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Billie Eilish: The Corset That Challenged Perception

By: Kirsty Freeman

Image Via: Craig McDean

Image description: Billie Eilish on the June 2021 cover of British Vogue

Billie Eilish broke the internet recently by attaining her first appearance on the cover of British Vogue following the release of her latest single “Your Power”, which unveiled her second studio album Happier than Ever. The 19-year-old, often named the “voice of Gen-Z”, revealed her June 2021 British Vogue cover on her Instagram, and broke several records: the most liked Vogue cover in the history of the magazine (a record previously held by Ariana Grande), and the first post to surpass one million likes in just six minutes. Two days later she broke the second record again when sharing a close-up portrait wearing custom Gucci which reached one million likes in five minutes.

Billie’s cover made headlines in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Italy, Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Poland, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Philippines, Brazil, India, Mexico, South Africa, and the Middle East. Billie is often hailed a, somewhat reluctant, icon of body positivity, as well as, of course, a feminist, so the cover sparked some conversation when she appeared very differently to how we are used to seeing her. In the accompanying interview with British Vogue, Billie said: "I've literally never done anything in this realm at all. Y'know, besides when I'm alone and sh*t."

Billie went on to break down the look she chose, she wanted to wear a corset because she is insecure about her stomach, she went on to say body positivity is “all about what makes you feel good.” Billie said, “If you want to get surgery, go get surgery. If you want to wear a dress wear a dress that somebody thinks you look too big wearing f**k it – if you feel like you look good, you look good.”

But the photos experienced backlash. The singer posted an edited image of a headline by the Daily Mail that read: “Proof that money can make you change your values and ‘sell out’: Billie Eilish shocks fans by swapping bagging clothes for lingerie in Vogue – despite years of vowing to ‘hide her body’”

Image via Emily Clarkson

The meme replaced the headline with: “Proof that women can change their minds and reclaim autonomy over their own bodies. Billie Eilish shocks fans by swapping baggy clothes for lingerie in Vogue – despite years of being an actual child.”

During an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s Late Show Billie divulged her feelings about the reaction, calling it “amazing” but “scary”. She went on to add, "I think it more just makes me never want to post again," Billie admitted – "I feel like I wanted to post more when less people cared, and now that more people care, it's scary to me." However, Billie’s confidence hasn’t been knocked by her critics – "I'm just so proud of it," Billie said, "I feel so cocky about it, I've got to tell you."

When asked about her new single, “Your Power”, Billie said: "I would say [it's] my favorite song that I've ever written. That doesn't mean I don't like any other songs as much... I mean, I really feel very cocky about it. I'm sorry." She went on to add, "I think there's just times in life where you should be allowed to feel cocky about something, I just am very proud of myself with this song, and I feel like I can never top it." The conclusion remains: Billie Eilish will always be an icon to Gen-Z, whether she decides to wear baggy clothes or a corset – embracing her own style in a modern way.

Written by writer Kirsty Freeman

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