At only 18 years old, singer Billie Eilish has always been a target for body-shamers on the internet. Despite her young age, many people, usually men who are considerably older than she is, feel it appropriate to comment negatively on her body.
She has made it clear numerous times that she dresses in her famous non-revealing, baggy attire in order to prevent this from happening but, unfortunately, the fact that she is normally dressed in baggy clothing only seems to make the body-shaming worse once she is photographed wearing tighter-fitting clothing.
This week, she was pictured in a tan monochrome outfit – a tight-fitting strappy tank top, paired with a pair of comfortable-looking shorts. This photograph took the internet by storm, resulting in her trending on Twitter.
This has already happened once in the past, when she wore a strappy tank top back when she was only aged 17. It’s obvious that the internet has learnt nothing since then, despite Eilish speaking openly about her desire for body-shaming to stop.
She spoke, most notably, about it in her YouTube short film ‘Not my Responsibility’, which has 29 million views and was released in May 2020. In this 3-minute clip, she asks: “Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it… why?”.
The next most notable occasion Eilish spoke out about body-shaming was in the 2019 Calvin Klein campaign, in which she explained: ‘I never want the world to know everything about me. I mean, that’s why I wear big baggy clothes. Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath, you know? Nobody can be like “oh she’s slim-thick, she’s not slim-thick, she got a flat ass, she’s not got a fat ass.” Nobody can say any of that because they don’t know’.
Apparently, this wasn’t enough to stop some internet users from body-shaming. Twitter user @GamesNosh, who is rumoured to be a 29-year-old male from the UK, tweeted: “In 10 months Billie Eilish has developed a mid-30’s wine mom body”.
“Y’all gotta start normalizing real bodies OK? Not everybody has a wagon behind them. Guts are normal, they’re normal! Boobs sag, especially after breast feeding. Instagram isn’t real”
This comment received the backlash it deserved – the replies were full of people stating that it is inappropriate for a grown man to be commenting on the body of a teenager.
It is a relief to see the comment section flooded with people who are not afraid to call @GamesNosh out for his inappropriate comment.
This shows that a huge amount of progress has clearly been made in raising awareness of the detrimental effects of body-shaming but, until body-shaming stops altogether, more must be done.
Eilish has responded via Instagram, sharing a Tik Tok in which blogger Chizi Duru states “Y’all gotta start normalizing real bodies OK? Not everybody has a wagon behind them. Guts are normal, they’re normal! Boobs sag, especially after breast feeding. Instagram isn’t real”.
And she’s perfectly right – the majority of photos we see on Instagram are heavily photoshopped and airbrushed and yet, many people, especially young girls, base their self-worth on what they see on their Instagram feeds.
Little do they know; they are aspiring to look like something that doesn’t even exist in reality.
It is essential to have women like Eilish in the public eye, who set realistic beauty standards for young girls, encouraging them to be themselves unapologetically
Eilish is, therefore, a refreshing change to the content usually seen on Instagram; a refreshing contrast to the typical celebrity young girls usually admire, and a good role model for the younger generation.
The way she uses her platform to shed light on issues such as mental health and body-shaming is remarkable and admirable. She spreads a positive and healthy message to her fan-base, which is primarily made up of young teenage girls.
It is essential to have women like Eilish in the public eye, who set realistic beauty standards for young girls, encouraging them to be themselves unapologetically, without allowing society’s beauty standards to cause them to change any aspect of who they are.
As writer Natasha Devon MBE put it: “Everyone having an opinion because a woman (whose job has nothing to do with her body) has a body which doesn’t precisely meet society’s terrifyingly narrow beauty standards is, apart from anything else, SO BORING”.
Hopefully, the more these issues are spoken about, and the more backlash body-shamers receive, it will begin to become a thing of the past.
No woman should have to tolerate body-shaming, whether they are a celebrity or not, and despite Eilish being a legal adult, this doesn’t mean that it is acceptable for her body to be sexualised or criticised – especially when it is being criticised by men who are over 10 years older than she is.
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