Billie Eilish, the 19-year-old American songwriter and singer released her new single Lost Cause’s music video earlier this month. This song is from her upcoming album “Happier Than Ever” which expected to come out next month.
This music video features Billie Eilish at a slumber party with her friends. They eat snacks, dance around, and play twister. However, soon after the release of this video, the young artist has been caught in a controversy surrounding “queer-baiting”.
Queerbaiting is a term used to refer to TV shows, films, artists or other media subtly (or not) hinting at same-sex attraction, but not explicitly saying or depicting it in any way. This is cause for controversy because queer-baiting – as can be seen by the term itself – is viewed as a ‘bait’ to ‘hook’ the LGBTQ+ community. This is perceived as capitalising off of the queer image.
Lost Cause: Billie Eilish and Her Girl Friends
Billie Eilish’s video features an all-girl cast seen to be having a fun time. However, many have perceived the slumber party activities as sensual in nature. What is more, her instagram post only added fuel to this fire, in which her caption reads, “I love girls”.
The Male Gaze
It is very interesting that this controversy is sparked just when Billie Eilish has drastically changed her fashion style from baggy shirts and shorts to more feminine pieces of clothing. The singer has often resisted the male gaze by refusing to cater to it through sexualised clothing. Yet in her Vogue shoot earlier this year, we see her breaking free from those restrictions.
This Instagram post broke her own previous record, getting over a million likes in under 6 minutes. She has been quoted in British Vogue, saying,
“Suddenly you’re a hypocrite if you want to show your skin, and you’re easy and you’re a slut and you’re a whore. If I am, then I’m proud. Me and all the girls are hos, and f*** it, y’know? Let’s turn it around and be empowered in that. Showing your body and showing your skin—or not—should not take any respect away from you.”Billie Eilish, 2021
Is Billie Eilish Queer?
Yet, there are many things to be noted about the criticism she is receiving. Firstly, the video has no explicit mention of sexual activities, yet the cliche of an all-girls-slumber-party is once again sexualised by the viewers. Secondly, the assumptions that Billie Eilish is “queer-baiting” must first assume heteronormativity, that is, assuming she is heterosexual. As she has never explicitly discussed her sexuality, these hate comments are mere speculations. Yet, many fans have asked for clarification.
DID BILLIE EILISH JUST COME OUT OR IS SHE QUEERBAITING OR DOES SHE MEAN PLATONIC HELLO???— anna marie (@ranbootvt) June 10, 2021
Whatever the case may be, this has garnered quite a lot of attention for her new single!
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