Billie Eilish is Generation Z’s reigning teen idol. She makes moody, twisted pop music written by herself and produced by her brother, far from the commercial influence of the traditional star machine. She sings about seducing your dad and killing your friends and was the only artist, not Taylor Swift, not Justin Bieber, to take Lil Nas X’s number one chart spot with her song “bad guy.”
But because Eilish doesn’t necessarily dress like dated stereotypes of what young, successful female pop stars can look like, preferring menswear designer sweatsuits and monochrome street wear, some people seem to think Eilish choosing a t-shirt over a unitard is somehow an excuse to shame those who do the latter. While her looks have been hailed as influential “non-binary” fashion, Eilish recently told V Magazine that some of the positive responses to her outfits annoy her:
I wear baggy shit and I wear what I want; I don’t say, “Oh, I am going to wear baggy clothes because it’s baggy clothes.” It’s never like that. It’s more, just, I wear what I want to wear. But of course, everyone sees it as, “She’s saying no to being sexualized,” and, “She’s saying no to being the stereotypical female.” It’s a weird thing because I know a lot of what I hear is a positive or people trying to be positive about how I dress; how I am never really out there wearing nothing, or wearing dresses. I’ve heard that. [Even] from my parents, [the] positive [comments] about how I dress have this slut-shaming element. Like, “I am so glad that you are dressing like a boy, so that other girls can dress like boys, so that they aren’t sluts.” That’s basically what it sounds like to me.
Granted, Eilish did say previously that she liked wearing baggy clothes specifically because “nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath.” She said in a Calvin Klein ad, “nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’ ‘she’s got a flat ass,’ ‘she’s got a fat ass.’” But her choices still seem like a personal preference and less some big statement on how young women in pop are sexualized at every corner. It’s inevitable that she’ll be compared to the Britney Spears, Taylor Swifts, and Lorde’s of the world and their expressions of teen girlhood, of course. But when it comes to her sweatshirts, Eilish would like to let everyone know: it’s really not that deep!