A lot of artists have produced well-intentioned songs dealing with body image and self-esteem as of late. Though these tracks have a good feel and move the music industry in the right direction, several of them miss the mark: John Legend’s patronizing “You & I,” Bruno Mars’s subtly sexist “Just The Way You Are,” and even Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass,” which veers into the realm of skinny-shaming and man-appeasement. However, Colbie Caillat hits all the right notes with “Try” – instead of pushing women to respect themselves in a certain way, she tells them to love themselves without condition, no matter what anyone else thinks.
Caillat ends several of her verses with the line “do you like you?” By asking that question, she shows that when it comes to loving yourself, it does not matter whether your boyfriend likes you, whether your parents like you, or whether your friends like you. Caillat makes a clear point: you need to like you. Because, in the end, our bodies belongs to us. Though others might see the outside, we must deal with our bodies during every second of the day, when we wake up in the morning and when we go to sleep at night. Caillat, in an understated yet sincere way, promotes self-love and responsibility – even though others can lend us support, it is up to us to cultivate ourselves into self-accepting individuals, both on the surface and beneath it.
The lyric “you don’t have to try so hard” exemplifies how Caillat chooses her words with care. The “have to” reveals that women do not have to put on make-up, but if they want to, they should go right ahead. Instead of constraining women with a certain ideal – you’re only beautiful if you’re modest, you’re only valuable if a man tells you so – Caillat gives women agency over their actions, ensuring that others’ opinions hold no sway in their decisions. Everyone should appreciate this song’s message because it speaks to the type of independence that possesses the most power of them all: the form of freedom that comes with self-ownership.
Colbie Caillat’s “Try” wins me over because it supports loving yourself, as well as loving your body. In a day and age that stresses loving others, we must recognize that a humble yet honest self-love allows us to experience compassion for people outside of ourselves. We must work from the inside out – not just with body-positivity, but with an all-encompassing appreciation of the self – in order to move forward and into the lives of those around us.
What do you guys think? Like or dislike the song? Do you interpret it in a different way than I do? After spending a good portion of my summer reading and writing about eating disorders, I got so emotional the first few times I watched the music video. I almost cried, but they were tears of joy and understanding, I think. Anyway, if you want to check out my reviews of The Color Purple by Alice Walker, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, or Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, you can do so here, here, and here respectively. Hope you all have a great Sunday and a fabulous start to next week!