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In the few years that she’s been in the public eye, Billie Eilish has cultivated a trademark image by sticking to her uniform of baggy clothes, a look that has been emulated by countless fans. The 18-year-old Grammy winner is finally commenting on public interest on both her body and style.
Earlier this week, Eilish kicked off the North American leg of her world tour in Miami that included a powerful message about body shaming. Between sets, a video of the “Bad Guy” singer stripping off her layers of clothing was projected to the audience. While her fans screamed in delight, Eilish’s voice is heard off-camera, addressing the often-paralyzing watchful eye of her critics.
“You have opinions about my opinions, about my music, about my clothes, about my body," Eilish said. “Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it, 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.”
As the star continues to remove her sweatshirt and tank top, she discusses the pressure she feels to change herself for approval. At a young age, Eilish is already aware that there are people who objectify her body at any chance.
"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?...” she is heard asking. “If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it.”
The video concludes with Eilish asking a few last questions.
“Is my value based on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?”
Although fans have always praised Eilish for being an authentic artist and influence, the video has resonated with the star’s female fans who are struggling to navigate the world of body politics in young womanhood.
“She is a beautiful and powerful woman and not just someone to be sexualized!” one fan tweeted. “The amount of bravery this part of the concert took inspires me to be unapologetically myself.”
“Billie Eilish’s body shaming speech is everything everybody needs to hear! I wish I was a teen when she came up she would’ve given me so much strength!” another added.
The video is more than just a strong message for fans, it’s also an intimate look into Eilish’s personal struggles and relationship with her body.
Earlier this year, Eilish told Gayle King during a pre-Grammy special that she suffers from depression and suicidal thoughts. The singer addressed her unhealthy relationship with her body and how she uses fashion to cope.
“Me and my body's relationship has been the most toxic relationship you could even imagine,” she explained to King. “The way that I dress has made that relationship so much better. It's less about 'My body is ugly, I don't want you to see it'. It's more about, 'I'm not comfortable wearing this, I'm comfortable wearing this’.”