Don’t Judge A Billie By Its Cover

Our story today focuses on a young artist you may have heard of: Billie Eilish. Margaret Abrams writes a piece called Billie Eilish: ‘I’ve worried that I was going to become the stereotype that everybody thinks every young artist becomes’  for The Evening Standard. This piece is particularly important because it delves into what young artists think we (listeners) expect of them – in their career, their body, etc.

Billie is raises the topic of body image quite often, as she is known for wearing baggy clothing so that people don’t just judge her body.

Billie Eilish Singing GIF by Recording Academy / GRAMMYs - Find & Share on GIPHY

In this article, Billie relates herself to Britney Spears – another singer who had her beginnings as a teen popstar, but took a turn for the worst when she shaved her hair off from being under too much pressure. Billie does not want to end up like that, nor does she want people to have those expectations of her… which is why it’s easier for her to simply hide off a large portion of herself physically to prevent those expectations.

Now, diving into the actual source of this piece! A large portion of the article is based off of a Vogue interview with Eilish, which IS linked. It seems as though this author read the Vogue article and picked the pieces that are particularly relevant to her topic, which I find smart! It condensed this long interview into a smaller more digestible article to make a point relating to body image and mental health.

Abrams presents Eilish as a relatable figure, as she quotes Eilish saying, “I just hated my body. I would have done anything to be in a different one. I really wanted to be a model, really bad, and I was chubby and short.” A feeling we’ve all experienced in one way or another.

Another source Abrams uses is Eilish’s ad for Calvin Klein where she explains why she wears the baggy clothes: “Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath. Nobody can be like, ‘She’s slim-thick,’ ‘She’s not slim-thick,’ ‘She’s got a flat a**,’ ‘She’s got a fat a**.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”

Other than Vogue and Calvin Klein, there aren’t any other relevant sources cited. The other links included are directed to other articles about Billie Eilish produced by the Evening Standard, but don’t necessarily have to do with the article’s core topic.

A quick search into author Margaret Abrams, and we can see she is a regular writer for the Evening Standard – primarily celebrity news. This does build her credibility and secures her spot as an established writer at least for this outlet.

Many of her articles are of a similar model in that she finds information straight from a celebrity interview or their social media and writes her pieces based off that. For example, she wrote an article about Jameela Jamil coming out as queer. She directly sources Jamil’s Twitter post:

While I thoroughly enjoyed this article and felt it touched on a very important topic, I wish the author had built her article out a little bit more. It would have been more multi-dimensional with a few more sources.

One story that came out recently had to do with Billie Eilish’s vacation to Hawaii with her friends. Eilish shared Instagram content in a bikini and her fans came to her defense as she was being shamed about these photos of her body.  This would have been a valuable addition to the article because it directly relates to what Eilish was quoted saying in the Vogue interview: “It’s funny, because when you’re a little kid, you don’t think of your body at all. And all of a sudden, you look down and you’re, like, whoa. What can I do to make this go away?” You know what makes someone want their developing body to go away? Public shame!

All in all, Abrams did a good job outlining Vogue’s interview with Billie Eilish and citing credible sources. I don’t think she did a good job of persuasion in her own words, she heavily relied on her sources to do the work for her. That said, it doesn’t mean she didn’t get the point across. For those reasons, I give her story a ‘B’ letter grade.