Billie Eilish has had enough. The singer, who has made a point of wearing bulky clothing in public and not sexualizing her image, still faces criticism and body shaming. And in a powerful new video that she released today on YouTube titled “Not My Responsibility”, she explains her frustration over the contradicting messages she receives.
In the short, which she first debuted in March during a concert in Miami, the Grammy-winning 18-year-old slowly strips while standing in a pool of thick, black liquid.
In spoken word, Elisih asks "Do you know me? Really know me? 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 — but I feel you watching. Always, and nothing I do goes unseen, so while I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sigh of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move."
She continues: "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’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?"
As she sinks deeper into the liquid until she can no longer been seen, we hear her say: "We make assumptions about people, based on their size. 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?"
The singer recently opened up in Dazed magazine about feeling bodyshamed when she posted a bikini photo while on vacation earlier this year. "I saw comments like, 'How dare she talk about not wanting to be sexualized and wear this?!' It was trending. There were comments like, 'I don't like her anymore because as soon as she turns 18 she’s a whore.' Like, dude. I can't win."
In a Calvin Klein ad in 2019, Eilish revealed the reason behind her signature layered look. "Nobody can have an opinion [on my body] because they haven't seen what's underneath." But she admitted to Dazed that the baggy clothing was beginning to affect her perception of herself. "There was a point last year where I was naked and I didn't recognize my body 'cause I hadn't seen it in a while. I would see it sometimes and be like, ‘Whose body is that?'"
She added, "If I wore a dress to something, I would be hated for it. People would be like, 'You've changed, how dare you do what you've always rebelled against?' I'm like, 'I'm not rebelling against anything, really.' I can't stress it enough. I'm just wearing what I wanna wear. If there's a day when I'm like, 'You know what, I feel comfortable with my belly right now and I wanna show my belly,' I should be allowed to do that."