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Billie Eilish
courtesy of Instagram/@billieeilish

Billie Eilish has a message about body shaming and the male gaze

TextAlex Peters

‘Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest?’

Billie Eilish has never been afraid of speaking out about her body – the way she views it and the way society and the media view it. In a Calvin Klein campaign last year, she said that the reason she wears her signature baggy clothes is because she doesn’t want the world to know everything about her. “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’...” she said. 

In an interview with Elle magazine, she said, “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… It makes me mad. I have to wear a big shirt for you not to feel uncomfortable about my boobs!”

Now, she has addressed these body shamers and the way society judges women in a video interlude during her world tour which kicked off in Miami last night. In the video, Eilish undresses before lowering herself into a black pool. In the accompanying speech that narratives the video, Eilish says that everyone has opinions about her clothes and body. “Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching always,” she says.

“Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest?... The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted?” she continues. “Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it.”

Eilish then moves to speak more generally about the way we judge people on their appearances, making assumptions and valuations about people based on their size, before ending with the questions, “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 option of me not my responsibility?” 

See the video and read the full speech below.

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