Billie Eilish’s Where Do We Go? world tour began on March 9 and runs until September 7, and it includes a very powerful message for fans and critics alike. For decades, a female popstar’s worth was determined by how she looked. Jessica Simpson, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, Kelly Clarkson – all of them have been through the meat grinder of extreme fame and fickle fan devotions. When Eilish arrived on the scene with her debut single “Ocean Eyes” at the age of 13, she was a breath of fresh air. From day one, she emphasized her talents – not her appearance – but she still became a style icon for her neon hair, baggy fits, and sharp talons.
In a candid interview with Gayle King, Eilish shared the main reason behind her sartorial choices, saying, “Me and my body’s relationship has been the most toxic relationship you could even imagine. The way that I dress has made that relationship so much better. It’s less about, ‘My body is ugly, I don’t want you to see it.’ It’s more about, ‘I’m not comfortable wearing this.’ I’m comfortable wearing [baggier clothes].” In a recent I Speak My Truth in #MyCalvins campaign for Calvin Klein, she went further, stating, “That’s why I wear baggy clothes. Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath.”
Her preference for oversized silhouettes is perhaps a preemptive strike against body-shamers, but that hasn’t stopped them from coming for the young star anyway. One instance when she wore a more form-fitting top than usual, her physique was discussed so much that it became a trending topic on Twitter. Eilish was only 17 years old when this happened.
Now 18, the popstar has mused about a future in which she changes her look. “What if I wanna make a video where I wanna look desirable?” she queried in an interview. It turns out, that’s exactly what she had planned for her tour, but on her own terms. In a video monologue projected on the screen behind her, which saw the star strip off layers of clothing while simultaneously being submerged by water, Eilish reclaimed the narrative of her body and her choice.
If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me?
“Do you know me? Do you really know me?” her voice is heard in the video monologue. “You have opinions about my opinions, about my music, about my clothes, about my 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.” She continued: “So while I feel your stares, your disapproval, or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move. Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips? The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted? If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?”
She looked the double-standard square in its eye and concluded, “We decide who they are. We decide what they’re worth. 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 opinion of me not my responsibility?”