the woman in Proverbs 31 is very tough to do in our culture. None of those attributes praised in Proverb 31 are praised in our culture. Our culture says: “focus on yourself, you need it now, be sexy, there is no god, pleasure is most important, etc.” and Proverbs 31 says: “be charitable and considerate, be patient, internal qualities are more important than beauty, honor God, be hardworking and disciplined, etc.” If you are going to live like a Proverbs 31 woman, just know it’s going to be tough to do. But it will definitely be worth it!


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