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The singer — who in May made waves for swapping her signature oversized outfits for pinup-style lingerie on the cover of British Vogue — spoke out on "unattainable body standards" and her own efforts to "disassociate" from her feelings about her body when she's performing.
"When I’m on stage, I have to disassociate from the ideas I have of my body,” the 19-year-old pop star shared. “Especially because I wear clothes that are bigger and easier to move in without showing everything — they can be really unflattering. In pictures, they look like I don’t even know what. I just completely separate the two. Because I have such a terrible relationship with my body, like you would not believe, so I just have to disassociate… Then you get a paparazzi picture taken when you were running to the door and had just put anything on, and didn’t know the picture’s being taken, and you just look how you look, and everyone’s like, ‘Fat!’”
Eilish may have been referring to a moment last fall in which she was body-shamed after being photographed wearing a tank top and shorts; "nope, this is how I look," she later said of speculation that she'd gained weight. (Of online trolls, she now says, "These people don’t do anything. I’m like, do something with your life! Go somewhere. Go get a hobby.”)
Speaking to the Guardian, Eilish went on to share her frustrations with having her body scrutinized.
"I mean, we only need bodies to eat and walk around and poop," she noted. "We only need them to survive. It’s ridiculous that anybody even cares about bodies at all. Like, why? Why do we care? You know, when you really think about it?
"Why do we care about hair?" she continued. "Why does everybody hate body hair so much, but we literally have an enormous thing of hair on our heads, and that’s, like, cool and pretty. Like, what’s the difference? I mean, I love hair, and I do crazy things with my hair. I’m as guilty as everybody else. But it’s so weird. If you think about it hard, you go crazy.”
Her new album, Happier Than Ever, takes aim at these obsessions, with songs like "OverHeated" targeting the "unattainable body standards." Echoing her past comments to British Vogue — "it’s all about what makes you feel good," she said of her glam makeover and the expectation that she'd be called a "hypocrite" because of it — Eilish was careful to clarify that she's not against cosmetic procedures, but rather the secrecy so often surrounding them.
“It’s completely fine to get work done — do this, do that, do what makes you feel happy," she explained. "It’s just when you deny it and say, ‘Oh, I got this all on my own, and if you just tried harder, you could get it.’ That makes me literally furious. It is so bad for young women — and boys, too — to see that.”
She added, "I see people online, looking like I’ve never looked. And immediately I am like, oh my God, how do they look like that? I know the ins and outs of this industry, and what people actually use in photos, and I actually know what looks real can be fake. Yet I still see it and go, oh God, that makes me feel really bad. And I mean, I’m very confident in who I am, and I’m very happy with my life… I’m obviously not happy with my body, but who is?”
Ultimately, she'd rather feel comfortable in her skin than be fixated on looking picture-perfect 24/7.
“Since I was a kid,” the Grammy winner shared, “my dad and I have always talked about a certain type of person who’s so insecure, or hyperaware and self-conscious, that they never move in a weird way, or make a weird face, because they always want to look good. I’ve noticed that, and it makes me so sad. If you’re always standing a certain way, walking in a certain way, and always have your hair just so… It’s such a loss to always try to always look good. It’s such a loss of joy and freedom in your body.”
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