In the span of 24 hours, Meghan Trainor released, took down, denounced, and reposted her music video for “Me Too” — a single off her new album, Thank You, which comes out this Friday, May 13. The singer claims that the original video purposefully shrank her waist in such an egregious way that she couldn’t let it stay up, which makes sense, given that the accompanying song is all about being empowered enough to love yourself.
Trainor explained her decision to take down the video via a May 9 Snapchat story, addressing her fans directly:
“I took down the YouTube video because they photoshopped the crap out of me, and I’m so sick of it,” Trainor says, referring to a dance sequence where her waist was apparently retouched to look slimmer than it really is.
(We assume she’s using “photoshop” as a catchall term for video retouching done with special effects software such as After Effects, since Photoshop is specifically designed to manipulate and retouch still photographic images, not video. We also assume that “they” are some combination of Epic Records — Trainor’s music label — and the specific editors who worked on the video, though her accusation is vague.)
The singer goes on to say that she “had a bomb waist” the night she filmed the video, that she “never approved” the final cut, and that she’s embarrassed by the outcome. At one point during the Snapchat story, Trainor provides extra commentary with a line of superimposed text that reads, “Cried all morning lol hate them.”
Trainor’s reaction is hardly surprising, especially considering that her breakout single, 2014’s “All About That Bass,” is a self-confidence anthem that celebrates bodies that are larger than the typical media norm. And make no mistake: The difference in how Trainor’s body looks between the first video for “Me Too” and the one now on YouTube is astonishing. Pay special attention to the size of her waist in the side-by-side photo she posted to Instagram:
But some people are responding to Trainor’s apparent commitment to promoting self-confidence and being “all about that bass” with more skepticism than celebration. In fact, some are downright wondering if the whole waist-shrinking mess might just be a publicity stunt designed to make Trainor more sympathetic.
As Kelsey McKinney points out at Fusion, Trainor is no stranger to photoshop controversies, and her fans are generally voracious about pointing out possible retouching, as happened in response to a recent Seventeen magazine cover featuring Trainor. “If the Seventeen cover drew such a backlash from Meghan Trainor’s own fanbase,” McKinney writes, “then how did a photoshopped music video get through all the levels of post-production analysis — and then be watched by half a million YouTube viewers — without Trainor knowing?”
But why would Trainor attempt such a stunt? Some people suspect that it’s a simple bid for publicity tied to the fact that Trainor started streaming her new album on Apple Music a week prior to its official release, to little fanfare. If you believe the age-old idiom that there’s “no such thing as bad publicity,” it’s hard to discount the fact that this controversy puts eyes right back on Trainor and her album before its official release on May 13.
If Trainor truly was blindsided by this retouching job, there’s no doubt she’s justified in feeling horrified by it; it’s a really, really bad job. If it’s merely a publicity stunt to generate buzz for her new album … well, I wrote about it, so mission accomplished. Even if it means martyring yourself on the pyre of improbable beauty standards, calling attention to one of the entertainment industry’s more corrosive and persistent problems isn’t the worst hoax she could pull.