14 Songs Celebrating Positive Body Image

In a society that is so focused on specific body types and encouraging young women to have this unrealistic Barbie Doll physic, it is encouraging to hear women singing songs celebrating positive body image.

Positive body image is not about fitting into any extremes. It’s about accepting your body type and looking after yourself. It’s about feeling good and healthy in your own skin.

There is a misconception that positive body image means accepting yourself if you are overweight or underweight. This is not exactly true. It is about accepting yourself for who you are and looking after your body.

Positive body image is about FEELING GOOD!

It’s not about focusing on numbers or calories or letting yourself away with doughnuts every afternoon because ultimately at the end of the day that won’t make you feel good.

To develop a positive body image you must:

  • First, love yourself for who you are now!
  • Second, do what you need to do to feel healthy, happy and sexy in your own skin!

I have long suffered from very low self-esteem when it comes to my body. My body weight yo-yos like no tomorrow. It wasn’t until I focused more on how I feel than how I look that I started to get control.

I can still have that delicious cake when I want to or splurge on a cocktail. But I am more aware of how I feel afterwards, especially if I start to over-indulge too often.

I also notice that when I consume sugar and carbohydrates several times in a row I start getting hunger cravings frequently, my moods more fluctuating as well as the standard muffin top starting to expose itself.

When you start to look after yourself more with a healthy diet and exercise regime with a focus on the mental benefits of how you feel, you will find that the physical benefits come naturally.

Music has such an empowering effect on our moods. One of the best ways to boost yourself into an empowered and ready to love yourself mindset is to surround yourself with positive people, affirmations, and music.

Without further adieu, here are:

1. Body Love Part 1 & 2 – Mary Lambert

“But the time has come for us to
Reclaim our bodies
Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral”

2. Beautiful – Christina Aguilera

“I am beautiful
No matter what they say
Words can’t bring me down
I am beautiful
In every single way
Yes words can’t bring me down
Oh no
So don’t you bring me down today”

3. Scars to Your Beautiful – Alessia Cara

“But there’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark
You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are
And you don’t have to change a thing, the world could change its heart
No scars to your beautiful, we’re stars and we’re beautiful”

4. Most Girls- Hailee Steinfeld

“Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful
Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable
Most girls, our fight to make every day
No two are the same
I wanna be like, I wanna be like, most girls”

5. My Skin – Lizzo

“Learning to love yourself and like learning to love your body is like a whole journey that I feel like every person, but more specifically, women, have to go through so I feel like doing this is a good way to kinda break through and kinda seal the last chapter of the “learning to love” and just loving..”

6. Me Too – Meghan Trainor

“Who’s that sexy thang I see over there?
That’s me, standin’ in the mirror
What’s that icy thang hangin’ ’round my neck?
That’s gold, show me some respect (oh ah) I thank God every day (uh huh)
That I woke up feelin’ this way (uh huh)
And I can’t help lovin’ myself
And I don’t need nobody else, nuh uh”

7. This Body – BAUM

“I got my tough, tough power
And I call this body my home, my home”

8. Thunder Thighs – Miss Eaves

“Thick thighs, sundress, I’m looking good”

9. Shameless – Lissie

“I stole your magazine
The one with the beauty queen on the front
I see her look at me
I swear that it is mockingly
What the fuck?
And you decide what I should like
But I don’t buy no hype
Like in the magazine
The one with the beauty queen on the front”

10. Flava – Princess Nokia

“You don’t know what it is to be me, and I don’t know what it is to be you. That is because we are made different from each other, but all girls are meant to shine. All girls are meant to be something special in this world, even if they’re told they’re not supposed to be…They might paint a pretty picture of your likeness but you are just as deserving. In fact, you deserve even more.”

11. Complicated – Demi Lovato

“I used to hold my freak back
Now I’m letting go
I make my own choice
Bitch, I run this show
So leave the lights on
No, you can’t make me behave”

12. I Am Not My Hair – India Arie

“Hey (hey)
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am not your expectations, no (hey)
I am not my hair
I am not this skin
I am the soul that lives within”

13. Pretty Hurts – Beyoncé

“Pretty hurts
Shine the light on whatever’s worse
Perfection is the disease of a nation
Pretty hurts
Shine the light on whatever’s worse
Tryna fix something
But you can’t fix what you can’t see
It’s the soul that needs the surgery”

14. Try – Colbie Caillat

“You don’t have to try so hard
You don’t have to, give it all away
You just have to get up, get up, get up, get up
You don’t have to change a single thing”

Three “Positive Body Image” Songs That Actually Aren’t

Source: Voltamax//CC0

Feeling unhappy with your body? Among women, this feeling is so common that some researchers refer to it as normative. In other words, being dissatisfied with how you look has become a typical part of being a woman in this culture. Perhaps it’s not surprising that we often turn to music to get us out of a body image rut. There’s nothing like a good dance party in your living room to get your heart pumping and raise your spirits. But some of the songs you might think of as body-positive actually contain some pretty questionable messages – messages that don’t line up with research on how to improve body image.

1. All about that Bass, by Meghan Trainor

Admit it – this song is crazy catchy! And some of the lyrics are spot-on when it comes to healthy body image messages. Trainor calls out magazines for their egregious use of Photoshop on women’s bodies, and she assures her listeners, “every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top.” This is a strong start, but Trainor loses this positive momentum when she explains how she came to accept her own curves. “My mama she told me, ‘Don’t worry about your size,’” Trainor explains. So far, so good. But then we learn why women shouldn’t worry. It’s because, “boys like a little more booty to hold at night.”

Your body shouldn’t have to meet a man-approved standard before you can feel good about it. This is what researchers call body objectification. Messages like this teach us to think about our bodies not in terms of what they do or how they feel, but in terms of how they look to other people. And body objectification is correlated with depression, anxiety, and eating disordered behaviors.

Not to pick on Trainor too much, but there’s another disappointing aspect to these lyrics. Body shame is bad for everyone, no matter their body size. But Trainor does some skinny-bashing in her lyrics (and in the video), using the term “skinny bitches.” Let’s all be on the same team here, ladies. We should never insult the shape of other women’s bodies, and certainly not to feel better about our own.

2. Baby Got Back, by Sir Mix-a-Lot

Sir Mix-a-Lot’s “Baby Got Back” hit the scene in the midst of mass media’s worship of extraordinarily thin female bodies and the destructive influence of the “heroin chic” look. The song felt like a breath of fresh air to many when it was released in the 1990s, and was credited for pushing back against a dominant beauty culture that prizes white women’s bodies more than the bodies of women of color. But if you really think about the lyrics, they’re no great favor to women. Just like the lyrics in “All about that Bass,” we’re told that only one body type is acceptable for women, and that this body type is determined by men’s sexual attraction to it.

Source: Bruce Mars/Pexels/CC0

3. What Makes You Beautiful, One Direction

I know, I know. Many fans find One Direction positively swoon-worthy. And who wouldn’t want those pop stars crooning to you about how beautiful you are? But these lyrics leave a lot to be desired. After noting that everyone else can see how beautiful a particular woman is, One Direction tells us that this woman can’t see her own beauty. There’s nothing surprising about this narrative, given how many women struggle to like what they see in the mirror. But there’s a major problem with the message of this song and it’s all summed up in the line “That’s what makes you beautiful.” For One Direction, it’s precisely a woman’s inability to see herself as beautiful that actually makes her beautiful.

What a terrible message! How are women to reconcile that lyric with all the other advice they hear suggesting that confidence is sexy? Despite all the talk of body positivity in our culture, this song’s lyrics suggest that men don’t really want women to feel body-confident – because that would be unattractive. Women should not have to rely on others to determine whether their looks are worthy of love. On top of that, we need to stop the mixed messages that encourage women to be confident and love themselves, but then penalize women who do so by calling them arrogant or vain.

Perhaps I’m over-analyzing here. (I’m a psychologist, it’s what I do!) But given the flood of truly body-positive songs released in the past few years, why not demand more from our lyrics and stick with songs that send healthier messages? My favorite is the classic “Unpretty” by TLC. Here’s a list of more recent suggestions by Billboard, some of which I find much more in line with a genuinely helpful type of body positivity.

Happy dancing!

Source: Bruce Mars/Pexels/CC0

In the last four years, Grammy winner Megan Trainor went from a shy body-conscious teen to a renowned pop star and body-positive activist.

Having low self-esteem and a belief that her looks and shape wouldn’t allow her to become a star, Trainor had no expectations in 2014 during the release of her single, “All About That Bass”.

So, it’s no surprise that her mega-success left her stunned.

WATCH: Adele Invites Fan With Autism on Stage to Sing ‘Someone Like You’

The Massachusetts native was raised in a music loving family. Her father, Gary was an organist for the United Methodist Church in Nantucket where the young Trainor regularly performed. The 22-year old’s father told CBS in a recent interview that he was aware of his daughter’s talents as early as age seven.

In her teenage years, Trainor’s insecurities left her immersed in fear she would never achieve her dream of becoming a pop star. Instead, the young artist opted to stay behind the scenes and landed a publishing deal writing songs for other artists, including Rascal Flats.


Two years ago when record executive L.A. Reid heard her new song, “All About That Bass,” he got in contact with the young artist and immediately signed the soon-to-be star.

When asked if her empowering hit for full-figured females was a put-down of thin women, Trainor was matter of fact. “I didn’t bash skinny people. I was just, writing for myself.” By writing for herself the artist unintentionally wrote the words full of courage and self-esteem that many young women needed.

MORE: Lane Bryant Challenges Victoria’s Secret By Redefining Beauty for Bigger Women

The Nauset Regional High School graduate recently revisited her hometown high school to sing her hit and talk to young people who might be struggling with similar issues.

With it’s catchy tune and empowering lyrics, “All About That Bass” has left millions singing Trainor’s words of self love. She told CBS, “I get messages all the time. ‘I hated myself, I didn’t want to go to school. I was so uncomfortable, and now I love myself. I was in a really dark place until your song came out.’”

Trainor says that after that kind of response she intends to write more songs with powerful messages.

Her new album, Thank You, set to be released on May 13, will reveal the details of what Megan Trainor is all about next.

(WATCH the video below)

We’re All About That SHARING… Click.

14 Musicians With Body Positive Messages

The last few years have shown great strides in the body positivity movement, with the phrase on the lips of everyone from Oprah to Reese Witherspoon. Companies like Aerie, publications like Sports Illustrated, and television shows like America’s Next Top Model have all embraced the curve as well.

The music industry is no different, with fresh, exciting artists making their voices heard — and their iconic forebears getting their due as well. Take a look at this list of some amazing artists whose songs feature empowering messages of body love.

Alessia Cara

Recent best new artist Grammy winner Alessia Cara has been known for her body-positivity since 2015’s “Scars to Your Beautiful,” which decries the way the society negatively affects people’s sense of self-esteem. The hit encouraged listeners to remember they were enough just as they were. Other songs like “My Song” and “Wild Things” both bolster her positive energy, celebrating individuality in the face of hostility and finding a place for yourself in the world.

Sample lyric: “There’s a hope that’s waiting for you in the dark/ You should know you’re beautiful just the way you are.” (“Scars to Your Beautiful”)

Check out: “Scars to Your Beautiful,” “My Song,” “Wild Things”

Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld had made a name for herself as an actor at a young age, then added pop music to her repertoire in 2015 after Pitch Perfect 2. Two of her most popular singles, “Love Myself” and “Most Girls,” espouse self-love and a strong sense of sisterhood, expressing pride in being a woman, knowing your own body and feeling good about it.

Sample lyric: “Most girls are smart and strong and beautiful/ Most girls, work hard, go far, we are unstoppable” (“Most Girls”)

Check out: “Love Myself,” “Most Girls”


As much as CupcakKe is known for her raunchy, boss-babe lyrics, she’s also endearingly self-reflective and body-positive, especially in songs like “Biggie Smalls,” where throughout the entire song, she urges not just herself but everyone to look past the airbrushing and be kind to their bodies and themselves. She even gets inspired by model Ashley Graham on the track, chooses Burger King over broccoli, and drinks soda like a hobby. It’s time to live your truth like CupcakKe.

Sample lyric: “Reaching for my food is the only time I stretch/ Can’t you see I love me and I’m feeling my best” (“Biggie Smalls”)

Check out: “Biggie Smalls,” “Self-Interview”


It’s impossible to talk about body positivity in music without talking about Lizzo, who has become one of the reigning queens of the topic. In the intro to her song “My Skin” on her 2015 album Big Grrrl Small World, for example, she discusses how learning to love one’s body is a challenge every person — specifically every woman — goes through, but wonders how we get from the “learning to love” to just loving? Lizzo asks people to join her on her journey to answer the question, making herself simultaneously vulnerable and approachable in the process.

Sample lyric: “The most beautiful thing that you ever seen/ Is even bigger than what we think it means/ Reflections in my bloodstreams” (“My Skin”)

Check out: “Good as Hell,” “Scuse Me,” “My Skin”

Meghan Trainor

​Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” became a body-positive anthem almost instantaneously when it came out in 2014. While it came under fire for its “skinny bitches” rejoinders, Trainor has since served up a number of songs that are more inclusive, from “Me Too” to “Woman Up” and others, urging all listeners to look in the mirror and take joy and pride in what they see with unapologetic bravado.

Sample lyric: “Roll your bumper and whine slow/ Show them you can shine, glow/ ‘Cause you got the light now” (“Woman Up”)

Check out: “All About That Bass,” “Me Too,” “Woman Up”


Rising singer-songwriter BAUM made waves last year with her song “Hot Water,” a song she has said is about understanding her queer sexuality for the first time. Her new single, “This Body,” tackles catcallers, reclaiming her body for her own and thereby encouraging others to do the same.

Sample Lyric: “I’m not your gumdrop, ‘cause I walk alone/ I got my tough, tough power and I call this body my home.” (“This Body”)

Check out: “Hot Water,” “This Body”

Miss Eaves

One of the jams of last summer, Miss Eaves’s “Thunder Thighs” is an ode to being thick in the thighs, owning it and loving it. Yes, there’s “chub rub” in the summer, she says, but so what? It’s time to take pride in being juicy. Other tracks on her 2017 album Feminasty celebrate self-pleasure, smiling when you want to not when someone random on the street tells you to, dismissing the fuckboys forever, and more.

Sample lyric: “Big Butt/ These pants are tight enough/ High cut/ Want ‘em to cover my gut/ Mom jeans all day why you mad tho?/ Mom jeans all day why you mad?” (“Thunder Thighs”)

Check out: “Thunder Thighs,” “Hump Day,” “Ms Emoji”


Indie pop/country artist Lissie’s 2013 hit “Shameless” should be a staple of the body-positivity movement. In an angsty, lo-fi tirade, she tears apart the systems that try to mess with her identity. In equally empowering songs from her forthcoming release Castles, out March 23, she’s also unafraid to voice her desires for love and success.

Sample lyric: “I stole your magazine/ The one with the beauty queen on the front/ I see her look at me, I swear that it is mockingly/ What the fuck?/ And you decide what I should like/ But I don’t buy no hype” (“Shameless”)

Check out: “Shameless,” “Blood & Muscle,” “Best Days”

Princess Nokia

Known for her dedication to what she calls urban feminism on her podcast Smart Girl Club, New York-based rapper Princess Nokia’s swaggering, defiant “Tomboy,” from her acclaimed album 1992 Deluxe, honors herself, her style and her body as it is. Other songs like “Brujas” and “Flava” exalt powerful women as well, and are definitely worthy additions to any empowering playlist. The “Flava” video features a stunning body-positive intro: “Who taught you how to hate yourself?” Nokia asks. “How did it get this far? Everything about you is magnificent, but you don’t even know it.”

Sample lyric: “With my little titties and my phat belly/ I could take your man if you finna let me/ It’s a guarantee that he won’t forget me/ My body little, my soul is heavy/ My little titties be bookin’ cities all around the world/ They be fucking wit’ me/ I’m a Calvin Klein model, come and get me” (“Tomboy”)

Check out: “Tomboy,” “Brujas,” “Flava”

Demi Lovato

Since departing her Disney roots, the pop singer has made herself a force to be reckoned with in sharing the truth about body positivity. Whether she’s on Instagram or in the studio, Lovato has been open about learning to love herself on both good days and bad. Her songs like “Confident” and “Sorry Not Sorry” inspire others to follow in her footsteps.

Sample lyric: “Now I’m out here looking like revenge/ Feelin’ like a ten, the best I ever been/ And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt/ To see me like this, but it gets worse” (“Sorry Not Sorry”)

Check Out: “Sorry Not Sorry,” “Confident”

Mary Lambert

Singer-songwriter and spoken-word artist Mary Lambert has consistently been praised for her uplifting work, some of which doesn’t just ask but implores people to love themselves and their bodies. In particular, her gripping duo of tracks “Body Love Part 1” and “Body Love Part 2,” from her 2013 album Welcome to the Age of My Body, combine her poetry with song, and the result is goosebump-inducing.

Sample lyric: “Our bodies deserve more than to be war-torn and collateral/ Offering this fuckdom as a pathetic means to say/ ‘I only know how to exist when I am wanted.’” (“Body Love Part 1”)

Check out: “Body Love Part 1,” “Body Love Part 2,” “Sum of Our Parts”


A darling of 2000s R&B, the four-time Grammy winner continues to bring her soulful voice to the genre. India.Arie has discussed her desire to make music for self-care and emotional wellbeing. She definitely does this on two of her signature tracks, “Video” and “I Am Not My Hair,” both essential listening for anyone hoping to love themselves from the inside out.

Sample lyric: “I’m not the average girl from your video/ And I ain’t built like a supermodel/ But I learned to love myself unconditionally/ Because I am a queen” (“Video”)

Check out: “Video,” “I Am Not My Hair,” “Private Party”


How could we talk about body positivity without mentioning Queen Bey? From “***Flawless” to “Pretty Hurts” and “Check On It” to her reflective 2014 video “Yours and Mine,” Beyoncé’s lyrics are regularly a source of affirmative body-positivity and self-esteem. By learning to love herself in the public eye she has also enabled millions to do the same; that is, to love her and to love themselves.

Sample lyric: “Just another stage/ Pageant the pain away/ This time I’m gonna take the crown/ Without falling down, down, down” (“Pretty Hurts”)

Check out: “***Flawless”, “Pretty Hurts,” “Check On It”

Missy Elliot
Missy Elliot paved the way for ferocious body positivity and self-love beginning with her first studio album, 1997’s Supa Dupa Fly, through 2002’s “Work It,” 2004’s “I’m Really Hot” and countless others. She purposely messed with typical portrayals of bodies, gender norms, and sexuality norms in her songs and videos, too. An undeniable force, her work remains classic to this day. We may not have many other performers on this list without her.

Check out: “I’m Really Hot,” “Work It,” “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)”

10 Workout Songs to Spark Your Body Confidence

Corbis Images

While working out is generally considered a physical activity, it requires a lot from-and contributes a lot to-your mental state as well. To that end, this playlist focuses on songs that will make you feel great inside and out. More specifically, it’ll power you through your workout with steady focus on the joy and privilege of being yourself. (Not everyone can be a size 2! Meet the Fit Female Athletes of the ESPN Body Issue who are redefining body standards for women everywhere).

Of all the tracks in the playlist below, Mary J. Blige’s “Work That” might put it best, as the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul urges listeners to “work what you got.” Throughout the mix, both parts of her rallying cry are emphasized: to love what you have and to flaunt it too. You’ll find an ode to women from One Direction, an anthem about acceptance from Pink, and an aptly-titled training track from “Shut Up and Dance” hitmakers Walk the Moon.

While the focus of the playlist remains steady on self-confidence, the genres jump around from rock to pop to rap. Moreover, the songs include a wealth of tracks that vary between upbeat lyrics and uptempo rhythms. In short, you should find everything you need below to pick up both the pace and your spirits.

Fifth Harmony & Kid Ink – Worth It – 101 BPM

Eve – Who’s That Girl (Main Pass) – 97 BPM

Meghan Trainor – All About That Bass – 134 BPM

Mary J. Blige – Work That – 94 BPM

One Direction – Girl Almighty – 170 BPM

Pink – F**kin’ Perfect – 92 BPM

Beyoncé & Nicki Minaj – Flawless (Remix) – 136 BPM

Will.I.Am, Miley Cyrus, French Montana, Wiz Khalifa & DJ Mustard – Feelin’ Myself – 97 BPM

Walk the Moon – Work This Body – 135 BPM

Mika – Live Your Life – 104 BPM

To find more workout songs, check out the free database at Run Hundred. You can browse by genre, tempo, and era to find the best songs to rock your workout.

  • By Chris Lawhorn

I’m thinking about your body

Oh baby I’m thinking about your body
Oh baby I’m thinking about your face
Pull up a seat let’s have a drink and talk
How’d I find you outta all the women in New York
You walk and talk so refined, picture you being mine
I think it’s time, but I don’t wanna play mine
So I step to the rear just a little to see if you follow
Then I know it’s a give and take situation
My time’s very valuable, don’t wanna waste it, but I can taste
Meaning that the future can hold a lot for us
Things we discuss make Dr Ruth blush, keep it hush
Put you on a pedestal, treat you like the queen you are
Never be too far apart from your heart
I can feel her in the party even though I don’t see her
Her vibes and mine intertwine like locks
At the table I watch
She’s gonna step in my vision, appear like a genie
Ready to grant my wishes
Future mother of my seeds indeed we must breed
And bring forth the cream of life with no fights
Last through the stormy weather, still together
‘Til death us do part was in my heart from start
But then there’s the pain you get before you gain
Hold on tight, don’t wanna sleep alone tonight
She reflects my light, in she I see heaven
When making love I escape from hell on earth
Intoxicating, I fiend for the touch
Hush hush is how I keep it, she can’t know I’m a lush
Thinks she knows what I like, reads my mind like a book
See I’m thinking ’bout her body ‘cos she got me hooked
I’m thinking ’bout her body, curves make my vision blur
Her conversation got me intoxicated
Trippin’ like booby traps, she made my heart collapse
Perhaps this is not what I really need
Maybe I might be speedin’, in her hands I’m feedin’
But moms raised no fool, keep it cool and don’t drool
Is it mutual?
My head is filled with thoughts
How’d I find her outta all the women in New York?

Beauty standards and body image have always been two controversial topics for discussion in our society. Although everyone can experience societal beauty demands, young girls and women, in general, are more likely to feel this pressure than men. Not only that, but social media has caused people to compare their looks and appearance to others, causing people to have low self-esteem and less confidence in themselves. As a way to uplift women, let’s look at five songs that promote body positivity.

1. “Queen” by Jessie J.


A very underrated song, in my opinion, “Queen” is one of J.’s singles from her 2018 album R.O.S.E. This upbeat song declares that every woman should love their bodies and think of themselves as goddesses and queens. It also reminds us that we should not listen to the haters that put us down for our differences, but instead, be bold in in our skin. I guarantee you, this song will leave you feeling more confident in yourself by the time it’s over.

2. “Video” by India.Arie

Another underrated song in my opinion, “Video” is told from Arie’s perspective of how she views herself in comparison to society’s standards of beauty.

In one lyric Arie states, “I’m not the average girl from your video.” In other words, she doesn’t comply with the consistent image society likes to push in media outlets. However, a few lyrics later she says, “But I learned to love myself unconditionally because I am a queen.” In other words, she does not have any problems with the way she looks and thinks of herself as a queen.

I recommend this song to anyone who needs a reminder that you do not need to look like the people you see in music videos to be considered beautiful.

3. “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera Source

One of Aguilera’s older, but more popular songs, “Beautiful” is an undeniable classic reminding all of us that we are beautiful no matter what other people may think of us. Unlike the other two songs mentioned, this song is slower in tempo and not as upbeat. However, Aguilera’s vocals help bring out a more emotional response which will make people either cry or feel empowered by the song’s conclusion.

If you start to notice that you are comparing yourself to others or putting yourself down more, this song will help you remember the beauty within you.

4. “Scars to Your Beautiful” by Alessia Cara Source

A song that will put a smile on your face, “Scars to Your Beautiful” is a great song for those who need something to make them feel good about themselves. Like, “Video,” this song does not shy away from talking about serious issues concerning society’s expectations of what they feel is beautiful.

However, the chorus is quick to remind us that we do not have to change who we are to be accepted by the world. Instead, remember that our flaws/imperfections are not what defines us, but regardless, still make us beautiful.

5. “Most Girls” by Hailee Steinfeld Source

This recent pop song looks at the positive qualities that make girls worth rooting for.

In one lyric of the song, Steinfeld states, “Most girls are smart, strong, and beautiful.” And follows that up with, “Most girls work hard, go far, we are unstoppable,” which I believe are affirmations that all girls should live by. In a world that likes to put down women for their bodies, feelings, and hard work, it is nice to have a song that says otherwise.

Overall, I hope this article opened you all up to new songs to listen to and share with others who need these reminders.

Viewing music videos emphasizing the thin ideal female body has been shown to have a negative impact on body image in young women, including increased body dissatisfaction, social comparisons, self-objectifications and body size discrepancies. However, it is unclear whether the changes in body image outcomes are due to the highly objectified images of women representing the thin ideal or the lyrics of the songs. This study aimed to explore the effects of music lyrics on body image during exercise in physically active female university students. A repeated measures design was used; 29 women completed two conditions in which they were asked to walk or run for 30 minutes while listening to music. In one condition, the negative music lyric condition, songs referred explicitly to women’s appearance, objectified the female body, or referenced the thin ideal. In the neutral music lyric condition, the songs did not refer to appearance at all. Participants completed state measures of mood, body satisfaction, self-objectification and body appreciation prior to and following each of their walks/runs. Rating of perceived exertion (RPE) was assessed following each walk/run and total distance traveled was recorded. Results indicated a statistically significant time effect (all ps < 0.05) for all outcomes except self-objectification, with women reporting feeling more confident, physically attractive, appreciative of their body, happier and feeling less fat, anxious, depressed and angry from pre- to post-exercise following both conditions. There were no effects of condition and no interaction effects. There were no differences between condition for RPE or distance travelled. This study highlights the positive effects exercise has on body image and mood outcomes and suggests that exercise may buffer the possible negative effects of objectifying lyrics. Music that is motivational, even with appearance-focused lyrics, may not be harmful to body image in exercise settings and may be used to keep women happier and more positive about their body following exercise.

Songs about body image

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