Billie Eilish’s Image of a Tomboy

Billie Eilish at Coachella 2019

In the keywords essay Tomboy by Michelle Ann Abate, it shows how the term has been used to characterize different things ever since the 16th century. First, it was used to characterize boys that were “rowdy gentlemen courtiers.” For quite some time, tomboy was only used to describe boys rather than the more modern usage of describing girls. In the 1570s, the term started being used to characterize women that were perceived as being bold and immodest. It was closer to the early 1600s that the term turned into its more modern use of describing a girl who has boy-like tendencies or behaviors. This term can be seen as signifying rebellion in girls as well. This behavior can be activities like climbing trees, playing sports, and participating in more immature activities that would be expected from young boys typically. This can also be translated in what these girls choose to wear as well. If they choose to wear t-shirts and jeans rather than tank tops and skirts, they may be considered to be a tomboy by certain adults. This term is subjective and are usually put on children early on in their lives. 

Right now, an artist that is becoming increasingly popular is a young artist named Billie Eilish. Eilish has been making music for the past few years, but recently, her music has become more and more accepted in the media. Although Eilish receives immense praise for her music, she also receives a substantial amount of criticism for her fashion and the way she acts during interviews or concerts. She is often seen wearing very largely sized clothing that is typically worn by men. Some have speculated that she has chosen this style in order to avoid getting over sexualized in the media, especially since she is only 17 years old. I used to be a tomboy when I was younger, so speaking from experience, one reason I chose to shop in the boy’s department was because I found it to be more comfortable. I hated wearing dresses, skirts, form fitting anything, sparkles, and other more “girly” outfits unless I was forced to by my mother. If this is the case, it allows Eilish to focus less on her wardrobe and more on her art. The only reason that this trait of hers makes the news is because people see it as a problem. 

In the past, tomboys were seen as a problem in some ways. They were judged and looked at to be not normal. Since Billie Eilish is such a popular artist, she is a huge role model for young boys and girls around the globe. Having this figure shows them that not conforming to certain gender stereotypes and roles can be a good and normal thing. She breaks most ideas of what popular artists “should be” and shows that it is completely normal and comfortable to be a tomboy. 

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