‘Billie Eilish can wear whatever she likes – that’s what empowerment is’

Pop star Billie Eilish has been in the public eye since she was 13. She’s the youngest artist to win the four main Grammy categories in the same year, to write a James Bond theme, to feature on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list.

But the thing she’s probably most famous for?

Unlike every other female music performer on the planet, she always wore baggy clothes.

Over the weekend, Vogue magazine released pictures of their new cover featuring Billie, now 19, in 40s-style underwear.

The word “underwear” conjures up images of flimsy bras and barely there g-strings, but this is far from that, much more demure and covered up. It is, however, a definite departure from hoodies and loose fitting trousers.

What is your view? Have your say in the comment section

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First, the good news. The Vogue cover got one million likes in under six minutes on Instagram, the fastest a post has ever racked up that number.

Billie had made it known the shoot was her idea, her vision – she hadn’t been forced or even persuaded into these outfits by record company or magazine executives in suits. This was all her. She was in control.

“I love these pictures and I loved doing this shoot,” she wrote on the social media site, “Do whatever you want, whenever you want”.

Most of the comments were positive, applauding Billie for continuing to take on her career, her life, on her terms. Now the bad news. A – thankfully much smaller – number of people felt let down by Billie.

Billie is the cover star of the June 2021 edition of Vogue magazine
(Image: DALiM)

Yes, because of something she wore, on one occasion, in a women’s fashion magazine.

They made snarky comments about selling out, ignoring the simple truth that someone who just earned $53million doesn’t really need to do that.

They were thrown, unsettled by her apparent change of direction, decided their role model was a traitor. What utter nonsense.

With these photos, Billie Eilish is setting an incredible example to young women, just as she was when she wore voluminous clothes concealing her shape.

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The outfit has changed, but the message is completely consistent. My choice.

She unapologetically does what she wants, and refuses to be defined by how she decides to dress on any given day. There’s so much more to her, to all women, than whether what she wears hugs or hides her figure.

She’s also proving a woman has the right to change her mind about how she presents herself, whenever, and as many times as she feels like it. This isn’t her new look, it’s a look.

In the accompanying Vogue interview, Billie predicts the backlash to the images, clearly every bit as smart as she seems.

“If you’re about body positivity, why would you wear a corset? Why wouldn’t you show your actual body?” she expects some to rant, before ending all discussion with one line. “My thing is I can do whatever I want.”

She goes on, “Showing your body and showing your skin, or not, should not take any respect away from you.”

In the continuing battle for equality, many women have fought, and died, for our rights. To make a better world for our daughters and our daughters’ daughters.

There are so many dispiriting, heartbreaking, infuriating examples of how far we still have to go, so this moment must be celebrated. An internationally high profile 19-year-old woman feeling perfectly entitled – and free – enough to boldly say “My choice”? That’s something we should all be proud of.