Back in January, Billie Eilish shared a series of photos and videos from a trip to Hawaii on Instagram. Though the post included 10 shots of Eilish zip lining, swinging, and enjoying the beach with a friend, trolls flooded her comment section to draw attention to a couple clips that featured Eilish in a bathing suit. Weeks after the ordeal, Eilish shared that she had stopped reading her Instagram comments, but in a new interview with Dazed, she finally got candid about how the scrutiny affected her.
“It was trending. There were comments like, ‘I don’t like her anymore because as soon as she turns 18 she’s a whore,’” Eilish said. “Like, dude. I can’t win. I cannot win.”
She said that she also faces nastiness when she deviates from the oversized, colourful streetwear that has become her signature look.
“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,” Eilish told Dazed.
In a 2019 Calvin Klein campaign video, Eilish explained that wearing “big, baggy” clothing made her feel more comfortable as a public figure.
“Nobody can have an opinion because they haven't seen what’s underneath,” Eilish said in the video.
But over time, she told Dazed, her discomfort with her body affected her self-perception. Eilish actively stopped looking at herself — to the extent that, at “a point last year,” she couldn’t even recognise her naked body in the mirror. But more recently, Eilish has been fighting back against her critics and body shamers. In March, she even stripped down to a bra during a concert and addressed her audience head-on with a voiceover, calling out the public’s hypocrisy.
“If what I wear is comfortable, am I not a woman? If I shed the layers, I’m a slut?” she asked. “Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it. And judge me for it.”
Although Eilish might feel like she can’t win, she definitely isn’t letting the trolls win, either.