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Image / Editorial

‘I feel you watching’: Billie Eilish gives empowering speech about body-shaming

by Grace McGettigan
11th Mar 2020

Singer Billie Eilish opens up about her experience of body shaming and questions the public’s sense of authority over her looks

Billie Eilish is relatively new to the mainstream music scene, but she has experienced more judgement about the way she looks than many people face in a lifetime.

The 18-year-old, who already has five Grammy awards under her belt, has been open about feeling “hated”, adding that her signature style of baggy clothes is her way of hiding her body, of trying to avoid sexualisation and staying private.

But the California-native gets judged anyway. In an interlude video during her recent concert in Miami, she asked the crowd, “Do you really know me? You have opinions about my opinions, about my music, about my clothes, about my body.

“Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it,” she continued. “Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching… always. And nothing I do goes unseen.

“So while I feel your stares, your disapproval, or your sighs of relief – if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move.

“Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips?

“The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted?

“If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut.

“Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why? You make assumptions about people based on their size. We decide who they are. We decide what they’re worth.

“If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me? What that means? Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?”

Fans have praised the singer for speaking out about body-shaming and have described her speech as ’empowering’.

Feature photo: Billie Eilish via Instagram

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