Ask any teenage girl what she thinks about her self-image and she’ll say something along the lines of, “oh it’s nothing special and there’s always someone who’ll be prettier than me.” Prettier, better, fitter, these are the words the media has injected into culture setting girls and young women in the spotlight against each other by how they look with no small detailed spared.
Billie Eilish’s Thought Provoking Interlude
In a way to avoid having the media say anything about her body, Billie Eilish purposely dressed in brightly colored clothes that were, “800 sizes bigger,” as she has said in the past. Her fashion choices have been deliberate to control the media dialogue when it comes to how she looks. At the first concert of her Where Do We Go? World Tour in Miami, Eilish took the bold step to undress and reveal her body in a video during a poetic interlude.
In the video, Eilish lowered herself into a black pool, and said, “The body I was born with – is it not what you wanted? 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?”
Eilish reflected on the way the world tries to take ownership of her body and that no matter what she does, she’ll be shamed. The 18-year-old singer then posed the questions, “Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?” Her monologue extended from herself to every other woman judged and shamed on her appearance.
Empowering and Inspirational
Eilish chose to reveal herself on her own terms to protect herself as someone who had struggled with body dysmorphia and low self-esteem. Her video interlude posed the paradox women in the public eye have endured for years no matter which end of the spectrum they chose from conservative to “shamefully” revealing.
Her fans felt empowered by her message and supported her decision wholeheartedly. And just as her message foretold, headlines that read, “Billie Eilish shows some skin in a rare public display,” or “Billie Eilish seen stripping to her bra” made it to the celebrity section of publications.
Entrenched into Culture
Unlike Eilish, other celebrities bore and continue to bear the full brunt of the media’s scrutinization. Britney Spears’ infamous meltdown of 2007 was framed as a spoiled pop princess trying to get even more attention. In reality, Britney Spears had been objectified her entire career that she began at 16 years old. Her life since 1999 was spent stalked by paparazzi every waking minute who made a point to take distasteful photos of the pop star to use in tabloids with the captions that said, “Bimbo Summit” describing Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan.
Negative attitudes that existed while Eilish was still a young child are still as strong and pervasive today. And Eilish’s powerful message brings the problematic scrutiny of women back to the public eye.