Meghan Trainor has herself a smash hit in “Made You Look,” the second single on her fifth major album, Takin’ It Back. The album debuted at No. 16 on the US Billboard 200, and the aforementioned single is getting her more attention than any song has for Trainor since her 2018 single “No Excuses.” Fans seem to especially appreciate the way the album reflects Meghan’s commitment to stay true to herself.
Trainor’s catchy new hit is a blend of classic ‘50s and modern sounds, and the lyrics reflect a radical form of self-love. The song is inspired by Meghan’s experience coping with body image difficulties after pregnancy.
Encouraging all people, especially women, to embrace their physical appearance is in many ways positive. After all, God created each person with their own unique beauty. Trainor is attempting to use her platform to share what she has learned about security in your physical appearance. She says “I’m hotter when my morning hair’s a mess/’Cause even with my hoodie on” she attracts positive attention. While we should always be mindful to look at people as God does—judging them by their character, not personal appearance—associating beauty with a person’s most natural and genuine self is commendable.
Trainor sings that when she had “nothin’ on,” she “made you look.” Although Trainer says that this actually references an exercise she got from her therapist, where she’d look at herself for several minutes without clothes on to increase her self-image, it has sensual and inappropriate connotations. A desire to attract positive attention by revealing more of one’s body to another is not a healthy form of self-love.
Other sensual lyrics abound, as Meghan suggests that the person looking at her should “call up your chiropractor just in case your neck break.” She also mentions that the person will become infatuated with her once they get a “taste” and discusses her “14-karat cake,” which is a slang term for a big rear end. At best, the song promotes looking for romantic attention based off a person’s appearance. At worst it glorifies lust and encourages it.
The brands Versace, Gucci and Louis Vuitton are all mentioned, which could be viewed as a promotion of materialism (though that’s somewhat counterbalanced by her “morning hair” lyric mentioned above).
The official music video for “Made You Look” features popular LGBT TikTok stars JoJo Siwa and Scott Hoying, a reference to “allies” and background dancers who appear to be queer identifying.
Some of the dance moves in the video are also sensual, such as Meghan looking at the camera and licking her own finger or gesturing toward her body suggestively.
The nearly instant success of “Made You Look” is closely connected to—you guessed it—TikTok. People commonly use it as a song to put over videos of ridiculous outfits or costumes and outfit transitions, and it’s inspired a dance trend, too. Even Trainor herself has gotten in on the action.
I understand why it’s so popular on TikTok: It’s catchy. I certainly got it stuck in my head writing this, and it is making me feel pretty good about myself.
Unfortunately, the song directly contradicts a Biblical model of modesty, and completely misses the concept of inner beauty. Though we are happy for Trainor that she has come to terms with the way she looks, the sensual and almost narcissistic emphasis on her physical beauty in this song should raise a few red flags for conscientious listeners.
Marsella Evans is the Plugged In intern for Summer 2022.