Everyone is talking about Billie Eilish’s body again and therein lies the problem
If it feels weird to be talking about Billie Eilish’s body – regardless of whether it's positive or negative – that’s because it is. And yet, the internet can’t seem to leave it alone.
Billie Eilish graced the cover of British Vogue this week, and it’s all anybody can think, talk or tweet about since. Myself included – don’t worry, I definitely count myself amongst the Billie Eilish stans, I’ve been a convert ever since I watched her Carpool Karaoke episode with James Corden. I’m loath to admit, but it’s actually one of his best.
Back to Billie though.
Whether you’re a fan of the musician or not, you’re likely to have seen the furore surrounding her most recent interview, much of which revolves around her new “blonde bombshell” look. A world away from the singer songwriter’s usual uniform of oversized sweatshirts, bold prints and loud colours, the fashion magazine’s styling of the star (which was actually her idea) has definitely drawn a lot of public attention. And once again, conversation has drifted back to her body.
A topic that has been thrust under the limelight on more than one occasion, Eilish is famed for saying that she tends to favour baggy clothes as it affords her a certain sense of physical privacy. The 19-year-old has grown up in the spotlight since she was 13 when her song, “Ocean Eyes” dropped on SoundCloud and this was something she could keep to herself while her face and voice disseminated across the globe. “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick’, ‘she’s not slim-thick’, ‘she’s got a flat a**, ‘she’s got a fat a**’. No one can say any of that because they don’t know”, she said in an I Speak My Truth Calvin Klein campaign ad back in 2019.
Fast-forward to 2020, and a paparazzi photo of Eilish donning a tank top and shorts goes viral, essentially breaking the internet as people weren’t accustomed to seeing her wear anything so form-fitting. An outfit choice that really shouldn’t have had such an effect on anyone, many felt the need to commend Eilish for the look. And if that feels weird, it’s because it is.
And Eilish agrees. Admitting to British Vogue that she was unimpressed with people’s comments on the matter and that the whole thing made her feel “really offended”.
“It made me really offended when people were like, ‘good for her for feeling comfortable in her bigger skin’. Jesus Christ?! Good for me? F**k off! The more the internet and the world care about somebody that’s doing something they’re not used to, they put it on such a high pedestal that then it’s even worse.”
Quoted as saying that “it’s all about what makes you feel good”, Billie reiterated this sentiment over on her Instagram page where she reshared images from the magazine, encouraging people to “do whatever you want whenever you want”. Yes she looks great, and yes she’s made me want to dye my jet-black hair blonde (I probably won’t… no promises though), but talking about her appearance, whether positively or negatively, is not the point she’s trying to make.
She’s asking people to stop looking at her and start listening to her.
Feature image via @billieeilish.