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Billie Eilish: 'Masculinity' and 'Femininity' of clothes!

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Every year, exclusive award ceremonies and fancy events roll out their carpets for celebrities to showcase their take on fashion that year. All hands are brought on deck to produce the perfect outfit for a celebrity to walk down the path with hundreds of cameras ready to flood the news and media outlets. Audiences impatiently wait for their favorite ‘heartthrobs’ to unveil their looks. Fans spend days debating on how suitable or appropriate an outfit was. All pretend to be elite fashion connoisseurs, expressing their 2 cents on an outfit as they cling to their screens.

Among the famous artists that have had the honor of creating stirs within media/news outlets for their looks, Billie Eilish holds a top position. The 21-year-old, American singer-songwriter, has faced much backlash on her fashion journey that has made many of these pretend fashionists itch with discomfort, creating news headlines on all ends of the spectrum including being called “too boyish” or “too sultry feminine.”


Starting off her career, Billie Eilish became the talk of the town with her “baggy clothes” and styling “masculine” looks. Many news outlets chose to comment on the masculinity of her clothes and Eilish was subject to many interviews which were adamant to focus more on questions about her styling than her record-breaking music or multiple award wins. The extent of the interest in her clothing was so much that the singer explicitly had to explain why she felt more comfortable in these clothes termed as “masculine.”


In June 2021, British Vogue unveiled the very first look of Eilish’s cover photos, and in an immediate second, the misogynistic writers behind famous media outlets seized their time to shine. Media outlets declared the Vogue Cover as a “Controversial Lingerie Photoshoot.” The trouble was not a young woman sexualized on the cover page of a famous magazine, but simply the discomfort it caused in the eyes of those who had permanently stamped her as “masculine.”

Thankfully for these virulent media hosts and writers, Eilish didn’t stop providing food for entertainment that would flood the trending news. The singer-songwriter continued to challenge her own clothing styles at major events like the Oscars, Grammys, and the Met Gala. Many termed the singer as a ‘sellout’ and others didn’t disappoint in the artistic use of similar terms. To all the backlash Eilish received, the singer had a perfect response to critics – “Let women exist.


Eilish came to her social media to address the issue, slamming back at “women hating a** weirdoes” who have always criticized her fashion choices. Eilish continued to defend her fashion choices by writing, “Did you know that women are multifaceted? Shocking right? Believe it or not, women can be interested in multiple things.”


The brutality of news headlines and the intense scrutiny female celebrities are put on red carpets is no new report. But the lines between a mere media norm and something problematic are blurred when the talented female singer is only reduced to the terms of either being too “masculine” or too “feminine” for our media to digest. Why can’t women in the media industry be in more than one form? And at the end of the day, what is too masculine or too feminine? Or simply, what is masculinity and femininity as it is?









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I read an article a while back where they mentioned that Billie has a feels a sense of being trapped by the persona and signature look she has established. And sometimes doesn't wanna be "boyish" like people expect her to be. I feel like its very important that people dont categorize others. Humans have complex identities and are not limited to one specific way of presenting themselves.

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The media we consume has made people have expectations about how female celebrities should dress. There are a lot of expectations from female celebrities to wear "feminine" clothing or a specific type of clothing and fit into the stereotypical beauty norms and when someone does not want to do that, we often see them getting backlash over it. You see such discriminatory actions against women more to the point where their appearance takes precedence over their talents. There is no inherent concept of masculine or feminine clothing but these are social constructs. For this reason, I like how Billie Eilish taking into account the interplay between individual intentions and social structures uses her social position to try to subvert the…

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Lovely read. I think Billie Eilish being this transparent on her social media really reminds us that despite being a rising and well established star, she too is a human being like the rest of us. This perfect image that the internet has formed of her is one that is impossible for any normal human being to maintain and she is incredibly strong to be able to voice her thoughts this openly and directly. You can always tell that there isn't some PR marketing team behind those Instagram stories and that those words and thoughts are what she truly feels and being the same age as her, we can understand her the best and where she's coming from. It honestly…

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Thank you for shedding light on the ongoing scrutiny faced by artists like Billie Eilish and the problematic labelling of their fashion choices. It's disheartening to see how media outlets often prioritize discussing her clothing over her remarkable music and achievements. The double standards and narrow definitions of masculinity and femininity imposed on female celebrities are indeed problematic. The notion that women should be allowed to exist in multiple forms without being criticized for it should be supported in all social groups. Billie Eilish's journey in challenging these norms is inspiring and serves as a reminder that we should all be more open-minded and accepting of each other's unique styles and expressions.

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Absolutely! It's sad how achievements of female artists get overlooked with just the matter of what clothes they wear. Even in sports, for example, Serena Williams has been targeted a lot by the choice of clothes she wore to her match after giving birth. If only her achievements, trophies, and gold medals would get as much attention as what she wears!

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When she was wearing loose clothes and giving casual masc, everyone was angry; when she was wearing tight clothes and giving strong, independent, beautiful woman, everyone was angry. The problem does not appear to be the choice of clothes - it's just that she's a woman and therefore an easy target for all frustrations and criticisms.

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Exactly! Women's clothes are not the problem, the problem is in the eyes of those who judge. And such terms and slogans by popular media outlets are very dangerous because terms like "sultry" used so easily can perpetuate such attitudes towards women. And in a lot of ways it could build attitudes like victim blaming, for example, where at the end of the day, the very victim is said to be at fault purely based on their choice of clothes!

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