Award-winning singer-songwriter Billie Eilish stirs the conversation about sexualization of women’s bodies in her daring June 2021 British Vogue cover, where she ditched her trademark oversized clothes for a vintage pin-up style look.
Since Eilish shot to fame with the release of her single Ocean Eyes in 2015 when she was just 13 years old, she has been on the radar of fans not only for her genre-blurring music but also for her signature baggy sartorial style. Eilish has said early on that her choice of fashion style goes beyond self-expression, it’s also a way for her to protect herself from being sexualized as a child.
In 2019, Eilish explained in a Calvin Klein ad that she wears baggy clothes because “I never want the world to know everything about me.”
“Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like ‘Oh, she’s slim-thick, she’s got a flat ass, she’s got a fat ass.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t now,” she said.
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Now, 19-year-old Eilish has taken a sharp turn with her British Vogue cover—shot by Craig McDean—where she dons waist-cinching lingerie, blond hair (which she debuted on her social media prior to the release of the magazine), and sultry makeup. The “classic-old-timey-pin-up look” is said to be Eilish’s idea, inspired by popular American pin-up girl Betty Brosmer.
Her new look coincides with the release of her new single Your Power from the set-for-relese album “Happier than Ever." The single is the Grammy winner’s response to abusers who exploit and manipulate underaged girls.
“Don’t make me a role model because you are turned on by me,” Eilish told the magazine, where she also cleared up that her choice of style in the past was not to take a swipe on other female pop stars who prefer to dress up scantily.
Eilish acknowledges that critics and some of her fans would react a certain way with her new look. “If you’re about body positivity, why would you wear a corset? Why wouldn’t you show your actual body?” To which Eilish said, “My thing is that I can do whatever I want.”
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"Suddenly you're a hypocrite if you want to show your skin, and you're easy and you’re a slut and you're a whore. If I am, then I'm proud," she said. "Me and all the girls are hoes, and f**k it, you know? Let's turn it around and be empowered in that. Showing your body and showing your skin—or not—should not take any respect away from you.”
Eilish, who is vocal about her body-image struggles, confidently celebrates her body and own person today. “It’s all about what makes you feel good. If you want to get surgery, go get surgery. If you want to wear a dress that somebody thinks that you look too big wearing, f**k it—if you feel like you look good, you look good.”
And as for the criticism she will get from baring her story with a look that’s a departure from her previous image, Eilish anticipates she will get a barrage of questions like “You're going to complain about being taken advantage of as a minor, but then you're going to show your boobs?" To which she answers, "Yes I am, motherfucker! I'm going to because there's no excuse."