And girl, you wouldn’t believe, but Gen Z might save us all.
I love this. The other day I was lamenting something fatphobic that happened or was said that I needed to debrief with my oldest, and my husband said, “Of course, do that if you want to, but I actually think she’s got it. That message has landed with her.”
I did ask her about it later, and she very succinctly said, “I noticed that too. It was wrong.”
Hopefully we’ll also get to advocacy and ways to use our privilege to speak up against some of these fatphobic messages and moves, but in fact the message has landed. Thank goodness for Gen Z, and Jax, if you read this, thank goodness for you!
Your assessment that this song really feels like it's calling to millennial adults specifically is so correct! My initial reaction to the song was, "Does Victoria's Secret still have the same cultural weight for young women now as it did for our generation?" I honestly don't know the answer to that, but if it doesn't, I wonder what the equivalent is or if there is one. The young woman who wrote this song is old enough that clearly it did at some point in her life, but I'm not sure if that's still the case currently. I appreciate the message of the song, but the way it kind of boils down fatphobia's source as one company that has only existed for a few decades feels limited to me. But I guess that's because it doesn't speak to me personally as much. Being too fat to fit into any mall clothes, I didn't grow up wanting to look like a model or a popstar so much as I just wanted to look like other teenage girls who could actually shop at most mall stores, lol.
I feel so cynical, but I assumed this song was secret viral marketing for the docu-series on VS thats on Hulu (I think?) right now? The timing was sus to me. I am jaded.
I dunno - I watched the video just now and the main thing I noticed is that the two visibly fat dancers are not visible at all until 1:15 in a 3 minute song, and then they are in the back until the last minute of the video. I found that really disappointing and I think it undermines her message. Like, lip service to actual body liberation – with the “body positivity” message really being about helping straight-size women feel better about themselves? I think this is similar to what you wrote in your piece about the lack of clarity around her outraged reaction at (probably) calling a thin person fat and not like, actual fat positivity/validation of being fat, flat, or anything else. Totally agree that I wish there were more men (including fat men!) dancing and people wearing other kinds of clothes. All that is to say that I guess I have high standards, and I don’t spend much time on this part of Instagram…?
Unrelated – but I’d love to see a discuss thread or post about food- or nutrition-oriented books for kids that are not steeped in diet culture, if they exist? (Similar to the Body Positive Bookshop posts.) This came up in a group that I’m in and there were not any suggestions! Maybe these are still a unicorn…
i'm very unimpressed by this song. i think that visually, the array of bodies dancing is pretty in line with beauty / diet culture ideals. i understand that thin women also feel that pressure-- but as a small fat woman who dances, i'm like where are all the thick dancers here??? you're signing a song about body diversity without any true acknowledgement of how it looks in real life, let alone showcasing it proudly. it seems very...tone deaf or not understanding the world beyond oneself.
(and just for context - i am a millenial mom :). maybe i always knew on some level that victoria's secret wasn't all that and we can all go create new cultural contexts instead? i've always been busty so i could never shop there even when i was a relatively small clothing size many years ago. anyway - point is, i'm the target demographic but still very much not feeling this song.)
in terms of actually honoring body diversity - i recently watched lizzo's "watch out for the big grrls" on amazon prime and i ate it up!!
HARD AGREE on the age breakdown for how this song is received. It's not my type of music, but I'm happy it exists. My 16 year old found the song reductive and said it "didn't even have anything new to say." I love that she felt like this take was stating the obvious, and I am grateful to the cruder versions we had in the 90's ("Doll Parts" as an example)- and by cruder, I mean that we needed bigger, blunter instruments to break through thick barriers, and event he concept of doing so was only available to teens who were already buying into some alienation from the standard culture. Anti-consumerism/sell-out culture coupled with the Beauty Myth gave me a start for this, but now, my kids get to hear fat people, trans people, and disabled people engage on whether it's "brave" to expand the "male gaze" to include more types of bodies, or what owning your sexuality could even mean in this culture. I'm glad the discourse is moving, you know?
I have so much hope for my six-year-old granddaughter. Thank you, Jax.
Love. Love. Love.