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Normal people: the Billie Eilish Revolution

Butthurt internet trolls snubbing women’s bodies is nothing new. Last week, Twitter users decided to pick Billie Eilish as their latest target. The outcome? Some very ruffled feminist feathers.

It all begun with user Gamesnosh’s tweet: ‘in 10 months Billie Eilish has developed a mid- 30’s wine mom body’ with an attached photo of Eilish walking along a pavement.

Eilish is a Grammy- winning, multiplatinum teenager and all people care about is her appearance. Why? Because bodies have become so commodified that casual shaming is part and parcel of 21st-century womanhood.

Our infatuation with the rich and famous passed the point of problematic a long time ago. That people even engage with pictures of celebrities walking down the road says it all.

Rebel Wilson’s body has also found itself in the public eye recently for losing weight. Two particularly lamentable headlines read ‘Rebel Wilson shows off 44lb weight loss in gym leggings and a hoodie as she fills her car up at gas station’ and ‘Rebel Wilson showcases body in the most incredible fitness outfit.’

Tabloid twaddle used to be mocked—something to be disparaged and disregarded. Now, it is so deeply ingrained in our cultural fabric that gossip and news have become largely interchangeable.

As a result, women’s appearances have become such an object of fascination that there can be little wonder why body dysmorphia and self-loathing are at an all-time high.

Despite it all, our unabashed Billie responded with an almighty clap back. Turning to Instagram, Eilish posted a shorted video by lifestyle guru and activist Chizi Duru titled ‘can we normalise real bodies?’ In the video, Duru’s message is, ‘guts are normal’ and ‘Instagram isn’t real’.

This isn’t the first time Billie Eilish has engaged in conversation about body shaming. Back in May, Eilish released a short film titled ‘Not My Responsibility’, in which she multitasks submerging into a pool of black liquid and calling out misogynistic vitriol.

True to her intensely profound style, Eilish says ‘we make assumptions about people based on their size, we decide who they are, we decide what they’re worth… is my value based on your perception or is your opinion of me, not my responsibility?’

From the moment she emerged onto our screens and into our ears, Eilish’s style has remained a bone of contention.

Trolls have slammed her for being unfeminine. Admirers have heralded her as an androgynous icon. The question remains, why does anyone care?

In an interview with Dazed, Eilish claims ‘if I wore a dress to something, I would be hated for it. People would be like “you’ve changed, how dare you do what you’ve always rebelled against?”’. It’s a pretty sorry state of affairs when an 18-year-old can’t wear a dress without getting persecuted.

It’s easy to feel cynical about all this and try to close the book on it. But change in society is always set in motion by those that live in it. So, what can we do about it?

A good start is to report internet trolls. Remember that trolls survive on a diet of poison and self- loathing, so don’t make yourself collateral. Don’t fuel them and don’t be baited but do flag their malicious content.

On a more positive note, celebrate all bodies. Don’t engage with stories about women getting petrol. Start engaging with body positivity activism.

Change your feed! Fill your ‘following’ lists with people who celebrate, rather than denigrate female bodies. Most importantly, be kind to others.

Let women gain weight in peace and let them lose it without comment.

Image: crommelincklars via Wikimedia Commons