Okay, I’ll admit that I didn’t start watching Meghan Trainor’s new music video with much optimism. I have never, even for a minute, called myself a Meghan Trainor fan. Ever since All About That Bass started making a splash, I’ve been pretty vocal about my disgust for her double standards and fake feminism, but her newest video and single, “Dear Future Husband,” has got to take the cake.
The song is catchy enough, hiding behind a wonderful beat and perfect pop vocals, but the lyrics automatically set me off.
Beyond “if you’ll treat me right/I’ll be the perfect wife/Buying groceries,” a set of lyrics gross enough in itself, I found the song framed men as inherently hypersexual, incompetent partners, who owe their women shiny things in exchange for sexual favors.
Uhm, excuse me?
First off, the song completely frames human sexuality in a male context, as if women should never (gasp!) be sexual beings. “Dear future husband,” she sings, “If you wanna get that special loving/Tell me I’m beautiful each and every night.” “After every fight/Just apologize/And maybe then I’ll let you try and rock my body right.” Oh, don’t listen to what I have to say, future husband! Don’t even listen to yourself if you think I’m wrong and you’re hurt. All you care about is sex, right? Men don’t have feelings!
The song also tips into borderline-abusive relationship zone, as Trainor insists that he should “know we’ll never see your family more than mine.” After all, “why disagree” when she’s clearly right in every fight? If she knows better, he should just let her do what she wants, because that’s how you treat your wife right.
Ideals of manhood, masculinity and chivalry, and how they affect men and relationships is really rarely discussed. Hypersexualization hurts all men, but especially asexual men and men who have been victims of child abuse and rape. It hurts teenage boys who think they have to have wildly high sex drives, and learn that sex is some sort of heteronormative currency that you win by giving a woman what she wants. It teaches men that sex is a necessity, and a prize to be won and showed off. That, in itself, is dangerous.
The relationship that Trainor discusses in this song does not value openness or healthy sexuality. It is a system of bartering to get what one is supposed to want. This isn’t the type of relationship I could ever survive.
Dear future husband, can’t we just treat each other like real people?
If you’d like to watch the music video yourself, you can find it at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ShlW5plD_40