Editor's note: The video included in this article contains some profanity.
The figure of an woman’s body should never be the topic of national news. Yet this week Twitter users and media outlets alike erupted with comments debating about 18-year-old pop singer Billie Eilish’s physical appearance.
It all started with a paparazzi photo of the Grammy winner wearing a form-fitting outfit in public. It was a rare moment for Eilish, whose usual style typically includes oversized and baggy clothing.
The first of its kind without a live audience, the 2020 Billboard Music Awards aired Wednesday.
This caused the picture to go viral, predominantly among online communities body-shaming her for her curvier figure. Such a response to women's bodies in the media is unfortunately not out of the ordinary, something which Eilish herself has repeatedly called out.
Indeed, Eilish has spoken multiple times about how she uses fashion to protect herself from the judgment and sexualization that comes with being a woman in the public eye.
In a 2019 Calvin Klein ad, Eilish said, “I never want the world to know everything about me. I mean, that’s why I wear big, baggy clothes… Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath, you know?”
It’s a shame that she’s so young, yet so aware that people, men especially, will eagerly harass women for their body types if they aren’t deemed “normal" enough. But what is "normal," when our perception of women's bodies has changed so much?
It’s no secret magazines and retailers have used Photoshop for years to make models and celebrities appear flawless. But now, in the age of social media and influencers, the bar is set even higher for normal people trying to achieve a level of perfection only made possible by Facetune and/or plastic surgery.
It’s best for people, young women especially, to be taught that not everything they see online is true or “normal” for everyone. According to the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education, the average American woman is between a size 16 and 18.
Sizes outside of the single-digit range shouldn’t be ridiculed in the media, nor should they be made into some big feminist statement.
These women shouldn’t be seen as “brave” for wearing their bodies unapologetically. They're just normal. This is something our society should’ve learned to accept a long time ago.
No one should be considered brave for being comfortable in their completely normal body. If anything, Eilish is a more realistic representation of the average American woman than most celebrities are.
Recently, popular female artists with curvier figures like Lizzo and Meghan Thee Stallion have helped with the representation of different body types in the media outside of the traditional slim figure.
If people keep forgetting that women don’t always look like Snapchat filters in real life, our perceptions of each other and of ourselves will soon be permanently changed — and for the worse.
Gabrielle Martinez is a 20-year-old mass communication sophomore from Gonzales.