It's A Shame To Body Shame
2020 is the year of realizing things, like realizing that young women have boobs.
Did I say that aloud? Yes, the mystery has been solved women have boobs. Even Grammy Award-winning music artists like Billie Eilish. This shouldn’t be news yet every headliner last week read something along the lines of, “Billie Eilish shows more skin” or “Billie Eilish ditches baggy clothes for something tighter”.
This year has been insane with an immense amount of new stories pouring out left and right, yet we still see an article about an 18-year-old's boobs as the top trending story (face plant).
The Tank Top Incident
Though fairly new to the industry, Billie Eilish has surpassed many people's expectations with her first album granting her 6 Grammy nominations and had her leaving with 5 Grammy wins. Her songs continued to top the charts gaining her a huge cult following and making Billie Eilish a household name.
All this success sadly comes with some downsides, one being limited privacy. While most people have made a trip, or more, to the grocery store not dressed to the nines, the second a celebrity does, it makes the news. The picture below was captured and the top repost that has everyone coming out of their quarantine funk.
Twitter user @GamesNosh commented, "in 10 months Billie Eilish has developed a mid-30s wine mom body." This post blew up on both sides of the spectrum. Internet creeps didn't waste a second to jump in and make their comments known while fans stepped up to defend the queen herself.
Revealing Herself Through Music
This is not the first time this year that Billie's body has made the news. Back in May of this year, Billie released a video entitled "Not my Responsibility" where she strips down to her undergarments while speaking her vulnerable truth. She says statements like, "Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker?... Do my shoulders provoke you? My chest?... The body I was born with, is it not what you want?"
The whole video is used to show that she knows what people are thinking and saying about her, but that others' opinions are not her responsibility. She is not responsible for how people react to her body and it is not her responsibility to change herself because of these opinions either.
This video has just under 30 million views and the comment section blew up with support both when it initially dropped as well as after this most recent incident. This year has had so many twists and turns that people have already forgotten about this big reveal that occurred just months prior. She is not holding anything back and yet still continues to get backlash.
Big & Baggy
Billie has vocalized the intentionality behind her very unique style.
"I never want the world to know everything about me. I mean that is why I wear big, baggy clothes. Nobody can have an opinion because they haven't seen what's underneath."
Starting her fame at such a young age the last thing she wanted was to be sexualized by the public. "Eilish's goal isn't the celebration of her body, but rather to ignore it entirely and make her audience focus on her voice." For her, it is and has always been, about the music. This industry does not allow someone to just be a voice, they are an image to be marketed and distributed to the public.
A similar example is music artist, Sia. She had the same goal, listen to the music, and don't focus on the face. That is why she blocks her face during performances and appearances. Since her start, people have now seen her fully but she continues to stand behind her choice to make music the forefront of her brand.
It's a shame that these women are forced to alter their image just to avoid criticism from the public only to be criticized for changing in the first place.
Psych Behind the Bag
When we look into the psychology behind baggy clothes a lot is revealed. Our clothes and style are tied to our emotions and our experiences. How we view our bodies has the biggest effect on our clothing decisions.
100 women, ages 21-64, were interviewed and surveyed regarding self-esteem and fashion choices. 96% of these women, "believed that what they wear affects how confident they feel." The researchers determined that there is a strong link between "clothing and mood states", claiming that we associate different emotions with different items of clothing.
Take a look at your closet. If you were asked to grab your favorite shirt, what emotion do you tie to that item? Happy, pretty, successful, gorgeous, confident, maybe even all of the above. Now grab an item that you haven't worn in years. Laying in the back of a shelf, maybe even still has the tag on. What emotions do you tie to that item? Ugly, doesn't fit right, fat, hideous.
We do it all the time and don't even realize it. How modern-day fashion works for everyday women is this: We wear clothes that mask our insecurities and make us appear as close to society's standards as our bodies will allow. Billie is no different. She, being an 18- year-old girl, has insecurities. Hers just happens to be displayed for the entire world to see. She wears clothes that showcase her personality while also masking all the things she would rather not display.
After the photo was released many fans stood up for Billie claiming that she was brave. Some fans say she is brave for not conforming to traditional beauty standards as a teenager while others are questioning why it is brave to have a larger body in the first place.
Beauty standards are constantly evolving leaving it impossible for any woman to keep up.
From the time we are toddlers we are already criticized for having a little more fat on our bodies. (Yes, you read that right, toddlers).
We spend our whole lives being told how to look only to almost attain it and for it to change the next day. It is a vicious cycle of comparison that is built to tear women down and pin them against one another. Billie is not brave for wearing a tank top to run errands, she is a victim of the misogynistic system built by men to make women feel less for not being "perfect"- whatever that means. Even though some men continue to hold women to these standards the industry is beginning to see a shed of light at the end of the tunnel.
We are coming to an age where women are finally beginning to reclaim their bodies for everything they are. Small, big, curvy, fat, tall, short, muscular, stretch marks, scars, freckles, acne, and so much more. Ad campaigns are noticing this shift in the market and are even changing the way they advertise. By showing plus-sized women, queer women, black women, Hispanic women, women with disabilities, women in all forms. Though these ads and commercials are a huge step in the right direction, it needs to be more than a trend.
Normalizing real bodies is not "what's in". It needs to be the new standard.
I'll say it again, this should not be news! Billie is not the first to be sexualized or degraded by the world and sadly probably won't be the last. This is a tale as old as time. For some reason, people have a hard time understanding that women can have both talent and stomaches, be both influential, and have boobs. Can 2020 be the year we normalize bodies? Please?
Comment below what your thoughts were when this photo was released. Is Billie brave?