Natural Grocers Comes to Fargo

Today is a special day in Fargo because our very first natural grocery store has opened its doors! (To be fair, we do have three small-scale markets with natural items, but this is our first big operation.) Today marks the grand opening of Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage in Fargo — the first in our state, housed in the former Office Depot building on 45th and 13th.

I know, most of my readers are probably all like, “What’s the BFD? Just go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s!” You see, friends, Fargo has neither. I have heard that Whole Foods has per capita requirements in all locations where they open stores, and Fargo is a bit shy of those (which is kind of a crock because we have tons of rural towns nearby that travel in for shopping).

The closest we have to natural and organic shopping are bulk items at Costco, the small but still growing natural selection at Target, those three small natural markets, plus the Internet and farmer’s markets (but those are only open for about three months out of the year anyway).

The point is, there really was nowhere we could go to find everything on our list. I would often have to split my shopping list up between all of the aforementioned locations, and that’s a drag. This store is really kind of a big deal, and it makes me so happy to see that Natural Grocers believes in our market and is offering a one-stop shop for all my crunchy needs.

I was lucky enough to have been invited to a sneak peek event and soft opening this past weekend, and I was part of a small group treated to a talk, complete with complimentary treats, by the store’s corporate and local staff and first dibs on shopping at the new store.

We were fed totally delicious chicken curry lettuce wraps (get the recipe HERE), yogurt berry parfaits and green tea lemonade. Mmm.

I learned about the stores’ history, values and offerings, and I can honestly say I am really impressed. Far more than I actually expected to be.

natural grocers inside

Here are a few things I just love about this store:

  • Each store has a nutritional health coach that customers can meet with for totally FREE to learn more about natural living and eating.
  • Every single item sold in the store is free of artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners and preservatives. This means I don’t have to worry about label reading and can trust that everything is safe.
  • ALL produce sold is organic. What had never occurred to me before is that at other stores where both organic and “regular” produce is sold, there is a high likelihood of them coming into contact and cross-contamination, which means the organic produce is not really organic anymore. Here, I can be confident that it really is.
  • All of the meat sold is naturally raised, with no hormones, antibiotics or byproducts in the animals’ feed. Just another way I can tell they really care about high quality in everything they sell.
  • They offer frequent and FREE cooking demos and classes, and for every four you attend, you get a free $10 gift card to the store.
  • They also support many sustainable initiatives, such as being totally bagless, and following green building practices when they can (in our case, this meant moving into an existing building instead of tearing it down and building from scratch).
  • They are passionate, informed, and most importantly to me, friendly folks dedicated to natural living. I felt totally loved and welcomed in the store.
  • They have a really vast selection of products, from regular food and grocery, including fresh produce, meats and dairy, shelf-stable cupboard items, to vitamins and supplements, pet products and beauty and personal care items.

The store also claims that they are the low price leader in the industry, and I hear that often, so I always compare prices before believing that. As I was roaming the aisles during this event, I snapped photos of random items that I knew other places sold so I could see if their statement holds up.

Here’s what I found. A few price comparisons on randomly selected items:

  • Organix cat food: $1.59 for 6 oz at Natural Grocers; $1.59 for 3 oz at PetSmart (NG wins big!)
  • Evol burritos: $1.99 at both Target and Natural Grocers
  • Giovanni 2chic shampoo: $7.43 at Natural Grocers; $6.42 at Swanson
  • Blue Diamond Cheddar Cheese Nut Thins: $2.99 at Natural Grocers; $3.06 at Swanson
  • Organic ground beef: $7.99/lb at Natural Grocers; $20 for a 3-pack at Costco (Costco wins on this one)
  • Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat tea: $4.39 at Natural Grocers; $3.79 at Swanson
  • Health Valley cereal bars: $4.89 at Natural Grocers; $4.89 at Target; $4.79 at Swanson
  • Pacific Natural Foods Organic Free-Range Chicken Broth: $4.19 at Natural Grocers; $4.44 at Swanson
  • Go Raw Simple Flax Snax: $4.15 at Natural Grocers; $4.69 at Swanson
  • Orgain Nutritional Shake: $11.55 at Natural Grocers; $13.29 at Swanson
  • NOW Foods Liquid Multi Gels 180 ct: $36.09 at Natural Grocers; $29.69 at Swanson
  • Nature’s Way Echinacea Goldenseal, 180 ct: $20.65 at Natural Grocers; $14.54 at Swanson
  • Seventh Generation Disinfecting Wipes: $6.59 at Natural Grocers; $3.59 at Swanson; $2.99 at Target
  • Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dish Liquid: $3.49 at Natural Grocers; $3.59 at Swanson; $2.99 at Target
  • Wellness cat food cans 5.5 oz: $2.15 at Natural Grocers; $2.09 at PetSmart
  • Organic red raspberries: $2.99
  • Green kale bunch: $1.50

Based on my “research,” Natural Grocers definitely wins the price battle on some items, but not all, and most were awfully close. I wouldn’t call them the leader, but I will say that their prices are good, and that’s good enough.

Here’s what I got in my first store haul. I went small to begin with, but I definitely look forward to going back and loading up on more. They’ve got me as a new customer for sure.

Those caramel squares were spectacular, and that bunch of kale made yummy kale chips when I got home

This post is not sponsored, but I did receive a gift card for attending the store’s sneak peek opening event. I was not obligated to write anything, but wanted to anyway because it was too sweet not to.

Let’s Talk About Feminism

I’m coming out of the closet and admitting to being one of those f-words. Yes, I am a feminist. Hear me out.

Feminism kinda gets a bad rap sometimes, and I totally get why. There’s a fear of the label. There’s fear of sounding too “extreme.” It’s often thought of this radical movement full of man-haters and bra burners. But I gotta tell you, gals, feminism’s actually pretty great if you take it for exactly what it is. What it’s really all about is equality. Equality for all … meaning men AND women.

My Start in Feminism + Roxane Gay

I’ve been a feminist ever since college, I think, but never really knew that one word described it. I was overthinking what feminism was, like I assume many other people do. But since I joined my book club circa 2008, I started realizing how much sense feminism made. The other girls in my book club and I agree on what books to reach each cycle, and without trying to, many of our book choices centered around social and cultural stories. One of the most recent books we read was “Bad Feminist” by Roxane Gay. And though I knew a lot of her points, the way she worded them in this book was like a lightbulb for me. A chorus of angels sang, the heavens opened, the trumpets sounded and it all came together. The longer I sat and digested her words, the more they stayed with me. Even though it’s been over a month since we finished the book, I keep thinking of it in everyday scenarios.

We also got the honor of seeing Roxane speak in person. She came to the University of North Dakota in April to be on a writer’s panel and to do a reading, and so our book club packed up in our cars and headed to Grand Forks to see Ms. Gay. She was amazing. So relatable, like any of your girlfriends. Admittedly shy and awkward in person but well spoken in the written word… as are most writers.

I wanted to share some of the wisdom I took away from both her talk and her book, and write a little more about my own thoughts on that f-word.

The Best of Bad Feminist

What I love most about Bad Feminist is how real Roxane is in it. She admits that even she sometimes contradicts traditional feminist ideas. For instance, she admits to loving dirty rap that blatantly objectifies women because those beats are so catchy. (I so identify with her in this point.) It goes back to not being perfect. We’re humans. Not one of us on this planet are perfect, and we need to cut each other some slack. Period.

I really love how she defines feminism as a whole. That it is flawed because the people representing the movement are flawed. Here are some of my favorite excerpts. 


This unrelated statement on toxic friendships also stuck out to me, and I had to type it because it was broken up on different pages: “If you are the kind of woman who says, ‘I’m mostly friends with guys,’ and act like you’re proud of that, like that makes you closer to being a man or something and less of a woman, as if being a woman is a bad thing… It’s OK if most of your friends are guys, but if you champion this as a commentary on the nature of female friendships, well, soul search a little.” And “If you feel like it’s hard to be friends with women, consider that maybe women aren’t the problem. Maybe it’s you.” “I used to be this kind of woman. I’m sorry to judge.”

When Roxane mentioned in the book that an organization called Fix the Family actually has a list about why families should not send their daughters to college, I was so curious what these reasons were, I had to look it up (the list is here). I originally planned to address some reactions to their points in this post, but it would quickly spiral out of control, so do yourself a favor and check it out for yourself. There are some gems in it. (As in, head-scratching, ludicrous statements.)

In her book, Roxane also offers commentary (that is hilariously relatable) on pop culture, from Blurred Lines, to 50 Shades of Grey, to Girls, Hunger Games and Tyler Perry. Seriously, I cannot recommend this book enough.

I’m Not a Feminist, But …

One of the things Roxane discussed in her talk at UND was the statement so often heard from both men and women. “I’m not a feminist, but…” As if they’re tossing aside the label of feminism and can’t be associated with “that” movement. But whatever follows that statement, is often a feminist statement. It might be something like, “…I wish women got paid the same amount as men.” Because of the feminist stigma, people feel a need to downplay their feminist, aka, equality, ideals.

One other interesting point Roxane brought up was how she responds to blatant anti-feminist statements from younger men versus older ones. The gist was that older men are often so set in their school of thought that we can’t do much to change their minds, but young men are still impressionable and there’s still hope. They simply need a little direction. This is why it’s so important for families to raise their sons and teach them how to treat a woman. Letting boys loose in the world with no direction can often mean their education comes from the media, peers and porn. None of those need to be anywhere near the foundation of a proper education. This is something I’ll be keeping in mind should I have children.

Other Random Rambles About Feminism From Yours Truly

Women have it hard sometimes (not that men don’t have problems, but they’re very different problems). We’re tossed aside or marginalized in mainstream media, though this slowly seems to be changing. Women like Tina Fey, Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy are proving that women can be funny, talented and the shining star of a movie without a man sharing her spotlight. And yet, just as it seems things are changing, we take steps backward. Did ya’ll hear about those leaked emails between Sony and Marvel about why women shouldn’t be the stars of superhero movies?

One thing I’ve been super aware of recently (originally pointed out to me by Katie), is that women are so often sexualized by men…yet shamed for it at the same time. If a woman is confident in her looks or sexuality, she’s stuck-up or slutty. It’s hard to win.

And in the corporate world, as Sheryl Sandberg discusses in Lean In, we still haven’t gotten past accepting assertive men as leaders, but the same from a woman is often considered bitchiness.

Oh, and how many times are our emotions blamed on PMS?

I won’t get much into the rape culture discussion because it’s a slippery slope and a blog post in itself (plus I’ve already rambled too much), but it’s sad to see that too often when stories break about women being raped, people (men and women both) don’t believe them, thinking the story is fabricated for attention or some sort of revenge (and sometimes that may be the case, but why must we jump to that conclusion?) or they ask what she was wearing (as if showing some cleavage or leg warrants being assaulted) or how she was acting (are we not allowed to flirt without it being an invitation?).

I recently stumbled upon a TedxTalk video that I loved – this speaker has some really stellar points.

But what is really disheartening are the comments on the video. It’s clear that many people are still completely missing the message, and that hate is still rampant. One of the tamer comments says “Sorry, I am totally against feminism. I don’t believe for even a second that in order to promote women rights you need to take away male rights….” Once again, this frankly sucks that people actually believe that is the concept of feminism. That is so far from what feminism stands for. The tolerant feminism anyway, because remember, we can’t hold the few radical, outspoken ones to dictate the movement as a whole. Read the rest of the comments and you’ll see just how much work we have left to do. I had to stop reading at a point because I became so disheartened, and then enraged, at what was being said I couldn’t do it anymore.

Tearing Each Other Down Instead of Lifting Up

Sadly, a lot criticism of women comes from not men, but women ourselves! I think this is because of a few reasons.

1: We’re often so critical of ourselves that we end up playing the comparison game, which is a very dangerous game to play. Our insecurities come out in the form of anxiety, the inability to accept compliments, putting up walls, jealousy and cattiness.

Even though we’re held to impossible standards, have so many pressures and expectations, so many women tear each other down rather than band together and lift each other up. We are definitely not past the Mean Girls epidemic, even as adults. Though I can’t speak to this personally, the mommy wars kind of terrify me. Women judge and hate on those that breastfeed and those that don’t. Those that use cloth diapers and those that use disposable. Who cares? Can’t we each decide for ourselves what is best for our families and butt out of others’ business?

2: Part of the reason for this is good. It’s because we live in a society that allows for freedom of speech. We are allowed to have thoughts and feelings, and to express them publicly. Secondarily, in the age of the Internet and social media (and blogs!), it has become so easy and accessible to blast our feelings out there that we’ve lost our filters. It’s easy to be outspoken behind the screen of a computer.

This, to me, is also not feminist in any way. By attacking other women, how are we helping stand up for women? Love and acceptance should be the answer here, not hate and judgement.

(Reading this back, I do wonder: Does this make me a part of the problem because I judge those that judge? As if I’m perfect, which obviously I am not. See how tricky this is?!)

Even though strides have been made in career-life balance expectations for women, we still cannot win, on either end it seems. Decide to be a stay-at-home mom and you’re subject to criticism for not wanting to be a breadwinner and having no “calling.” Decide to go back to work after having a baby and you’re criticized for not wanting to be with the kids. And let’s not even talk about the maternity leave problems in this country. Even though women have no choice but to be the sex that carries, births and feeds children, we’re left at a disadvantage re-entering the workforce afterward. It’s something that’s weighing on me as I’m approaching that stage of life myself, and I have no clue what I’ll do if and when the time comes.

The Bright Side

I will say this though: Despite all of these points, and the glaring inequality in the U.S., I am incredibly thankful to live in a country that still treats us as humans. The playing field may not be totally equal, but we do have basic rights. We can vote. We can leave the house without the company of another man. We (legally) can wear whatever we like in public and show our hair. We are allowed to speak, work and have opinions. We aren’t in fear of war or genocide in our streets. Though the U.S. has a long ways to go, there are countries out there in far worse shape than us, and my heart goes out to those women that are fighting a much bigger fight.

By the way, I’ve come across a few solid blogs that discuss feminism in our lifestyle niche, so shout outs to The Lady Errant, Feminist Feline, Belle Brita and She is Fierce. Also, in a recent post on Alyssa Goes Bang, I really felt like Alyssa captured this whole discussion into one simple sentence: “I believe men and women are of equal merit to society.” Amen, girlfriend.

What do you think about feminism? Have you read Bad Feminist? Seriously, I want to know, so let’s talk. Just please be respectful when expressing your opinion. Any hateful comments will be removed.

I’m one of those skinny b*tches

(Apologies if the title of this post offends you. I did it not to be offensive or mean, but to make a bigger point. I am one of those “skinny b*tches” you hear referred to in the media. My story is one you may not have heard.)

A few weeks ago at work, we were given free company T-shirts to wear to work events. Such is my luck, all the smalls were out and I was stuck with a men’s medium. When I tried it on, it looked like one of those giant night shirts, big and boxy, loose and almost to my knees. The first time I had to wear it, I tried to tuck it in creatively to hide the bulk, but I still felt self-conscious and jealous of all my co-workers who looked awesome in their appropriately fitted tees.

One of my neighbors does mending, so I took the shirt to her to see if she could bring it in so it fit better. As I explained that it was too big, she gave me a concerned look and said, “You’re too skinny anyway. What do you weigh?” I told her 125, and her reply was something to the extent of, “Soaking wet though, right? You’re far too small.” I was embarrassed and uncomfortable, and it made me feel even more self conscious and aware of my awkward body.

I kind of mumbled, “Yeah, but I’m not sure what to do. I eat plenty,” and scurried off. What she didn’t know was that I ate four pieces of cake that day. And if I told her that, she probably wouldn’t have believed me anyway.

These are the kind of exchanges that happen to me often. And I cringe every time my weight gets brought up. Any woman can attest that someone else pointing out your bodily flaws does not feel good.

I have been working on this post for months now, and I’ve been terrified to publish it for fear of sounding insensitive. But my goal with this post is twofold. 1) To share my side of the story. 2) To share my hopes that we can stop any kind of movement embracing a certain body type and instead focus on being our own versions of healthy without worrying about anyone else. I want to get to a place where we can all be accepting of each other, big or small, busty or flat, bootylicious or stick straight, or even somewhere in the middle.

My arms were kinda cut, and I was athletic, but my waist would never be anything but tiny.

My story

I had the same 108-pound lanky body all the way from age 12 to 26. I grew a booty sometime in there, but that was literally the only place that seemed to grow. My high school classmates would call me “too skinny,” “anorexic,” “stick,” “gross” and other hurtful phrases. At lunchtime, I would get asked if I was going to throw up later. I would be asked what it’s like to be anorexic. I was told to eat something. I was the Calista Flockhart of small-town northern Indiana.

My mom made me an appointment to talk about my weight and find out if I was normal or too underweight and if I had any health risks. The doctor said I was teetering right on the edge of normal and underweight, but wasn’t too terribly concerned. He advised me to eat more protein and try nutritional shakes to gain weight. I did, and nothing happened. Out of desperation, I went out of my way to eat fatty foods like fried chicken, mounds of greasy bacon and so many Doritos and Twinkies. I gorged myself hoping it would make me gain so the teasing would stop and I’d look like the other girls in my class. Still nothing. Not a single pound. I felt helpless.

Literally, I couldn’t gain weight if I tried.

Yet even in high school, when I was at my skinniest, I also held the record for most number of push-ups when the Army came to recruit. I was very active, in tennis, cheerleading, dance and more. That didn’t help either.

As a fellow blogger Shane said in her own post about being the skinny girl, “As difficult as it is for the majority of people to lose weight and keep it off, it’s the same struggle for me to put it on.” Ditto, girlfriend.

No matter what I did, I couldn’t win. And I so badly wanted to be liked without being defined as that stick girl. To vulnerable, shy teenage Amanda, those comments were just as hurtful as being called fat or ugly. I became too worried about how others viewed me and not how I viewed myself. I was sad that people thought I was grossly thin. It wreaked havoc on my self-esteem. I was never good enough, except to my closest family and friends (a.k.a. the people who knew how much I ate).

It got easier when I started college and moved out of state. I was still small, still ate a complete crap diet and completely stopped any physical activity. I was grossly out of shape and unhealthy, but still, 108. Fewer people seemed to care, but the words from high school still haunted me.

Around age 26, my metabolism screeched to a halt and I suddenly started gaining weight. Years earlier, I had stopped weighing myself though because that 108 number never changed. But eventually the pants I had been wearing since high school started getting tighter, then suddenly couldn’t even make it past my hips.

Though I was alarmed at first, I was glad to be filling out and finally at a healthy weight. To maintain this weight and not keep gaining (because finally, I know what it’s like to not be able to eat anything anymore), I switched to a healthier diet. Of course, I also wanted to develop better eating habits I could pass on to my children and provide more well-rounded meals for me and my husband in the meantime.

Now, at age 29, and just shy of being 5’5, I weigh about 125. When I got to this weight AND was eating much better, I actually started to feel really good about myself. For the first time in a long time, or maybe ever, I felt normal. Until that neighbor’s comment, which took me right back to those hurtful words in high school.

Even now, when I am at the ideal weight for my height, even now when I make good food choices but still struggle with my junk food addiction, it’s not good enough for some people. I may not be perfect, but I try, and for the most part, I’m healthy. But I shouldn’t have to justify that to anyone.

Even innocent comments hurt

Now, for every negative skinny comment, there is also a well-meaning one that is just as hurtful. It’s the “OMG you’re so small! I wish I were as skinny as you.” Or the “You’re such a skinny Minnie!” Or the “It must be nice to eat whatever you want and not gain weight!” And even though I know the people who say those things think they’re being nice, that’s not how I take it. To me, it’s embarrassing because you are pointing out my body and comparing it to yourself or someone else. I start overanalyzing and wondering if by “so skinny” you secretly mean “too skinny” or “unhealthy” or “icky.” It makes me feel uncomfortable and self-conscious, and I never know how to reply.

I often end up putting myself down to justify why being skinny is not all sunshine and rainbows. But that does no good either. Really, any comment, regardless of intent, about my body that isn’t an actual compliment makes me feel not good enough. So please: Tell me that I look pretty or that my scarf is cute instead.

As much as you might think that I can wear anything, that’s far from the truth. Even though I’m small, I’m not proportionate. My waist is teeny, torso is long, legs are short, bust is small and hips are shapely. When shopping for swimsuit separates, I get an XS top and a medium bottom, and even then, medium bottoms still don’t hide the cellulite (yes, skinny people still have cellulite). And buying jeans? Nothing fits just right.

I was in the best shape of my life when I played tennis, but even with muscle, I still couldn’t break 110.

The grass is always greener

I feel particularly left out of today’s culture because we’re surrounded by inspirational weight loss success stories. Don’t get me wrong, those are great! I know that many people struggle with obesity and food addiction, and I applaud their efforts to live a healthier lifestyle. And in a world that relies on fast food, overly processed snacks and convenience, it’s no wonder so people many face struggles with food.

While it’s not hard to find stories of people who have lost mounds of weight, it feels like the world (and sometimes the individual) just wants to see them skinny, and they strive for an ideal body as defined by the media and society’s standards. I often wonder how many of them are doing it for the right reasons. I wonder if they have the wrong perception of what it’s like to be skinny. Thing is: Losing weight does not mean you will be happy. Even once you achieve whatever size you’re striving for, there will always be something you can pick yourself apart about. No matter the size you wear, people will always find something else to criticize you for.

The story that is left out of most of the media these days is the story of someone who struggles with weight from the other end. We’re so focused on celebrating weight loss, but it’s not always a good thing. What about the people that actually need to gain weight? The people who do have eating disorders, or maybe the people like me who are naturally small but still have issues with food? I know they’re out there, but I haven’t seen many of them.

Real medical issues

A friend of mine growing up was born with cancer PNET (primitive neuroectodermal tumor) and is missing a lung because of it. She received even more comments about her weight than I did due to the way her body looks from that. And even though she’s probably the “skinniest” lady I know, she’s a beautiful, caring, kind person. But like me, she heard many hurtful things about her size when she could do nothing about it.

Too-small women can also deal with other setbacks in life simply because of their size. Ballerinas often don’t get their periods because they work so hard and have to maintain a small body. But even regular, everyday women, have reason to worry about their futures.

After I wrote my first post about being the skinny girl, Kelly from another blog and I ended up emailing back and forth, sharing our own similar stories. She actually enlightened me to an entirely new and very real concern that she faces for being too skinny, and that’s having children. Her doctor “diagnosed” her with a rapid-fast metabolism, and she has tried everything to gain weight. Her lung even collapsed because of her size. No other reason. And now, she’s not sure if she will be able to conceive children or provide the proper nutrients for a baby, let alone carry the weight of one inside her. All for no reason other than being naturally skinny.

One thing she said to me that is better than any other way I can word it is this: “Telling a skinny person that they need to be quiet when she talks about trying to gain weight (for health reasons, such as myself) is just as rude as somebody saying, ‘Hey whale! Eat more salad!’”

For 10+ years, both Kelly and I have felt like no one else understands when all we hear is that we are too small.

Skinny shaming

The past few years, there has been a new movement of women embracing their curves. Which is great, in theory. Curvy women are beautiful, and I know that big girls got bullied just like I did. But skinny women are beautiful too, and everyone in between. Yet so many of these “movements” still focus in on one particular body type as being right.

“Zero is not a size.” “Real women have curves.” “Big is beautiful.” Does that mean that if you aren’t a size zero, you’re not a real person? Or that if you have no curves you’re not a real woman? Or that if you’re small, you’re not beautiful? I know that these campaigns mean well, but to someone who once was a size 0, it feels like they’re saying that being naturally thin is wrong and ugly. Or at least that’s how I always took it.

Big girls being ridiculed for their weight is nothing new, but their voices are rising and fat-shaming is slowly becoming less acceptable. But now, the term “skinny shaming” is coming to light, and some even call it reverse discrimination. I’m not sure what to call it, but as a skinny person, I’m glad we’re starting to have a voice. We’re a very misunderstood group, probably because we’re a small group (no pun intended).

The “other side”

I know that there are more severe health risks for overweight individuals than for underweight ones, and because so many more people struggle with obesity, we simply hear more of their stories. But when I first started drafting this post, I didn’t completely understand the other side because I had never lived it.

I felt marginalized as a skinny person because I was called stick and gross as a teen, and people thought I had an eating disorder when I didn’t. And because people still call me out on being “too skinny,” I felt attacked. The first time I ran across a post titled, The Myth of Skinny Shaming, I was infuriated and felt completely misunderstood.

Certainly being small (and in this case, I mean naturally thin, not seriously underweight) isn’t a privilege?! But then this article changed my mind. Particularly, this line: “I’ve never been asked to pay more for a seat on an airplane – because the seats were designed with my body type in mind.”

And then I got a new perspective. While some individuals will probably always comment on my body for one reason or another, it is true that mainstream society still values small over large. Small within reason, anyway. So maybe we don’t have it so bad, us skinny but healthy people. And what am I doing worrying about what other people think of me anyway? I’m an adult now and have far better things to do.

Why I’m NOT ‘All About That Bass’

That being said, there is no doubt in my mind that pop culture and the media play a HUGE role in the way naturally skinny girls are viewed. Heck, the way everyone is viewed. We are all stereotyped, aren’t we? And that leaves groups of people very misunderstood.

This summer, the breakout hit was Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass.” It was catchy, seemed light-hearted and fun. But I hated it the moment I first heard it. I couldn’t help but notice the slew of double standards and contradictory lyrics. And then when everyone was singing the song praises for being body-positive, I wanted to scream.

While the song has a few lyrics that I do genuinely think are positive, I will never get over these lines: “boys like a little more booty to hold at night,” “all the right junk in all the right places,” “I’m bringing booty back,” “Go ahead and tell them skinny bitches that. No I’m just playing I know you think you’re fat.”

These lines play into the same issues I have with “Real women have curves.” Those lyrics seem to insinuate that women need to make men happy, and therefore you must have a curvy booty or else you’re not desirable. And the “no I’m just playing” line is so passive-aggressive.

For the record, not once did I ever think that I was fat. I’ve always been ultra aware of my size. Let’s not make assumptions, Meghan.

Thankfully, miss Megs did get some backlash for this song. As my bestie and reporter friend wrote in her own review in our newspaper, “I’m all for mamas teaching their daughters that their weight shouldn’t determine their self-worth, but not with the hook that boys prefer a certain body type.” Amen sistah.

In looking up more analyses of the song, I found many, but none held the same weight that this post did on Jenny Trout. And as one of the commenter stated, “Anything that uses the phrase ‘skinny bitches’ isn’t body positive in my opinion.”

Now, I should state for the record that as much as I hate All About That Bass, I should probably also hate Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda. But I don’t. Because Nicki does not even pretend that her song promotes body positivity in any way. It’s all about the big booty, that’s all, no apologies. But Meghan’s song is traipsing along as a total marketing lie, and that’s the issue I have with it.

We are all beautiful, regardless of our size

I’m not trying to sound like a lunatic on her soapbox, or an expert on body image, by any means. I may not know what it’s like to be overweight, but I know all too well what it’s like to be underweight and criticized for that. So let’s push aside all of the physical and talk about, and worry about, deeper issues. We all have meaning and every woman on this planet is beautiful regardless of how she looks from the outside. “Too fat” or “too skinny.” Celebrate you just as you are.

Finally, I know that I am more than a number on the scale or a label. No matter what my body looks like, I am defined by far more than that. I am a daughter, wife, sister-in-law, niece, aunt, co-worker, volunteer, writer, animal lover, friend, and human being. I am me, and that is good enough.