“Growing up in public” has been the story of Billie Eilish’s life in the four-plus years since she rose from SoundCloud star to global phenomenon — but she’s using her platform to make a powerful statement about body shaming and assumptions people make about her and other young women with a new spoken-word video called “Not My Responsibility.”
In the months since she became famous, much has been made about Eilish’s “realness” and her disinclination to glam herself up in traditional female pop-star ways, choosing instead to dress more like a rapper or a normal teenager. In the clip, the singer — who turned 18 in December — is shown in a darkened room, slowly removing her black hoodie as she speaks about body image and shaming. “Do you know me?,” she says, before proceeding into a series of questions about how people see her and expect her to act. “Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you?”
As the clip draws toward its end, Eilish slowly sinks into dark water. “We make assumptions about people based on their size. We decide who they are. We decide what they’re worth,” she concludes in the clip. “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?”
The clip premiered during Eilish’s “Where Do We Go?” world tour, which played just three concerts in March before being postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Variety got an up-close look at her career and the attention around her when we joined her for three days on tour last fall for our Hitmakers issue — read the articles here.