By: Nicole Chedraoui
We all know the name Billie Eillish. The 18 year singer/songwriter and 5-time grammy winner, known for her eccentric style, baggy clothes, and electric green hair. Getting her start up recording her first single at just the age of 13, Eilish is the definition of young talent. Recording and producing every single one of her albums from her childhood bedroom with her brother Finneas, Billie is praised for her deserving reputation of humility, hard work, and remaining an unproblematic queen. So you could imagine the shock that fans of the uncontroversial singer experienced when they saw her face plastered all over drama websites and Buzzfeed alike. However Eilish is not to blame for the sudden hysterics the media has centered her in, she was simply and unfortunately another victim of body shaming in Hollywood.
Allow me to paint you a picture of the absolutely ridiculous situation that took place. It was early october, 6 months into a literal global pandemic, and I don’t know about y’all, but our main priority right now shouldn’t be how we look, but I digress. Reaching nearly 80 degrees in the sunny city of Los Angeles, Eilish found herself ditching the baggy apparel she so normally hibernates in, and *gasp* decided to show some skin. It was on her brisk walk to lunch in downtown LA that the Paparazzi bombarded Eilish, cameras flashing, and crude remarks being made left and right. Eilish, standing in a casual spaghetti strap tank top and long sweatshorts, was left there to deal with groups of men following her around and berating her for her outfit choice–with just her shoulders and upper back exposed, I know, how scandalous. However users of Twitter seemed to take this picture as an opportunity to absolutely destroy not only her appearance, but her self confidence. With one of the most trending comments being from a man in his late forties, who made the remark: “In 10 months Billie Eilish has developed a mid-30’s wine-mom body.” Yep, he really said that. To an 18 year old girl. And this is just ONE example of the disgusting remarks that were made on her body.
Of course stan Twitter was having absolutely NONE of this, and fans of the beautiful singer immediately clapped back harder, defending her right to wear summer clothes when it’s hot, and many victims of this type of bullying have come out about the harm and dangers of making these comments on young impressionable minds. This whole situation really accurately brought to life the day-to-day struggle girls all around the world face, the idea of labeling and shaming a girl for how she decided to dress her own body. As you could imagine, feminist icon Billie Eillish was not having any of this, especially if this situation triggered her innocent fanbase of young girls. If you follow Billie at all, you know how big of a heart she has, and how she uses her platform to raise awareness to not only problems like these, but various other human right injustices. So Billie Eilish, being the mature and empathetic 18 year old she is, decided not to fight hate with hate, and instead bring justice to all of the other girls, all of her fans who have gone through this, and fight hate with power. Power and love.
She did this by first subtly flexing her power. A simple picture of her smiling in front of her shelf of Grammy’s–and while some may call this self absorbed–I call it a victimized woman reclaiming her power as a valid figure in Hollywood. She followed that with a video of YouTuber Chizi Duru talking about normalizing real bodies. “Y’all gotta start normalizing real bodies, okay,” Duru said. “Not everybody has a wagon behind them, okay? Guts are normal—they’re normal. Upper Bodies sag, especially after breastfeeding. Instagram isn’t real.”
While this is just an example of a recent event in which Billie has been body shamed, the singer has a long and terrible issue with this form of bullying. In an interview with Dazed, she spoke about how she would get comments about how her style was too provocative, that it showed too much, at just the budding age of 13. So it’s no surprise that, as soon as she started grabbing more attention from the public eye, she began to become self conscious. With her years of trauma with men body shaming her, Eilish convinced herself baggy clothing was a safer route for her to take. In an advertisement last year for Calvin Klein, Eilish explained that she wears oversized outfits because then “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 butt,’ ‘she’s got a fat butt.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know,” she explained. However misogyny and disgusting behavior lives on, with fans now hating on her baggy clothing, calling her a prude with no style, a paper bag. It seems that no matter what she does the hate prevails, and in her words, “Like, dude. I can’t win. I can-not win.”
Perhaps the most admirable and powerful stance Billie has taken against these body shamers is the creation of her short film called “Not My Responsibility,” which was a short video interlude that was shown at all of her concerts before they got cancelled by Covid-19. In this video, Eilish is uncharacteristically dressed in a tank top, addressing the age-old dilemma of women never being good enough. Below is an excerpt:
“If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a tease. Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. While I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move. The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted? Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?”
So today, I leave you with these words Billie so eloquently put. Apply this to those around you. And in case you haven’t heard it in a while, you’re beautiful. Remember to remind and empower those around you, and never, ever bring someone down for their body.