Billie Eilish kicked off her Where Do We Go? world tour in Miami by sending a bold message about body image.
The singer, who’s known for favouring loose-fitting clothing in an effort to keep people from sexualising her body, made a big statement in a video that played before she sang her song “All the Good Girls Go to Hell.”
While the Grammy winner spoke in a voiceover about body image criticism she’s faced, she slowly shed layers of clothing — down to a bra top — as the crowd cheered wildly. As she undressed, she lowered herself into a pool of water, the fan video showed.
“Do you really know me?” she asked in the interlude. “You have opinions about my opinions, about my music, about my clothes, about my body. Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it. Some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me. But I feel you watching ... always. And nothing I do goes unseen.”
Eilish continued, “So while I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sighs of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move. Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips? The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted? If what I wear is comfortable, I am not a woman. If I shed the layers, I am a slut.”
She ended with, “Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why? You make assumptions about people based on their size. We decide who they are. We decide what they’re worth. If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me? What that means? Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?”
As if the screams in the audience weren’t enough, social media has been praising her powerful message. One fan called her “the strongest, most empowering woman i know.”
the strongest, most empowering woman i know. billie eilish. pic.twitter.com/XfNxoSmnlZ— nat CHLOE DAY (@sheshostage) March 10, 2020
Another said Eilish’s speech “is the only thing that matters!”
the speech is the only thing that matters!!!!! pic.twitter.com/Wcy3DMhEBW— rally (@eiIishIimbo) March 10, 2020
The entertainer has long spoken out about her signature style — and how it’s an effort to avoid being objectified. Last year, she appeared in Calvin Klein's "I Speak My Truth" series and said, "I never want the world to know everything about me.
“Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’ ‘she’s got a flat a**,’ ‘she’s got a fat a**.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know."
Last summer, she told Vogue Australia, “What I like about just dressing like I’m 800 sizes bigger than I am, is it kind of gives nobody the opportunity to judge what your body looks like.”
And in December, she said, "Me and my body's relationship has been the most toxic relationship you could even imagine. The way that I've dressed has made that relationship so much better” — the same interview in which she discussed having suicidal thoughts since achieving stardom.
Eilish’s North American tour will go through June before she hops the pond and brings it to Europe. But she kicked off her first show with a big dose of star power with Jennifer Lopez and her daughter Emme there for the show — and a meet and greet.