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Billie Eilish
courtesy of Instagram/@billieeilish

Billie Eilish opens up about being sexualised and having to hide her body

‘I have to wear a big shirt for you not to feel uncomfortable about my boobs!’

The media (read: men) have a problem with sexualising young girls in the public eye. In her first speech as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson detailed how she was sexualised by the press from the age of 14. When talking at the Women’s March last year, Natalie Portman recounted how male critics would describe her “budding breasts” as a pre-teen actress and the local radio station that had a countdown to her 18th birthday. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen would experience the same countdown a few years later.

This aspect of our culture is part of the reasoning that goes into Billie Eilish’s now-signature baggy style. “I never want the world to know everything about me. I mean that’s why I wear big baggy clothes,” she explained in a Calvin Klein campaign in May. “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath, you know. Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim thick’ ‘she’s not slim thick’...”

Of course, because we live in a trash society, it was only a matter of time before exactly that happened. Barely a month later, Eilish climbed off her tour bus in a tank top to greet fans outside. The pictures quickly made their way to social media with one male user posting them with the (now-deleted) caption “Billie Eilish is THICK,” followed by (still present) comments “Man…” and “Apparently I’m not allowed to think she’s attractive until few months from now lol..”

And now Eilish, who has previously discussed her body dysmorphia, has opened up to Elle about the experience. "My boobs were trending on Twitter! At number one! What is that?! Every outlet wrote about my boobs!" she says in the cover interview, describing how even CNN covered the story. Eilish continues that she hides her breasts because they have always been an issue. “I was born with fucking boobs, bro. I was born with DNA that was gonna give me big-ass boobs,” she says. “Someone with smaller boobs could wear a tank top, and I could put on that exact tank top and get slut-shamed because my boobs are big. That is stupid. It’s the same shirt!”

“It makes me mad. I have to wear a big shirt for you not to feel uncomfortable about my boobs!”

Eilish goes on to say that when she turns 18, she’s hoping that she’ll be allowed to show more of her body without getting shit about it from the public. “I’m gonna be a woman. I wanna show my body. What if I wanna make a video where I wanna look desirable?” she says. “I know people will say, ‘I’ve lost all respect for her.’ I can’t win!”

Last week, Eilish hit out at Nylon Germany for a cover in which the singer appears bald and topless – and which she said she was consulted about in no way. “youre gonna make a picture of me shirtless?? thats not real?? at 17? and make it the cover????” she posted on Instagram. “i did not consent in any way.”