The 'Bad Guy' singer delivered a moving message about the way we treat women's bodies in the public sphere.
Fans of Billie Eilish are probably familiar with her "tomboy" style. No matter where she is, whether it's singing at the Academy Awards, walking down a red carpet, or performing on stage, she's most likely to be wearing a baggy t-shirt and jeans. No stranger to the male gaze and the way we perceive women's bodies, in the past, she's explained that she does this because she does not wish to be sexualized by the media or other celebrities. At her most recent concert, she kicked off her world tour with a powerful message about body shaming, The Sun reports.
On the first night of her Where Do We Go world tour in Miami, the 18-year-old artist stripped down to just her underwear and delivered a pointed statement about her struggle with accepting her body as a young woman. She discussed, in more detail than ever before, her journey to overcome everyone's "disapproval" over body image. In clips posted to the internet of the now-viral moment, she can be seen slowly unzipping her top. "I feel your stares, your disapproval," she states. "If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I'm a sl*t. Though you've never seen my body, you still judge it, and judge me for it." As she talks, she removes her top completely.
As a woman in a highly sexualized industry, there has been much discussion in popular media about her fashion choices. Evidently, Billie Eilish knows exactly what's being said about her. An excerpt from her entire statement read, "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, some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me." She highlights, however, that she feels "you watching, always," recognizing how nothing she does goes unseen. She questions, "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?"
Finally, she declares, "We 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? If my value is based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?" Celebrity in the public eye or not, perhaps every single woman can relate to the 'Bad Guy' singer's words. From the moment a girl is born, her behaviors and actions are policed and monitored. There are no exceptions. Whether it's oppressive, gendered dress codes or victim-blaming through questions about what a victim of sexual assault was wearing when the attack happened, sexism is rooted in our culture. Perhaps Billie Eilish's message is a lesson to all of us, especially those flag-bearers of patriarchy.