If you listen to Meghan Trainor at all, you may have spent the last few weeks jamming to her new single “NO”, which is the first single off her upcoming album “Thank You”. Recovering from the backlash surrounding the idea that “All About That Bass” promotes a skewed perspective of body positivity, Trainor starts her sophomore run with by tackling a different hot topic: that of consent.
Last Monday, she released the music video for the single. And let me tell you– if a picture is worth a thousand words, then this video is worth a myriad of them. To be fair, the video isn’t anything new or extreme. The song itself sounds like a throwback to the tunes we were jamming to in the early 2000s, and Trainor’s spacesuit trenchcoat and sick dance moves are approvingly very reminiscent of that. In between that, there are a few shots of ladies in scanty black mesh. It’s nothing that everyone hasn’t seen a million times, but the seemingly mixed signals got me thinking. In a song about denying a chance to interested prospects, I’m sure there’s more than a few people who will see the music video and be quick to say, “What a tease!” It may be a little confusing for a society stuck in the “Hotline Bling” culture– here’s a group of ladies looking super fierce and sexy, but the message they’re telling you is that they aren’t interested.
“All you ladies listen up/If that boy ain’t giving up/Lick your lips and swing your hips/All you gotta say is/My name is no…”
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t advertise what’s not on the menu!” I really shouldn’t have to say this in 2016, but some people have trouble grasping the concept: it does not matter whether you think someone is a tease or not. That argument is too dangerously close to the rape culture idea that “she was asking for it.” It doesn’t matter what a person is wearing, if they were flirting with you yesterday, or if you think they should just give you a chance “because you’re a nice person.” Just because someone is all gussied up or goes to the club to have a good time with friends does not mean they have to acquiesce to the intentions of others. “No” means “no”– end of story.
Whatever their intentions are, you are solely responsible for your own actions. Be respectful. If you think someone is giving you mixed signals, then do the mature thing and just ask. If it’s not the answer you want to hear, keep calm and carry on. I know rejection can hurt, but no one is obligated to have mutual feelings for you.
“I was in my zone, before you came along/Now I’m thinking maybe you should go…”
You should be given the right to feel safe, and you are not obligated to give somebody a chance if you’re not feeling it. That does not make you a bad person, nor should you feel bad about standing up for yourself. Meghan sings, “don’t want you to take this personal,” and I think that is often the sentiment. Especially when meeting someone new, it’s not a personal slight to be uninterested. However, too many people let others walk all over them, simply because they are afraid of how they will be perceived by saying no. Kindness is always the best option, of course, but it is also mutual. You don’t have to be mean or rude, but keep in mind that anyone who resorts to anger or name-calling after you have let them down gently is not worth your time.
“You need to let it go.”
I know that Meghan’s song is written from a perspective of a woman rejecting the advances of a man, but I think this is a message that everyone needs to hear. Guys and girls alike need to be told that they don’t have to feel pressured into anything they don’t want. And that doesn’t go for just relationships either. Have the confidence to tell others ‘no’– whether that’s in friendships, family, work, or whatever. If something or someone makes you feel uncomfortable, you have the right to say so. Anyone who makes you feel bad for sticking up for yourself or who tries to guilt you into something does not have your best interests in mind.
I hope Meghan Trainor’s “NO” will encourage others to be confident in saying their own “no’s.” Jam along to her power anthem below and remember to be a person of integrity– stick up for yourself and respect the boundaries of consent.
All photos courtesy of Epic Records.