It matters little whether you listen to the young American singer or that you have never heard of her: the story that hit her affects us all, directly or not. In this article we will talk about body shaming, that is the hateful behavior with which a person is mocked for a physical characteristic, and how the responsibility is collective. We will address the topic through the events that involved Billie Eilish but also by reflecting on the words of her short film.
TRIGGER WARNING: the article contains brief references to Bullying, harassment, food disorders e suicidal thoughts. If you are sensitive to the mention of these issues, do not continue reading.
INTRODUCTION: links to the aforementioned Twitter profile or to the community di Gaming managed by the author of tweet. To avoid giving further visibility to certain subjects, it was preferred to insert screenshot rather than embedding posts.
Billie Eilish Pirate Baird O'Connell, known as Billie Eilish, is a Californian singer who rose to fame at the age of 15. After debuting in 2016 with the single Ocean eyesin fact, she was overwhelmed by success and consecrated herself as a young indie pop talent, also helped by an easily recognizable tone and a very personal aesthetic.
Although it is a phenomenon known worldwide, it may be that not all our readers are interested in pop music and that they have not stumbled upon Billie's songs, so a short introduction was a must to introduce the artist. But we're not here to talk about his songs, but about the wave of body shaming that submerged it.
A few days ago some photos appeared online showing Billie without her clothes oversize by order, but wearing a tight tank top and shorts. In short, had it not been for the now typical fluorescent green hair, she would not have distinguished her from any girl of her age.
Could the internet miss an opportunity to cover her with insults? Never is it.
Therefore, derisive comments were not made to wait, highlighting the singer's weight gain and underlining it as a negative value, with a whole series of unhappy jokes about it.
I TWEET INCRIMINATED
In particular, the tweet user @GamesNosh, founder of an e community di Gaming, in which the author writes: "In 10 months, Billie Eilish developed the body of a 35-year-old wine mom".
Everything seems to have (re) started from here. Yeah… because Billie is hardly new to this kind of comment.
First, what is one wine mom? You know those mothers in their forties who are in groups sipping wine, complaining about their children's school and their relationship with their husbands, posting a thousand photos of their meetings? Here, that's the American stereotype of wine mom: no longer very young, no longer very fit, let go over the years and not particularly desirable.
Note that Chris, @GamesNosh's real name, is not just anyone hater fifteen who doesn't like Billie. On the contrary, it is an adult man, close to 30 years old and with a following of about 10 thousand people (at the time of writing this article).
THE REACTION OF FANDOM
Fans have predictably scapicollated to defend and support their darling, highlighting the danger of considerations like the one written by Chris. Comments of this type, in fact, can constitute real cyberbullying and have serious consequences on the psyche of those who are submerged.
To show that he understood the message, the man shared several other mocking posts that culminated in these words: "I can say with 100% honesty that, if skinny celebrities started developing eating disorders because a bitch like me just tweeted, I WOULD DO IT EVERY DAY."
There is no doubt that he was honest. Also, I would never dare to deny it when he first chooses to give himself a bitch. After all, he is so proud of having fixed the tweet at the top of your profile for days.
Moreover, it is well known that the singer herself told, in ainterview with Dazed magazine, of having begun to use baggy clothes because of the hatred he felt towards his own body. Just to add an aggravating circumstance to the whole.
To this were added tens of thousands of other people's considerations between indignation, disgust and hilarity, which are configured as real cyberbullying towards the singer. Not to mention the questionable "fan art”, If they can be called that, which portray it associated with the brand of a well-known person fast food American. Needless to say, Chris hasn't missed an opportunity to share some of them but he's just a drop in the bucket body shaming, albeit rather representative.
NOT MY RESPONSIBILITY
If it is already inappropriate to demean an adult person for their own body, imagine the impact that comments and illustrations of this kind can have on a girl of less than 19 years and on the audience of very young people who follow her, taking her as a model. Imagine the burden of feeling constantly observed and judged by your appearance, with no escape.
Indeed, it is not even necessary to imagine it because Billie herself told it in a short film published last May, which I leave you here and of which I have translated the text.
“Do you know me? Do you really know me? You have opinions about my opinions, my music, my clothes, my body. Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it, some people use it to demean others, some people use it to demean me. But I hear you scrutinizing, always, and nothing I do goes unnoticed. So while I feel your looks, your disapproval or your sighs of relief ... if I lived by them, I would never be able to move. Would you like me to be thinner? Weaker? More delicate? Highest? Would you like to shut up yourself? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest do? Am I my belly? My hips? Isn't the body I was born into what you wanted?
If I wear something comfortable, I'm not a woman. If I take off the layers, I'm a bitch. Even though you have never seen my body, you still judge it and you judge me for it. Because? We make assumptions about people based on their size, we decide who they are, we decide how much they are worth. If I dress more, if I dress less ... who decides what that makes me? What does it mean? Is my worth based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility? "
REFLECTIONS ON THE SHORT FILM
In the flood of articles written following the release of the short film, there is no shortage of titles such as "Billie Eilish does a striptease in her latest video"Or very nice close up on his chest.
In short, the message seems to have been perfectly understood.
Billie has been in the spotlight since she was 15 and unfortunately, such considerations have never been lacking. Her posts, in fact, have always been invaded by opinions on her breasts, on clothes, on the way to put on make-up, etc ... explaining the low instincts of those who, voraciously, looked at the body of a teenager and wrote them in detail as they wished touch it. Note that US law provides for aggravating circumstances when minors under the age of 16 are involved, but this does not seem to deter online harassment.
But basically "He sought it out“Someone will say. If you are exposed to public opinion, you have to take certain comments into account and accept them without saying a word. It matters little that you are still human, moreover just teenagers, right? As always, everything is valid on social networks. I would really like to see how many of these vile keyboard lions would dare to repeat the same words in Billie's face.
We don't think this happens only to pop stars, however, because we risk distancing ourselves from them and end up justifying it, normalizing it.
Receiving certain comments, whether on social media or in person, can be an unpleasant and tiring experience for any of us to manage. Unfortunately, although to a lesser extent, I understand what happened to Billie well.
On several occasions I have heard compliments that emphasize how much better I was with a few pounds less, even when the weight lost was due to a debilitating disease. In my circle of friends he has lost count of the people to whom private messages are sent along the lines of "You have a beautiful face, too bad for the body" or "Eat, we give the bones to the dogs".
The question always remains the expectation of having to shape one's body to please people with whom one would not even want to deal, while they feel entitled to demean others. Again to take as an example the words of the magical Chris: "If Billie Eilish put in a little more effort on the treadmill, she might even get picked up by good looking guys". I mean, Billie will never find a handsome guy because she is fat, according to him.
I myself was told that I was pretty but, being able to change something about me, I would have been much better with bigger breasts. When I was criticized for being too thin, I tried to gain weight and suddenly I became too soft. So I made an effort to lose it, in a loop continuous and with no way out. It was enough for me to swing a few kg to go from too thin to too fat in a flash, and vice versa.
But it was only when I started behaving in the same way that I could see the joker of "If you care about someone, you have to accept them as they are and not try to change them". Only applies to others, right? Yes, because it's all different when a judgment hits us in the first person and you feel it coming like a shovel in the face, compared to when you throw it up on others. And Chris knows this well, because the body shaming it bounced back.
This does not mean that adding debasement to debasement is right, far from it.
Over the years I have learned to respond in kind to these kinds of comments, especially where they came out every day from the mouth of people who said they cared about me. After my provocations like "All right, then I'll put the money aside and get my breasts done"Who knows why, I have witnessed ridiculous reverse gear and have been accused of being exaggerated. Why can you say everything, right? They are just opinions, just jokes. It is always those who do not have a laugh to be heavy, not those who demean.
Does cyberbullying drive you to suicide? Your fault, you are weak.
Il body shaming pushes you towards an eating disorder? Your fault, you have low self-esteem.
Never once has it been the fault of whoever (forgive the pun) strikes the blow.
The question behind this article is only one: are we sure that the responsibility is not ours too?
Thinking about it, how many times have we seen photos of a famous person and harshly commenting on their physical form or some aesthetic feature? How many times have our friends done this and silently observed or laughed at their jokes?
The same treatment was reserved for Adele with photos on the beach last summer, in which the singer was widely criticized for losing weight and forms. Likewise, the tennis player Serena Williams is often referred to as "too masculine", Emma Stone she heard "Eat a sandwich" or "You look sick"And Jennifer Aniston, exasperated, she went so far as to publish an edgy open letter after yet another article in which one wondered if she was pregnant at the first hint of bacon. Just a couple of days ago, a photo of the former skier Lindsey Vonn in a bikini sparked a flood of comments about her imperfections. But without going too far, too Vanessa Incontrada she has been fighting for decades against the criticisms that are directed at her body.
It would also be a mistake to believe that the body shaming affects only women: just think of Brendan Fraser and the numerous collages that compare his current physique with the muscular one of over 20 years ago. Another striking example is Gerard Way, singer of the My Chemical Romance and author of The Umbrella Academy (whose reviews you can find Thu e Thu), "Guilty" of having gained a few pounds compared to the times of The black parade.
BUT IS IT ONLY THE OTHER'S FAULT?
How many times have we shared posts and articles with this type of narrative? How many times have we literally weighed a person's value based on our personal preferences? How often have we taken this yardstick even outside of social networks and the world of the network?
The point is that you don't realize the impact of comments of this nature, much less when they are thrown into the ether with the belief that no one is reading them.
We are all responsible, especially us who write for a site similar to that of whoever posted the tweet on Billie Eilish above. We are required to provide quality information and to lead by example, avoiding to promote derisive or discriminatory behavior, as well as harassing.
Who promotes a pub or a gaming house showing the breasts of the waitresses and the legs of the adventurers, she is equally responsible because she knows that she is feeding a certain type of culture and objectification. Leaving slimy comments underneath photos, rather than removing them and banning users, is an added incentive.
Anyone who posts memes about how much fried chicken a certain actor ate is equally responsible. And the more following you have on social media, the more you should be careful about the shock wave that is caused by your own words. Assuming that the people being commented are waterproof can be risky. This is true in every area, because it only takes a moment to make a post go viral and to irreparably hurt someone, with consequences whose severity cannot be predicted.
By now I know well the whining that follows this type of reflection: "Bea, then can we no longer say anything? I can't spend time paying attention, so as not to hurt or offend someone."
Ah, no? Isn't that what you do when you get behind the wheel of a car, pay attention? For heaven's sake, then it can happen to make an accident or hit a pole while parking ... but surely you try to avoid it. Spitting out judgments and judgments against people who haven't asked for our opinion isn't much different than driving with a blindfold, earplugs and picking your nose - someone will end up getting hurt. All right, someone could throw two curses out of the window.
Pretending that the insulted people have hard skin and broad shoulders is not far from expecting pedestrians to spin around in rubber bubbles so that we can continue driving with our eyes on the phone screen. And maybe, in the meantime, Billie Eilish is on the radio.