“Thunder Thighs” Is The Body Positive Anthem You Need This Summer

Just wait until you hear the lyrics.

Rising temperatures tempt you to strip down to the bare essentials: a bathing suit, shorts and an airy sundress. But showing some skin can also dig up insecurities about your shape?—?especially when blazing days leave your most voluptuous parts sticky, sweaty, chafed or all of the above. Sure, it could be enough to make you want to hide in the A/C ’til fall, but not after you hear the sweet, body positive new single from Miss Eaves, also known as Brooklyn multimedia artist Shanthony Exum. “Thunder Thighs,” Eaves’ new track off her upcoming album Feminasty, due out on Aug. 4, is nothing short of fantastically empowering.

The track’s music video, directed by Exum and her friend April Maxey, features a wide variety of women. “We wanted to make a video that was very body-positive and representative of various people,” Exum tells NPR. “There’s plus-sized people, there’s people of color, there’s queer people?—?we just wanted to show everyone enjoying their body, having fun in the summer.”

Paired with the fact that Exum’s lyrics celebrate something many of us grow up feeling shame or embarrassment around, watching the video almost feels therapeutic.

Exum expresses her politically progressive and feminist art in a variety of forms including rap, photography, illustration, jewelry and graphic design. She told NPR she sees “Thunder Thighs” as “art reflecting reality.”

Exum explained:

“I’ve had a curvy body for my whole life. A lot of the things I talked about in ‘Thunder Thighs’?—?such as, like, wearing mom jeans or having your thighs touch and rub together, in the summer, getting ‘chub rub’?—?these are things I’ve experienced my whole life.”

She’s so not alone in that, and yet, “Thunder Thighs” may very well be the first time many women have seen bodies like theirs reflected back to them in a pop song and music video. That would explain the overwhelmingly excited reaction the artist has received since the track’s debut.

Exum tells NPR, “I’ve gotten a lot of messages from people who didn’t know about me before. Like, ‘I’m buying shorts for the first time!’ ‘I’m buying my first sundress!’ ‘I’m now feeling comfortable in my body to wear things that I felt I wasn’t allowed to wear.’”

While it may be refreshing to people not familiar with Exum’s other work, “Thunder Thighs” goes hand-in-hand with her overall goal. “I would say I want my work to make people imagine the possibilities, whether it’s like how the world can be more feminist,” she recently said in an Instagram post for the nonprofit initiative Sequin. “I want to help people open their minds, there are so many paths you can take and ways you can see things.”

It is also a natural extension of her bopo style blog, The Every Body Project, which serves as a platform for her original street photography featuring people of various backgrounds, ages and body types. She describes it as “an inclusive style blog whose main goal is to combat the negative body image issues that arise from the media’s narrow portrayal of beauty.”

“I just want to show through my art the various ways through which people can live a life, and celebrate all of them,” Exum explained to NPR. And for that, the progressive artist deserves all the applause.