Why Billie Eilish taking off her shirt is a powerful message to body shamers

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sentencing, it obvious now more than even that the conversation around the objectification of women has never been stronger
Why Billie Eilish taking off her shirt is a powerful message to body shamers
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Billie Eilish’s style has become synonymous with baggy (and badass) silhouettes, neon green accents and statement-making accessories, like designer face masks. In fact, her outfits have almost been as much of a fascination as her music.

She is amongst the high profile faces of Hollywood that speak out against body shaming and the male gaze.

Back in 2019, the singer shared a powerful message in a Calvin Klein advert, revealing the reasons behind why she choose to wear baggy clothes. “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath, you know,” she said. “Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim thick’ ‘she’s not slim thick’...”

And if there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s when Billie Eilish talks, we listen. Which is why the 18-year-old artist has got the world’s attention during her most recent performance in Miami.

In a pre-recorded video that Billie shared on stage during the opening night of her tour, the film depicts her disrobing from a heavy sweatshirt down to a bra and decending into a pool of tar (because this is Billie Eilish we're talking about) to make a statement about self-empowerment and the judgement women face.



In it, she says, “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. Why? 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? Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?”

Billie has been vocal about the struggles she’s faced with being over-sexualised in the media. In an August 2019 an interview with V Magazine – when she was a minor - the No Time to Die songstress touched on the celebratory yet sexist undertones of how people talk about her dress sense.

"[Even] from my parents, [the] positive [comments] about how I dress have this slut-shaming element. Like, 'I am so glad that you are dressing like a boy, so that other girls can dress like boys, so that they aren’t sluts.'

In a 2019 interview with Elle, she recalled the day last summer when she left the tour bus wearing a tank top. "My boobs were trending on Twitter!" she remembered. "At number one! What is that?! Every outlet wrote about my boobs!" She was still a minor at the time and, as the piece also notes, even CNN wrote a story about this.

In the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s sentencing, it obvious now more than even that the conversation around the objectification of women is a topic so strong it is seeping through all generations of women.