Billie Eilish Says, ‘Being a Woman Is Just Such a War, Forever’

Billie Eilish reflects on the challenges Young Women face, especially if you are a public figure

Being a woman is just such a war, forever, “Especially being a young woman in the public eye. It’s really unfair.”

Billie Eilish

With seven Grammys and an Oscar under her belt before legally toasting her success, she’s remarkably down-to-earth.

“It turns out that I’m young, and I have a whole life of shit I can do,” she says. “Maybe because my life became so adult very young, I forgot that I was still that young. I settled in a lot of ways: I lived my life as if I were in my 70s. I realized recently that I don’t need to do that.”

Bilie Eilish

At 21, Billie Eilish, propelled to fame at 13 with “Ocean Eyes,” navigated adolescence under public scrutiny. Her contradictions—a soft voice paired with edgy lyrics and distinctive baggy style—captivated the music industry.

Reflecting on early fame, Billie Eilish bristles at the “weird and upsetting” scrutiny. Despite challenges, she embraces her success, acknowledging her happiness found in external validation during hits like “Bad Guy” in 2019.

“My life is feeling good,” she says. “I feel like I’m becoming a person I really love and doing things I feel really proud of. In many ways in my life, I feel like I’m just now waking up.”

For our Power of Women issue, honoring Billie Eilish for her work with Support + Feed, vegan pastries spark her excitement. Seated cross-legged on the couch, she dives into her evolving relationship with femininity.

“I’ve never really felt like I could relate to girls very well,” she confesses. “I love them so much. I love them as people. I’m attracted to them as people. I’m attracted to them for real.”

Release of the “Barbie” song

Following the release of the “Barbie” song, Eilish’s connection to womanhood shifts. The heartfelt piano ballad, featured in a pivotal scene in the Warner Bros. blockbuster, spawns a TikTok trend, uniting women globally.

“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,” she reflects.

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In the official video, Billie Eilish faces elements as she unveils miniature versions of her iconic looks, confronting the scrutiny of her signature baggy style.

I wasn’t trying to have people not sexualize me,” she clarifies. “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.”

“I’ve never felt like a woman, to be honest with you. I’ve never felt desirable. I’ve never felt feminine,” she admits, grappling with self-perception.

Handling Media, her relationship with Feminity, Womanhood

Growing up, Billie Eilish navigated media scrutiny around her body, particularly her early-developed physique. She challenges double standards, emphasizing society’s unfair focus on women’s bodies compared to men’s.

“Nobody ever says a thing about men’s bodies,” she asserts. “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 fuck because we see people for who they are!”

Billie Eilish

That tenuous relationship with femininity and womanhood has only recently started to change for her, following the July release of the “Barbie” song. The soaring, somber piano ballad is placed at the emotional climax of the Warner Bros. blockbuster, scoring a scene where Rhea Perlman’s Ruth Handler teaches Margot Robbie’s Barbie what it means to be a woman. “Take my hands. Close your eyes. Now, feel,” she says, offering Barbie visions of real women’s lives.

The scene saw a heartwarming TikTok trend in which more than 1.3 million users made video collages set to the song, sharing their own experiences of girlhood. “It was so moving, dude. It was so, so touching,” Eilish says. “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.”

In the song’s official music video, which the singer directed, Billie Eilish faces earthquakes, wind and heavy rain as she unpacks a small box with Barbie-sized versions of her most iconic looks: mostly oversized T-shirts and sweatpants. That signature style provoked praise, attention and even Halloween costumes — but with it came unwanted speculation. What was Billie Eilish hiding?

I didn’t want people looking at my body, not like that,” she says. “I just wasn’t strong enough to show it. If I did, I would have been really upset if people said anything.”

She takes a deep breath. “Maybe I don’t mind being seen as sexy because I’ve never felt wanted or attractive.” Billie Eilish leans back into the couch, wrapping herself in a big blue baseball jacket, her black hair peeping out from under a black beanie.

“I never felt like a woman, to be honest. I never felt attractive. I never felt girly. I have to remind myself that I’m kind of pretty,” she says. “I say ‘she/her’ and all that, but I never really felt like a girl.”

Billie Eilish

Dealing with these feelings as she grew up, Billie Eilish also faced the media’s curiosity about her changing body. The few times she wore tighter clothes became hot topics for tabloids.

“I have big boobs. I’ve had them since I was nine, that’s just how I am, how I look,” she says, frustrated, remembering the media buzz when she first wore a tank top at 16. “You wear something a bit revealing, and everyone’s like, ‘Oh, but you didn’t want people to see you like that?’ Screw that! I’m a person who can be sexy sometimes. Screw you!”

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She’s really passionate now, going on a bit of a rant. “No one ever talks about men’s bodies,” she says. “If you’re strong, cool. If you’re not, cool. If you’re thin, cool. If you have a dad bod, cool. If you’re a bit pudgy, embrace it! Everyone’s cool with it. You know why? Because girls are nice. We don’t care because we see people for who they are!”

Baird giggles from across the room as Eilish stands up to the critics. Later, Baird mentions, “One of the things everyone loves about Billie — and I do too, although it’s a bit scary — is that she’s just always saying surprising things, and she’s honest. That can be scary in the public eye.”

These days, Billie Eilish still wears oversized outfits but also adds in some more fitted pieces, confidently sharing them with her 110 million Instagram followers. In a recent photo dump, she gave a peek into her life, featuring her rescue pit bull named Shark and revealing her massive new back tattoo — a series of abstract black lines following her spine.

But one slide in particular, showing the lyrics to Drake’s “Another Late Night,” got extra attention. In the song, Lil Yachty raps, “She had big tits like Billie Eilish, but she couldn’t sing.” Fans wondered: Was Eilish bothered by the lyric?

“I think it’s fun!” she says. “I’m flattered! Yachty is my friend. Drake is my friend. It’s a joke. I do have big tits. I love it.”

On Being Vegetarian

Growing up a vegetarian, Billie Eilish became a vegan at 12 due to her love for animals. Learning about the link between the meat industry and climate change has strengthened her commitment to her mom’s charity, Support + Feed. “Food injustice is a real thing. Systemic racism is a serious issue. They’re trying to harm you guys out here, without many people realizing it,” she says.

Plant based Diet

Starting as a way to help people with plant-based food during COVID, it turned into something bigger. Baird says, “Our goal is to address climate change and food equity. And really move society and culture to a more equitable, plant-based food system.”

On Eilish’s tours, Support + Feed organizes food drives, and fans are asked to commit to one fully plant-based meal a day. Since 2020, they’ve been to 41 cities, delivering almost 400,000 plant-based meals and pantry items.

“I’m outspoken in my own way,” Eilish says. “I really don’t like shoving information down people’s throats. And nobody wants to be told what to do. But I just want to make sure everyone knows the deal, and then make your decision. What I really don’t like is just being ignorant about it and being comfortable in that.”

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