While Billie Eilish’s Instagram post revealing her new, bleach blonde locks back in March 2021 holds steady as the fifth most-liked, photo on the social media site with 23 million likes, according to the singer, not everyone is so fond of her changing style. In fact, Eilish recently opened up about some of the backlash she received when she came out from behind her baggy clothes earlier this year and opted to wear some an occasional form-fitting look here and there. Apparently, about 100,000 people couldn’t accept the change. Though, she does have one new fan in her corner and coming to her defense: none other than Madonna.
“People hold on to these memories and have an attachment. But it’s very dehumanizing,” Eilish told Elle in a recent interview. During her first few years with fame, Eilish became known for her skater boy style as she dressed almost exclusively in brand-blazoned baggy silhouettes. But being only 19, it’s unrealistic to expect Eilish to remain stagnate and, in May, the singer debuted a new look on the cover of British Vogue where she wore a blush pink corset. Since then, the 19-year-old hasn’t shied away from showing off her body like she previously did in the past. In July, Eilish posted a closeup photo of her in a corset from Los Angeles-based designer, Miaou, a favorite of the singer. According to her, though, some fans were not pleased.
“I lost 100,000 followers, just because of the boobs,” she said. “People are scared of big boobs.”
The incident is a perfect example of a double standard Billie has faced throughout her career. “The problem is, we still live in a very sexist world where women are put into categories,” said Madonna, who joined in on the conversation with Elle. “You’re either in the virgin category or the whore category. Billie started off in a non-sexualized category, not pandering to the masses and not using her sexuality in any way, which is her choice and God bless her for that—after all, she’s been a teenager all this time.” For Madonna, it all comes down to one thing: the fact that Eilish is a woman. “If Billie were a man, no one would be writing about this,” she said. “A man can show up dressed in a suit and tie for the first three years of his career, and then the next month he could be dressed like Prince or Mick Jagger, shirt off, wearing eyeliner, and no one would say a word.”
Unfortunately, Eilish can’t even wear a tank top without getting comments about her body, an issue for someone living through hot Southern California summers. “The other day, I decided to wear a tank top,” Eilish said. “It wasn’t even a provocative shirt. But I know people are going to say, ‘Holy fuck, she’s dressing sexy and trying to make a statement.’ And I’m like, ‘No, I’m not. It’s 500 degrees and I just want to wear a tank top.’”
Some of Eilish’s fans seem to think that just because she wears something new or dyes her hair, she becomes a completely different person. She explained that she often sees comments about her fans missing “the green-haired Billie,” referencing Eilish’s previous lime green hairstyle. “I’m still the same person,” she explained. “I’m not just different Barbies with different heads.”