In Billie Eilish’s recent interview with the British version of Vogue, she discusses being taken advantage of just for being young, and taking back that power.
Her newly released single “Your Power” confronts abusers who exploit underage girls, Eilish flips the responsibility on the viewer to consider their baggage. She said her song can be applied to anyone: “You might think, ‘It’s because she’s in the music industry’ – no, dude. It’s everywhere. I don’t know one girl or woman who hasn’t had a weird experience, or a really bad experience. And men, too – young boys are taken advantage of constantly.”
She went on to say, “Don’t make me not a role model because you’re turned on by me.” Her body “was the initial reason for my depression when I was younger,” made worse when she quit dancing at age 13 due to an injury. That led her to wearing baggy clothes, which became a main focus when she rose to fame.
Eilish said a paparazzi photo of her in form-fitting clothes was spun by the media that she was “feeling comfortable in her bigger skin.” She felt offended by the way it was portrayed saying, “Jesus Christ?! Good for me? F— off! 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.” She went on to say, “because of the way that I feel that the world sees me, I haven’t felt really desired. But that’s really my whole life, though, so I don’t know if it’s anything to do with fame.”
19-year-old Eilish unveiled yet another new look for the magazine’s photoshoot, donning her new platinum hair and styled in Eilish’s vision of a “classic, old-timey pin-up.” She said of the photoshoot, “I’ve literally never done anything in this realm at all. Y’know, besides when I’m alone and s—.”
Eilish said she wanted to explore the beauty of corsets, one of the most controversial garments in fashion history. From the shapes, lacing and design, she was also drawn to their original restrictive function saying, “if I’m honest with you, I hate my stomach, and that’s why.” However, she says that society is also judgmental when someone shows some skin: “you’re easy and you’re a slut and you’re a whore. If I am, then I’m proud. Me and all the girls are hoes, and f— it, y’know? Let’s turn it around and be empowered in that. Showing your body and showing your skin – or not – should not take any respect away from you.”
“I really think the bottom line is, men are very weak. I think it’s just so easy for them to lose it. ‘You expect a dude not to grab you if you’re wearing that dress?’ Seriously, you’re that weak? Come on!”
The lyrics of her 2019 single “When I Was Older” still linger for Eilish: “I’m still a victim in my own right/But I’m the villain in my own eyes.” She said, “you can always be taken advantage of. That’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?’ And it’s so embarrassing and humiliating and demoralizing to be in that position of thinking you know so much and then you realize, I’m being abused right now.”
What happened to Eilish took place when she was younger, not by a music industry figure, according to Vogue, who noted that Eilish didn’t share any other details about that incident. They say that she anticipated the oncoming scrutiny of the contradicting themes of her song and photoshoot. “‘You’re going to complain about being taken advantage of as a minor, but then you’re going to show your boobs?’. Yes I am, motherf—er! I’m going to because there’s no excuse. It’s about taking that power back, showing it off and not taking advantage with it. I’m not letting myself be owned anymore.”