My face reading the conversation around Billie’s Vogue shoot (Picture: BEI/Rex/Shutterstock)
To all those critisicing Billie Eilish for choosing to wear a gorgeous corset instead of an XXXL T-shirt on the cover of British Vogue: run along now.
There seems to be a lot of people feeling personally victimised by the decision of another, who is an adult, to no longer perpetually wear something they wore when a teenager.
Absolutely wearing the s**t out of a custom Burberry corset, as well as a boss trenchcoat and heels, Billie’s British Vogue shoot emerged over the weekend and, judging by social media, many simply didn’t have enough pearls to clutch.
This shoot was entirely her vision – because it’s Billie f**king Eilish – and she looks phenomenal. She looks powerful. But while the cheering from the stands was raucous, the criticism was equally stinging to consume.
You see, in the past the teen was shamed by some for choosing to cover up, and now she’s being shamed for wanting to be her bad self on the MF cover of Vogue.
But yet, in the exhaustingly contradictory palaver called Why People Care So Much About Billie Eilish’s Clothing, she’s also spent her career being praised for not wearing ‘sexy outfits’ or sexualising her body, despite the singer not asking for, nor supporting, such an endorsement.
While I’m over here pleading with Billie to take her foot off my neck with these shots, I’m also disappointed (not mad, just disappointed) at how, yet again, the ridiculous unpacking of what she’s wearing and how everyone is so offended by it has shown to me, yet again, we can’t have nice things. This sort of consent in one’s style choices should not be so divisive, people.
Instead of seeing the fashion shoot for what it is (a fashion shoot) I’m seeing some very sad people suggest the singer has ‘sold out’ because she’s wearing a corset, or attacking her decision to wear said corset because it’s ‘pandering to the patriarchy’.
Oh, do shut up.
‘Proof that money can make you change your values and sell out’ is also a reaction that’s being heavily quoted in the wake of the covershoot. Can a person not change their mind? Heaven forbid Billie to evolve and discover new tastes and interests, or simply want to project a different side of herself to the world.
What seems to have riled the masses is Billie previously deciding to ‘hide’ her body underneath baggy clothes in a mission to escape the sexualised gaze that takes over many a star’s early career.
Now she’s 19 and making a choice to publicly wear something the star said in the accompanying article she wears in her own time. Not consenting to being sexualised as a kid doesn’t mean she’s barred from choosing to wear anything one may deem sexual down the line.
In the interview Billie almost prophesied the reaction from bitter pundits as she recalled the reaction to paparazzi shots of her in a tight singlet over lockdown: ‘The more the internet and the world care about somebody that’s doing something they’re not used to, they put it on such a high pedestal that then it’s even worse.’
Is this more palatable for you? (Picture: Getty Images)
Because she’s not wearing this doesn’t mean she’s any different (Picture: Getty Images)
The point I’m potentially stuffing up, though, is that this conversation around Billie’s cover suggests we’re not allowed to evolve – and it sucks. You’re telling me people aren’t allowed to change their flippin’ aesthetic if they once proclaimed baggy threads were for them?
Say it with me, people: This is not selling out. We grow. We change. And thank god for that.
Jeez, if I was still wearing what I thought I wanted to rock forever at the age of 16 I would currently be in a pleated denim miniskirt and one of those checked knitted vests with the sewn-in white shirt underneath that is really just a collar and sleeves. I would have definitely used hair mascara this morning. Probably blue. Maybe purple.
But I digress.
I think what is most baffling is how quickly people forget that glorious concept of consent. People, yes, women are people, can make decisions about how they want to project themselves to the world and it should bear no effect on what they’ve decided to do in the past. Be it yesterday, last year or nineteen-bloody-thirty-two. Nor should it cause such grievous personal pain as Billie’s decision seems to have done for many.
The woman can wear a spacesuit or a bikini and still deserve maximum respect.
In case you’re still not picking up what I’m putting down – she is ‘authentic’ even when she’s not wearing a baggy pair of shorts.
Jameela Jamil summed it up pretty perfectly, in my opinion (and, oh look, this piece is just that) as she wrote on Twitter: ‘You can’t sell out when you’ve already OUTSOLD the entire planet. She was an icon in her pyjamas and she’s simply STILL an icon now that she’s switched to lingerie.’
And in Billie’s words? ‘My thing is that I can do whatever I want.’
If you want to try and argue with that, then you really need to rethink what you deem a worthy use of your time.
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