At a concert in Miami on Monday, Billie Eilish surprised her fans with a spoken word interlude. The singer, for whom baggy clothes have become a calling card, took off her shirt and performed a monologue about sexism and body shaming.
Fan videos from the Miami show captured Eilish’s pre-recorded spoken word video, which the singer played on a large screen.
Some fans shared the full text of Eilish’s speech, which she began by murmuring, “You have opinions—about my opinions, about my music, about my clothes, about my body. Some people hate what I wear, some people praise it, some people use it to shame others, some people use it to shame me, but I feel you watching—always—and nothing I do goes unseen. So while I feel your stares, your disapproval or your sigh of relief, if I lived by them, I’d never be able to move.”
Around that point in the video, Eilish removed a baggy shirt to reveal a form-fitting black tank top underneath.
Much has been made about Eilish’s affinity for loose-fitting clothing. Speaking with Elle about her sartorial choices last fall, the singer said, “The point is not, ‘hey, let’s go slut-shame all these girls for not dressing like Billie Eilish’. It makes me mad. I have to wear a big shirt for you not to feel uncomfortable about my boobs!”
Eilish recalled an incident from a few months prior, when a photo of her wearing a form-fitting tank top had gone viral. “My boobs were trending on Twitter!” she told Elle. “At number one! What is that?! Every outlet wrote about my boobs!” Eilish, the magazine noted, was a minor at the time.
Eilish’s spoken word video Monday asked, “Would you like me to be smaller? Weaker? Softer? Taller? Would you like me to be quiet? Do my shoulders provoke you? Does my chest? Am I my stomach? My hips? The body I was born with, is it not what you wanted?”
“If I wear what is comfortable, I am not a woman,” Eilish continued. “If I shed the layers, I’m a slut. Though you’ve never seen my body, you still judge it and judge me for it. Why?”
Around this point in the video, Eilish removed her tank top, revealing a black bra underneath.
“We make assumptions about people based on their size,” Eilish’s monologue concluded. “We decide who they are, we decide what they’re worth. If I wear more, if I wear less, who decides what that makes me? What that means? Is my value based only on your perception? Or is your opinion of me not my responsibility?”
During her Elle interview last fall, Eilish contemplated her upcoming 18th birthday—and what that landmark typically represented. “I’m gonna be a woman,” she said. “I wanna show my body. What if I wanna make a video where I wanna look desirable? ... Not a porno! But I know it would be a huge thing. I know people will say, ‘I’ve lost all respect for her.’” Now that she’s actually turned 18, it appears Eilish is not letting that fear limit her.