In an interview for Variety’s Power of Women Issue, the “Happier Than Ever” singer touched upon her struggles with her femininity and body image. The pop star reflected on her penchant for baggy clothing, noting that she gravitated towards shapeless silhouettes over figure-hugging ones to protect herself, but not for the reason people might think.
“I wasn’t trying to have people not sexualise me,” she explained to the outlet. “But I didn’t want people to have access to my body, even visually. I wasn’t strong enough and secure enough to show it. If I had shown it at that time, I would have been completely devastated if people had said anything.”
The Grammy winner added: “Maybe my not really caring about being sexualised is because I’ve never felt desired or desirable.”
“I’ve never felt like a woman, to be honest with you. I’ve never felt desirable. I’ve never felt feminine. I have to convince myself that I’m, like, a pretty girl,” she continued. “I identify as ‘she/her’ and things like that, but I’ve never really felt like a girl.”
Growing up with these complex feelings, coupled with intense public scrutiny towards her growing body, Eilish said that it was difficult for her to navigate her relationship with femininity. In the rare moments that the artist was photographed in tighter clothing, the media and the public would point to the photos as evidence of Eilish being a hypocrite.
“You wear something that’s at all revealing, and everyone’s like: ‘Oh, but you didn’t want people to sexualise you?’” she vented. “You can suck my a**! I’m literally a being that is sexual sometimes. F*** you!”
The “Bad Guy” singer added that the extra scrutiny towards her body was something women disproportionately face, unlike men, who she claimed are widely accepted for how they look no matter how much they weigh.
“Nobody ever says a thing about men’s bodies,” she ranted. “If you’re muscular, cool. If you’re not, cool. If you’re rail thin, cool. If you have a dad bod, cool. If you’re pudgy, love it! Everybody’s happy with it. You know why? Because girls are nice. They don’t give a f*** because we see people for who they are!”
Eilish told the outlet that she hasn’t always seen herself as a girl’s girl, thinking when she was younger that none of them liked her very much. As she’s gotten older, she’s grown to appreciate women and womanhood itself, partly thanks to Greta Gerwig’s blockbuster Barbie movie.
Following the July release of her song “What Was I Made For?” from the Barbie soundtrack, which scores the scene in which Rhea Perlman’s Ruth Handler shows Margot Robbie’s Barbie what being a woman entails, it spawned a viral TikTok trend with 1.3 million people creating video collages and supercuts of what girlhood and womanhood means to them.
“It was so moving, dude. It was so, so touching,” Eilish said. “I feel like I helped bring people together, and it felt so special. I wasn’t expecting to have women around the world feel connected.”
With time, Eilish has grown to prioritise her female friendships as well as accept that she’s romantically and sexually attracted to women as well.
“I’ve never really felt like I could relate to girls very well,” Eilish explained. “I love them so much. I love them as people. I’m attracted to them as people. I’m attracted to them for real.”
“I have deep connections with women in my life, the friends in my life, the family in my life,” she added, confirming that she’s attracted to women as well as men. “I’m physically attracted to them. But I’m also so intimidated by them and their beauty and their presence.”
While putting the finishing touches on her third album, Eilish has been the subject of Oscar buzz once more for “What Was I Made For?” and received praise for her acting debut as a cult leader in Amazon Prime’s series Swarm, helmed by Donald Glover.