Claiming her space. Billie Eilish opened up about the double standard of facing criticism for a “tame” bikini photo after becoming a champion for body positivity.
The 18-year-old Grammy winner spoke candidly about her relationship to her own body in the Spring/Summer 2020 issue of Dazed magazine — and had some choice words for body shaming trolls. After posting a photo of herself wearing a bathing suit on vacation earlier this year, Eilish admitted that she felt like it wasn’t possible to please every part of her audience.
“I saw comments like, ‘How dare she talk about not wanting to be sexualized and wear this?!’” she recalled. “It was trending. There were comments like, ‘I don’t like her anymore because as soon as she turns 18 she’s a whore.’ Like, dude. I can’t win.”
Eilish has become known for wearing oversized clothing and in May 2019, the “Bad Guy” singer explained the reasoning behind her signature look. “Nobody can have an opinion [on my body] because they haven’t seen what’s underneath,” she said in a vulnerable behind-the-scenes video for a Calvin Klein campaign. “Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-think,’ ‘she’s not slim-think,’ ‘she’s got a flat a–,’ ‘she’s got a fat a–.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”
At the time, fans of the “Everything I Wanted” singer rushed to show their support for her fashion choices and her protection over her own body. “The fact that Billie Eilish wears big baggy clothes so that no one can make assumptions, judge, or body shame her makes me love her as an artist and as a person even more,” one fan tweeted after hearing Eilish speak her truth. Others said it broke their hearts that the Los Angeles native felt the need to cover her body “just to avoid you miserable people who like to body shame for NO REASON.”
While she’s not apologizing for taking ownership of her body, Eilish admitted to Dazed magazine that hiding behind baggy clothes has only added to her already complex feelings about body image. “There was a point last year where I was naked and I didn’t recognize my body ’cause I hadn’t seen it in a while,” she said. “I would see it sometimes and be like, ‘Whose body is that?’”
Eilish has become “a bit more OK” with her self-image since that moment, but still sees room for improvement. Though she reserved the right to change her signature look at any moment, the “Lovely” singer recognized that updating her image could bring even more criticism than she faces already.
“If I wore a dress to something, I would be hated for it,” she concluded. “People would be like, ‘You’ve changed, how dare you do what you’ve always rebelled against?’ I’m like, ‘I’m not rebelling against anything, really.’ I can’t stress it enough. I’m just wearing what I wanna wear. If there’s a day when I’m like, ‘You know what, I feel comfortable with my belly right now and I wanna show my belly,’ I should be allowed to do that.”
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