Baggy clothes or not, Billie Eilish isn’t here to be body-shamed.
The 18-year-old Grammy winner kicked off her Where Do We Go? World Tour in Miami on Monday night by addressing an oft-discussed dimension to her celebrity: wearing oversized clothes that obscure her body.
Eilish has carved out her own fashion niche since skyrocketing to superstar levels of fame. The “Bad Guy” singer prefers to sport brightly colored items “800 sizes bigger,” as she once described them, to essentially eliminate the possibility of being objectified in the public eye.
Before performing “All the Good Girls Go to Hell,” Eilish appeared in a short video interlude to deliver a speech about the “assumptions about people based on their size,” as she lowered herself into a pool of black water while removing her clothes.
“Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it,” she says in the clip. “Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching, always. And nothing I do goes unseen.”
Eilish added that she would “never be able to move” if she put stock in the public’s opinions “about my music, about my clothes, about my body.”
“Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet?” she continued. “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?”
The singer previously revealed she views her sartorial statements as a kind of “defense mechanism,” given that she developed a “toxic relationship” with her body at a young age.
“I just hated my body. I would have done anything to be in a different one,” Eilish recalled in a Vogue interview, adding that her struggle with body dysmorphia led to a period of depression and self-harm. “I really wanted to be a model, really bad, and I was chubby and short.”
While Eilish is certainly more comfortable in baggier clothes, she has, however, pushed back to a degree on people’s perceptions of her fashion choices, especially in comparison to how other women in the music industry choose to dress.
“I wear baggy shit and I wear what I want,” she told V Magazine in 2019, noting the “slut-shaming” element to conversations surrounding her style.
“Of course, everyone sees it as, ‘She’s saying no to being sexualized,’ and, ‘She’s saying no to being the stereotypical female,’” Eilish continued. “I have never ever looked at a girl who feels comfortable in her clothes, body, and skin and thought, ‘Ew, that’s gross, she is showing too much,’ or, ‘I wish people wouldn’t wear that.’ I have never in my life felt that way. I have always supported and fucked with and just loved when a woman or a man or anyone in the world feels comfortable in their skin, their body, to show just whatever they want. I don’t like that there’s this weird new world of supporting me by shaming people that [may not] want to [dress like me].”
Eilish appeared to directly reference this misconception in her speech on Monday, posing a question to the crowd, “If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut?”
She concluded the powerful moment by asking, “Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?”
The singer, who broke records by sweeping the big four Grammy categories this year, will be traveling the world on her tour for much of 2020 before wrapping it up in Indonesia this September.