24 May BILLIE 2.0
Trigger Warning: This article contains discussions of body image, mental health, and disordered eating.
By now, you’ve heard of Billie Eilish: the young singer and songwriter who rose to prominence following the release of her first song, “Ocean Eyes.”
Eilish’s studio album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (2019), debuted on the US Billboard 200 and became one of the best-selling albums of 2019. The singer’s success is reflected in her seven Grammy Awards, two American Music Awards, three MTV Video Music Awards, and two Brit Awards.
Throughout her career, Billie Eilish has been known for her statement green hair and signature Louis Vuitton sweatsuits. After attaining stardom at a young age, Eilish relies on fashion to protect her from being sexualized in the music industry, thus allowing for her music to speak for itself without the influence of her personal appearance. In a 2019 interview with Vogue Australia, Eilish states, “It kind of gives nobody the opportunity to judge what your body looks like. I don’t want to give anyone the excuse of judging.” Despite her attempts to shield herself from Hollywood’s pressure, Billie resides in a world of brutal judgement and cruel comments.
During the 2019 Calvin Klein campaign, “I Speak My Truth in #MyCalvins,” Eilish examines her outlandish style by saying, “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 ass,’ ‘she’s got a fat ass.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”
That year, Eilish further explained to Rolling Stone that she has suffered from body image issues from the age of 12 after joining a competitive dance company.
“At dance you wear really tiny clothes,” Eilish expressed. “And I’ve never felt comfortable in really tiny clothes. I was always worried about my appearance. That was the peak of my body dysmorphia. I couldn’t look in the mirror at all.”
Billie’s honest statement sparked conversation on numerous social media platforms regarding the ongoing objectification of women’s bodies. Eilish’s fans supported her decision while expressing their personal experiences. Eilish has been a positive image for young women, often being acclaimed as the “antidote for toxic tropes of women” in the music industry.
However, 19-year-old Billie Eilish is now ready to share her revamped look with the world. On the May cover of British Vogue, the singer embraces her femininity, exchanging her signature green hair and “baggy” style for a “classic, old-timey pin-up” look. Eilish is pictured wearing a Gucci corset, Agent Provocateur lingerie, accompanied by a skirt, latex gloves, and leggings.
Upon sharing her new look, Billie broke an Instagram record: one million likes in six minutes.
British Vogue has expressed that, Eilish’s “new look” was entirely her idea. Billie’s full bombshell transformation has altered her into an icon for body positivity and confidence, encouraging females across the globe to embrace themselves, while emphasizing that “it’s all about what makes you feel good.”
Eilish’s mature new image has well-accompanied her latest hit single “Your Power.” “Your Power,” is a ballad that delves into unhealthy power dynamics in relationships, confronting abusers that have exploited underage girls. Eilish’s Instagram post reads, “I feel very vulnerable putting this one out because I hold it so close to my heart. This is about many different situations that we’ve all either witnessed or experienced. I hope this can inspire change.” Eilish addresses in an interview that critics will complain about her message within the song, relating it back to her revealing outfit choice on the British Vogue cover.
However, she wants to acknowledge that she is regaining her power and femininity by addressing toxic male tropes while continuing to advocate for women who have experienced the pressures of male dominance. “It’s about taking that power back, showing it off and not taking advantage with it, I’m not letting myself be owned anymore,” said Billie.
Her new single pays honour to the many young women around the world that have struggled with body dysmorphia while recognizing the everyday hardships of women in today’s world. Through her lyrics, Eilish encourages young women to take back their power by working towards overcoming negative impacts expressed in daily life.
Billie’s homage to body positivity throughout her career is an entirely fresh ideology that has overall transformed the music industry for the better. Today’s society is desensitized to the excessive use of Photoshop and other editing software throughout social media. Platforms like Instagram have ultimately failed to depict a safe space for young girls while neglecting the importance of body positivity. Social media is a feeding ground for expressing unrealistic body expectations, further deeming that there is one “ideal” body standard that contributes to the body dysmorphia many young girls are struggling with.
These unrealistic expectations have brainwashed us and discouraged our attempts to “normalize” imperfections, flaws, and embrace our real bodies. Billie’s Vogue cover withholds power in a sense that allows for young girls to truly embody their natural selves. Billie’s influence on the shoot directly implicates her power and control over her body. Whereas her involvement within the shoot had additionally allowed for her to develop a dramatic look that overall made her feel comfortable and beautiful.
Eilish has become a public feature unlike many other online influencers in today’s society. Eilish centers her platform on being her true self while embracing her imperfections, opposed to encompassing false narratives in relation to unrealistic body expectations. She fails to allow for the power of social media to overcome her true identity. Eilish establishes power within the music industry and continuously advocates for women around the globe. Her presence within the Hollywood scene has been a fresh perspective on body positivity and confidence, creating a positive image for young girls to aspire to.
Billie Eilish is not only an award-winning artist but also a powerful, independent woman that inspires other women to be their true selves despite the pressure of today’s negative society.
HEADER IMAGE SOURCE: MUSE ILLUSTRATOR SADIE LEVINE