Billie Eilish: The Origins
When Grammy-winning superstar Billie Eilish first arrived on the scene, her usual baggy attire, blue hair and the exuberance of youth often laced with a rebellious attitude mesmerized the girls, especially in the age group of 12 to 17. From Los Angeles to Melbourne and London to Seoul, irrespective of what languages girls spoke and what culture they came from, one thing connected everyone – Billie Eilish’s offbeat music.
The songs were not the usual ones. Rather they brought out stories, and deep expressions and evoked a sense of relatability among her fans. The $50 million net worth and 110 million fans on Instagram are the proof of immense popularity that Billie Eilish commands.
The female age group that we are talking about here is more prone to mom-sleuth and a restrictive approach from parents. And when it’s topics related to depression, anxiety, body shaming, climate change, or other similar things, it’s not what today’s generation talks about among friends and usually avoids opening up about it even on social media. She came out in 2023 and did so with a simple line saying, “I’m physically attracted to them (women).’’ She keeps it this simple.
Billie Eilish talks about it, sings about it, creates videos about it, answers about it in interviews, and gives it back confidently to those who love to criticize her. It formed perfect reasons to win her a massive fan base who love her and search for Billie Eilish perfume, merch, wallpapers, net worth, and so on… And then there are people who criticize her regularly including parents of kids, some psychologists, some reporters, some music purists (who are more used to an already set culture mostly driven by the likes of Brittany Spears, Taylor Swift, etc.) and lastly, those who simply haven’t been able to digest her astounding success.
The teenagers and Billie Eilish phenom
It’s the generation that watches live music concerts with their phones. A click on the camera button is the first thing they do when their favorite celeb arrives on the stage. Times have changed and the kids today are more tech-oriented, bold, future-oriented, and unapologetic. They pick their role models that suit their nature best and the meteoric rise of Billie Eilish is living proof of that.
Billie Eilish is gutsy, unapologetic, hates smiling, loves experimenting, talks freely about social issues and her music is deep with which the pre-teens and teens connect immediately and it stays on their minds for a long time.
Why do people criticize Billie Eilish…. And why do parents of teenage kids hate her?
1. She glorifies suicide and killings
People have criticized Billie Eilish on the grounds that she glorifies suicide through her music videos. Reports on the internet say that she suffered from depression at the age of 13 and self-harmed as she could not deal with the pain caused by body dysmorphia she suffered as a competitive dancer. Her haters use this pretext to say that it’s her own experiences that she shares in her music videos because of the deep impact it has had on her when she was a kid.
2. Billie paid tribute to XXXTentacion
Billie Eilish received criticism for paying tribute to XXXTentacion, a rapper who is infamous for domestic abuse and violence – the victim being his pregnant girlfriend. Billie never paid heed to the critics, though, and openly admitted that she had respect and love for XXXTentacion and there is nothing bad in mourning someone who passed.
3. Her videos are dark, and gruesome and are like short horror films
The themes of most of her videos are dark and violent and the horror film-esque visuals are uncomfortable for the parents of many pre-teens and teens.
Spiders popping out of her mouth, killing her friends and putting them in the back of the car, and black liquid dripping from her eyes (say crying black tears), it gets as gross and murky as it can be. Considering that she is too young for that, you might feel that she is highly opinionated and, in some way, brings out the worst that lies in her mind.
4. Billie Eilish is racist
Billie Eilish mouthed a racist slur in an old video that went crazy viral on TikTok. That was racist for sure and her target was the Asians. She later responded on Instagram that she mouthed it when she was 13 or 14 and really wasn’t aware of what that word meant. She apologized but it again gave a chance to her critics, citing that she’s racist.
5. Billie Eilish is physically attracted to women
Yes, Billie Eilish admitted that she finds women attractive and did not know that she had to come out. She opened up in an interview about this and said that she loved boys but finds women equally attractive. She made no fuss about it and said her being queer was not something that she had to come out publicly.
No matter what…. Billie Eilish is the most popular pop star today.
So, what is it that makes her popular despite such criticism? In a world that’s so complex compared to the times when Madonna ruled the music charts and the hearts of millions and then Britney Spears took the young generation by storm. Then came many others - Shakira, Beyoncé, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Selena Gomez, Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, and so many more. Each of these pop stars and other popular ones are known for creating a place for themselves with a high level of sexualization and pompousness in their music videos, in-trend fashion and regularly featuring in the tabloids.
Billie Eilish, on the other hand, breaks the norms. Her videos are about depression, anxiety, killings, and violence and lack the usual grandeur of the pop stars from the 1980s to 2010s. Her fashion is all about baggy clothes. Tabloids often criticize her for being so dark in her lyrics and videos and her interviews are almost always geared towards the questions that would excite her haters.
But the story does not end here. Those who love her cherish her for reasons that an older generation might completely fail to understand and haters will simply ignore.
What makes Billie Eilish so popular?
1. She brings an air of confidence with her
Billie Eilish is different. Her lyrics are unique and her music videos take a different part from what’s considered ‘normal.’ If she does a few wrong things, she apologizes and explains the circumstances in detail (like her racist slur video case).
For a teenager, who has already been facing a lot of heat from all ends, it means a lot and shows that she owns up to what she does wrong. And at the same time, if she is doing something that she believes in, she offers no apology. After all, that’s how our new generation functions. They are a lot more confident in what they do and own up when they make mistakes. That’s pure confidence.
2. She values family and friends
Her die-hard fans know it. Billie Eilish shares a great bond with her elder brother, Finneas O'Connell. They performed together in the video ‘Everything I Wanted’ which melted the hearts of many of her fans. The opening statement in the video shows how much she loves her brother. When it’s about her parents, she speaks big of them and tells how much impact they have had in making her successful.
3. Billie Eilish and her brother support the Black Lives Matter Movement
Yes, she has been known as racist for an old video but things are different now. Billie Eilish and her brother Fianneas support the Black Lives Matter movement and have been vocal about it. In fact, Billie was not a late joiner. She took to Instagram right after George Floyd’s death and expressed her viewpoint on the entire matter. For her criticizers who used her ‘Asian racist slur’ as an excuse to defame her, this was quite a silencing act.
4. She talks about depression and supports mental health programs
Billie Eilish faced it at a young age and does not hide it. She has talked about her depression at the age of 13 in several interviews and sees it as an issue that needs to be addressed at the grassroots level. She has supported the mental health organization Seize The Awkward and plans to continue doing everything to encourage people to step out and seek help from friends, families, or therapists.
5. Billie Eilish is a Global Warming/Climate Change Activist
She is young and has a long way to go. But there’s already a hidden Greta Thunberg inside her that made her give away free tickets at a concert to her fans who would pledge support in the fight against climate change. The fans had to sign up at Global Citizen to earn the tickets.
6. She is natural… and real… and talks about body shaming
When a magazine photoshopped her picture, showing her sensually in a shirtless avatar, she was displeased and disapproved completely. She appeared online against the magazine and the publisher had to finally retract the photo. Billie wanted to look like what she really looked like.
Much has been talked about her baggy dresses and she has been body shamed very often but she countered it confidently in the video interlude for her Where Do We Go? World Tour, where she removes her hoodie and blouse and flaunts her body. Billie Eilish talks about it in her usual style and gives a powerful message on body shaming. A slap on the face of body-shaming creatures.
7. She is a force to reckon with. She is pure talent. Accept it
Billie Eilish is pure talent. She writes, sings, and dances with flair. You might call all of that as part of what she does. But you know, go deeper. We have already talked about how her work is different from all previous pop stars across generations. You already agree to it – whether out of love or out of hatred.
Someone who reaches the pinnacle of success at the age of 16, does everything around music and even directs a music video (Xanny). Her dark-themed videos show her fiercely inventive side and are the major reason behind this LA native’s large teenage female fan base. Who can ignore talent? Really nobody.
Billie Eilish is a role model for teenagers
To wrap it up, in a world that’s far more complex than it used to be a decade ago and seeing the rapid changes we experience daily, life is not the same. It’s moving at a more dynamic pace than ever and for kids to adopt that pace and stay relevant in times where they spend most of their time on social media and find their role models there, Billie Eilish might be the person who is giving them a voice.
After a long time, there’s a role model for the teenagers with whom they don’t just enjoy but also relate in terms of their life issues. Billie Eilish gives them confidence in whatever they think, wear, speak, and feel. Billie speaks in a tone that they love to hear, which creates the perfect wavelength for an emotional connection. As we all know and would agree, when someone feels heard, they feel unburdened in their heart and mind. When someone feels emotionally connected, they feel compassion and a purpose to living life meaningfully.