In a recent interview with Variety, Billie Eilish opened up about femininity and her body image issues. "I've never felt like a woman, to be honest with you. I've never felt desirable. I've never felt feminine. I have to convince myself that I'm, like, a pretty girl," she said. "I identify as 'she/her' and things like that, but I've never really felt like a girl."
The 21-year-old also had to deal with the media sexualizing her as a teen. There were several times people made fun of her or sexualized her whenever she was spotted in a tight shirt instead of her go-to baggy clothes. “I have big boobs. I’ve had big boobs since I was nine years old, and that’s just the way I am. That’s how I look,” she added, as the singer recalled the headlines when she wore a tank top in public at age 16. “You wear something that’s at all revealing, and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, but you didn’t want people to sexualize you?’ You can suck my *ss! I’m literally a being that is sexual sometimes. F*ck you!”
Then, she went off on a tirade. “Nobody ever says a thing about men’s bodies,” she claimed. “If you’re muscular, cool. If you’re not, cool. If you’re rail thin, cool. If you have a dad bod, cool. If you’re pudgy, love it! Everybody’s happy with it. You know why? Because girls are nice. They don’t give a f*ck because we see people for who they are!”
Billie Eilish Spurs Discussion on Double Standards
Eilish’s statement only fueled discourse on double standards. Women’s bodies are critiqued constantly, it’s true – but that doesn’t mean men don’t get negative comments about their physique. How many times have you heard a woman on social media say she desires someone tall? "Wait till she finds out about what women say about men’s height…" writes @AllThingsAMP on X (formerly Twitter).
Ironically, Eilish was once caught on video saying, "Why is every pretty girl with a horrible looking man? I don't understand. Listen, I'm not shaming people for their looks... but I am, though. You give an ugly guy a chance; he thinks he rules the world." It's evident that Eilish was joking in this clip and is only trying to be funny (and she was about 17 at the time), but it's not a good look for her after this Variety interview.
Men also lack support groups compared to women. "When you're a woman and you feel bad about your body, there's support groups to comfort you and an entire movement devoted to appeasing you," writes @Malcolm_fleX48. "When you're a guy and you feel bad about your body, people tell you that you look like crap and you either put in the work or get mocked."
In Defense of Men
Let's unpack this. When it comes to social media and having an online presence, people are going to make fun of your looks as long as you are not anonymous. Women will make comments about men's pudgy bodies and bald heads, and men will make fun of women's wrinkles and pooch. The internet is cruel, and it allows everyone to unleash their deepest insecurities onto strangers. This, coupled with the fact that the most gorgeous men and women are plastered on our For You Pages, has warped our perceptions of beauty and self-image. The consequences of this have been evident: Both men and women are struggling with body image issues. Body dysmorphic disorder affects five to ten million people in the United States, and about 40% of them are male. To deny men's struggles with body dysmorphia, eating disorders, and depression or anxiety simply because of their gender is inhumane.
Body dysmorphic disorder affects five to ten million people in the United States.
Second of all, we've seen time and time again that the body positivity movement is solely focused on women and not men. We see heavier women in ads but hardly see the same for men. And, yes, there are far more support groups for women than men. Men have been raised to suppress their insecurities and not speak about their feelings. That issue, however, remains out of our control. Women can speak out about the male loneliness epidemic all they want, but until men build a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood on their own and enable each other to voice their emotions, then nothing will be solved.
According to a survey by OnePoll and L'Oreal Paris, more than half of American men feel insecure about their looks (56%). Millennials feel the most self-conscious about their physical appearance (78%), compared to 62% of Gen Zers and 55% of Gen Xers.
In Defense of Billie Eilish
Lastly, I believe Variety did Eilish dirty. They highlighted a quote that they knew would get people riled up, and it worked. In their article, they said that after the singer vented her frustrations about getting sexualized as a minor, she got "fired up" and launched into a "rant." When you're heated, you don't think straight. Maybe I have a soft spot for Eilish because she's young and never had a chance to grow up in a normal environment, but I don't think she was thinking straight. Of course, people talk about men's bodies and appearances, and I think she knows this deep down. In my opinion, what she meant to say is that women, compared to men, receive more comments about their looks.
This doesn't mean I'm letting her off the hook, though. I think this is a valuable lesson for her, and there was a silver lining to her quote about men. It brought up an important discussion on men's insecurities and the double standards in society.
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