Flesh wrapped around bone, dips of hips, curves and tits, legs long or stout, lips thick or thin, sprouts of hair or even bare, asses out, stomachs in. Whether you are a woman or a man, or someone in between, a person known or unknown to the world, we have all lived those moments where our shell of a human body has been subjected to the finicky eye. Every day we participate in the deranged rituals of bodily obsession, constantly trying to emulate unattainable beauty standards.
Our twisted fascination with Billie Eilish
As much as these twisted expectations is a shared struggle amongst millennials, most of us will never experience the full depth of this oppression of the body as those who bathe in the Hollywood spotlight. And amongst the sea of artists, actors, influencers and musicians alike, there is one figure the world directs its bodily fixation more on than anyone else; Billie Eilish.
At the verge of 20, Eilish has already faced overwhelming waves of scrutiny. Spiteful chatter about her drowns the internet and how she manages to keep her head afloat is a complete mystery. It would be a revelation to see something acknowledging her angelic voice instead of the shape of her waist, the thickness of her thighs or the weight of her breasts.
Eilish poses for a ‘Lost Cause’ promotional image
Not her responsibility
In 2020, Billie Eilish stirred the waters with her NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY short film, which caused spectators’ heads to spin clockwise as she dipped her half-stripped body and sultry words into a pool of ebony, “If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman? If I shed my layers, I’m a slut, though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?”
From baggy Backstreet Boys attire to peachy corsets and hosiery, everything Eilish has worn since rising to fame has been relentlessly scrutinized and mocked. Her shift of styles is an attempt to avoid condescending commentary from the prying eyes of the public. Yet, just like her raw NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY speech, her clothing changes have done little to critic’s cruel words.
Billie Eilish in British VOUGE
With blind ignorance, many overlook the fact Eilish entered fame at 13. As she has clarified in many interviews, she was a “literal child.” Hiding her body throughout the years has been to preserve her innocence and avoid the overt sexualisation forced upon female artists. In this most recent photoshoot, Eilish embraces a more assertive, liberated form of herself. She is tasting the first fresh moments of womanhood.
Yet, whether a cloak of colours or peeled layers, there’s always someone desperately waiting to say something.
Showing your body should not take away respect
From invasive photographs of her casual outings to foul remarks made from the alluring and rightful glorification of her feminine physique, the perverse fascination with Eilish’s body continues. As the artist worded it so concisely herself, “showing your body and showing your skin- or not- should not take any respect away from you”. Unfortunately in her case it does.
Like pigs in a slaughterhouse, the meat of the famous is viciously strewn across the media for the public to feast on. In 2021, there is an ever-growing appetite for Eilish’s body.
One of the most poisonous eras in human history
We live in one of the most poisonous eras of human history. One where people such as Eilish must make dangerous compromises just for their art to be seen and succeed. Like the Little Mermaid who traded her tongue to gain feet, Eilish has unwittingly sold her body for a voice.
The question that must brew inside our mind stew is this. “What does this say to the younger women witnessing these idols battling for the preservation of their sexuality?” Are we complacent in allowing them to believe success only derives from marketing a body? That you are defined by your shape, your thinness or thickness? That no matter what you decide to wear one day or the next or if you take pride in abs or downright fat, the world around will forever conspire against you?
We need to reconsider our roles as spectators
We are actively discouraging young females to embody their sexuality which is a challenging problem that we must overcome. In 2021, it should be expected that we can appreciate the human body for its innate functions and guilty pleasures. We should be able to do so without being forced into believing we must capitalize on our sexuality or be fooled into undermining our own self-worth. Or, in Eilish’s case, our art because of the unrealistic expectations of others.
With a new golden era of Billie Eilish’s music and femininity dawning later this month, we should all reconsider our roles as spectators and consumers. How we choose to respond Eilish ripples through to everyone else, children and adults alike. We simply need to remember this: We are here to enjoy her music, not the state of her body.