Meghan Trainor’s name has far from been synonymous with the word ‘feminism’; but the once pastel-clad pop star is back with a vampy new look and a feminist agenda. In her new music video for ‘No’, Trainor shows off her talent for multitasking by managing to be both garish and unimaginative.
Not too long ago, the curvaceous singer caused public outrage with ‘Bass’ which celebrated women with curves whilst simultaneously ridiculing skinnier women. It featured lines such as: ‘Go ‘head and tell them skinny bitches… Boys like a little more booty to hold at night.’ It left an unsettling ringing in a lot of people’s ears as it seemed Trainor was tearing down women and holding up sexist ideas of what a woman’s body should look like.
Trainor took another messy shot at being a feminist powerhouse with ‘Dear Future Husband’ where, in the music video, she appears dressed as a sort of dominatrix-esque fifties housewife and warbles ‘’Cause if you’ll treat me right, I’ll be the perfect wife, buying groceries.’ No one was sure what exactly ‘Dear Future Husband’ was – but it was a far cry from feminism.
She’s tried to kick her reverse sexism and body shaming ways to the curb with a sharp stiletto heel. Perhaps the singer has been rubbing shoulders with Germaine Greer or Gloria Steinem; perhaps she has undergone a spiritual journey of self discovery. However, one glance at the unsophisticated chorus of ‘No’ would suggest the complete opposite.
The uninspired lyrics, “Nah to the ah to the no, no, no. My name is no, my sign is no, my number is no. You need to let it go. Need to let it go,” accompany a backing track that sounds like a re-hashed Destiny’s Child tune from the 00’s. Trainor and her backing dancers gyrate boisterously, in what seems to be a prison, wearing mesh and sequins. You don’t need a qualification in media studies to decipher the connotations of Trainor’s repetitive use of the word ‘No’ as being symbolic of the importance of consent. It’s a lazy, unimaginative feminist drive.
‘No’ is a response to what a lot of the public have been crying out for – a feminist pop icon. Nowadays, it’s not enough for our pop stars to just make music; they need to be staunch feminists, shaking a burning bra in the face of patriarchy. But it leads to stars bandying about the term ‘feminism’ without any real understanding of what it means.
The movement requires a bit more than Beyonce performing in front of a neon ‘Feminist’ sign and it needs more than Taylor Swift’s ‘girl gang’ of privileged supermodels. We don’t need the watered-down feminism which is promoted in flashy music videos – we need informed discussions on uncomfortable subjects, such as the gender pay gap and FGM. Perhaps this is above the pop star remit. Perhaps poor, contradictory attempts to promote feminism does more harm than good.