Billie Eilish Battles Sexualization


Indie pop sensation, Billie Eilish, recently called out NYLON Germany for using an image of her without permission. (Courtesy of Flickr)

Billie Eilish is not here for the appropriation of herself, or of other teenagers.
The pop superstar, who is only 17 years old, has been engaged in an ongoing fight against underage sexualization.

Earlier this summer, in an ad for Calvin Klein, Eilish revealed to her fans the reasoning behind her signature baggy, oversized clothing style, stating, “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 ass,’ ‘she’s got a fat ass.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”

Eilish has previously faced harassment and inappropriate comments from society for simply wearing a tank top or an unzipped jacket.

Therefore, she uses her platform to show her fan base, mostly consisting of teenagers, that there are ways to fight back against these negative influences.

Therefore, Eilish was not thrilled when she saw herself on the cover of a NYLON Germany, a popular fashion magazine in Western Europe.

The cover is jarring. It depicts a bald figure closely resembling Eilish casting an unsettling stare. The portrait shows her from the shoulders up, but no clothing is visible — the avatar is clearly topless. However, the most troubling part of the cover is the fact that Eilish herself had absolutely no idea that the picture was being used.

She wasn’t even photographed for the article — the editors of the magazine took an existing image of her and edited it to their own liking, without her consent.

Upon the release of the magazine cover, Eilish took to social media to speak out against it. She uploaded a now-deleted Instagram post last week with a scathing caption calling out NYLON Germany.

The caption begins with her simply asking “what the f— is this s—,“ before unleashing a list of all of the injustices she saw on the cover image. She reveals that she was never approached by NYLON Germany for the picture, and that the picture was definitely faked by the magazine.

Eilish is also clearly disturbed that she is portrayed as a topless, robotic avatar at the age of 17. She topped the caption off with a middle finger emoji. Fans and supporters immediately rushed to her defense, calling out NYLON Germany for its sexualization of a minor.

Since then, NYLON Germany has issued a statement to Eilish, claiming that the cover was only meant to honor her impact and express the style of a digital avatar.

Its statement did not do much to appease the public. Its sister company, NYLON America, issued a statement condemning the cover and expressing its horror. It tweeted that it strongly disagreed with the release of the cover and offered a sincere apology to Eilish and her fanbase.

The entire situation illuminates a dark, pressing issue plaguing Hollywood and beyond: the sexualization and appropriation of hundreds of, teenage stars for the sole purpose of entertainment.

Their bodies, identities and work are being used to appeal to a much older audience. Ranging from online harrassment to even child pornography, young stars are facing increased sexualization in today’s digital age.

Eilish is taking a stand against this injustice. Her message towards NYLON Germany and anyone else who thinks it’s okay to inappropriately use her image is resonating with millions across the world.

She wants us to know that she is the one who is in control of her body, and no one can take that right away from her.

By: Taylor Mascetta