As an icon for body positivity and female empowerment, Billie Eilish was chosen for the June 2021 cover issue of British Vogue where she also addressed the making of her upcoming album, “Happier Than Ever,” dropping on July 30. She has found a way to pave her own path since gaining attention as a 14-year-old, when she uploaded her first song, “Ocean Eyes,” to SoundCloud and which became viral the next day on that platform. She quickly built her fandom and gained respect for the vulnerability and honesty in her songs.
In the five years since then, Eilish has become prolific for her fashion choices regarding baggy clothes, long sleeves and hoodies. I briefly remember seeing tabloids and BBC news blowing up for what she was wearing because it wasn’t skin-tight or presenting her in a sexual way. For instance, an incident took place in 2019 on Twitter when a photo of her wearing a tank top went viral due to body shamers. She opened up about her struggles with body dysmorphia with Vogue in August 2019.
In this new British Vogue cover shoot, Eilish trades her iconic neon green hair for a classic blonde look, channeling pin-ups in corsets, cat suits and lingerie to show that her maturity is nothing new to the world and that she has a point to make. She says in the Vogue interview, “Don’t make me not a role model because you’re turned on by me.”
In the same British Vogue cover shoot, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, who collaborates with Eilish on a regular basis, said about this specific look: “She is a continuously evolving artist with a new vision and interpretation of herself in terms of femininity. Billie is exactly where she means to be without prejudice. That’s why working with her is so stimulating – she forces me to think differently.”
More simplistic interpretations of Eilish’s aesthetic saw her as an icon of body positivity and a good example compared to female pop stars who wear less. She never claimed to stand for any of it.
On her new album release, Eilish’s first single “Your Power” is like an open letter that needs to be heard, especially by those who take advantage of women. On first listen, I was amazed at the vocals. Her signature whisper-soft style on this acoustic ballad made the track whimsical and had a sudden effect that hits you right in the gut.
In the British Vogue interview, Eilish says, “There’s a big problem in the world of domestic abuse or statutory rape. Girls that were very confident and strong-willed finding themselves in situations where they’re like, ‘Oh my god, I’m the victim here?’” Nonetheless, Eilish says in the Vogue article, “It’s all about what makes you feel good. If you want to get surgery, go get surgery. If you want to wear a dress that somebody thinks that you look too big wearing, f**k it – if you feel like you look good, you look good.” She lets the world take a look at where men hold their ubiquitous power against underage girls. I hope her message will get across and that her music continues to flourish.
By: Taylor Nakaoka