Lorde, just 16 years old rose to stardom with her 2013 single “Royals,”She has been a pop star for decades and is now firmly rooted in the pop music scene. Her third studio album has finally been released. “Solar Power”Lorde, who has been under the radar for nearly four years, opened up last week about her journey as an artist. Lorde’s loyal fans waited four years for the album. They also had to endure near radio silence by the star, who uses almost no social media except the New York Times Cooking App.
In a recent interview with the Irish Times, Lorde specifically opened up about body image and being one of the most visible and watched stars in the world as a teenager, which she rightfully called “a tender time.” Lorde had deliberately tried to “not [invite]” conversations about her body, and had drawn boundaries in terms of outfitsShe was uncomfortable with certain behaviors.
“I sort of kicked that out the conversation,”She spoke. “I was pretty intent about that. I didn’t want people to be talking about what my body looked like. I was a kid. And I really wasn’t ‘in’ my body. As a teenager, you kind of wear your body like an outfit that doesn’t fit yet.”
Fans who have been celebrating bold and (literally!) cheeky album art might be shocked to learn this. “Solar Power” since it was first revealed in June: a sunlit shot upward from the ground that captures her almost bare rear as she runs on the beach. Lorde is now 24 years old, so the cover of “Solar Power”It evokes her adult comfort, confidence and self-esteem. But as she expressed to the Times, album art like this understandably wouldn’t have been comfortable for her before when she was a teenager. This is only natural — our comfort and approaches to bodily self-expression will shift and change over time.
Billie Eilish is another pop phenom. She just turned 19 and wore only baggy, unfitting clothes during her early years. Like Lorde she rose to prominence as a young teenager and is now a Gen Z music icon. Eilish chose her unique fashion choices because she didn’t want her body to be perceived and commented on by voyeuristic media and its obsession with hypersexualizing women and girls, no matter their age.
“Nobody can have an opinion because they haven’t seen what’s underneath,”Eilish stated in 2019 as part of a Calvin Klein advertisement. “Nobody can be like, ‘she’s slim-thick,’ ‘she’s not slim-thick,’ ‘she’s got a flat ass,’ ‘she’s got a fat ass.’ No one can say any of that because they don’t know.”
Lorde’s cover art is a great example of how time can shift and change. “Solar Power,”Eilish’s approach towards self-expression has changed too. She now poses in lingerie and other revealing, luxurious outfits outfitsVogue UK June Cover this year.
Both these women were able to take control of their appearances when they were younger, which gave them the confidence and fortitude to decide how to present themselves to others, no matter who is looking.
Is body positivity or body neutrality?
Lorde and Eilish’s early approaches, and their decisions to center their comfort in how they dress, comprise a rebellious response to hypersexualization of teens and especially teen popstars. They also seem to endorse the concept of body neutrality and its de-emphasis on publicly celebrating bodies and appearances. Anne Poirier, who coined the term body neutrality in 2015, recognizes that it is unrealistic to expect everyone can do it. “love”Their body or appearance in a society that has long told all non-skinny women to hate their bodies.
Body neutrality, on the other hand, focuses on appreciating your body as it is in a world that has so many demands. And it also respects that some people just don’t want their bodies to be perceived or commented on at all — including compliments.
Although body positivity is a powerful and well-meaning movement that empowers many people, it may not be for everyone. People who struggle with insecurities regarding their bodies may feel frustrated or pressured by the fact that they are not able to do so. “love” their bodies — for them, body neutrality and just peacefully existing in their bodies without public attention might be the more comfortable approach.
Eilish’s and Lorde’s explanations of the uniqueness of their products are not comparable. fashionThese choices were made to avoid criticisms and attacks on the appearance of the person, but not to draw attention to or make any comments, positive or otherwise. Even well-meaning, positive comments about someone’s body can be harmful, trigger, or just unfavorable for anyone. This is despite the society having so many unrealistic, impossible beauty standards. These compulsory beauty standards make each of us feel so many complicated feelings about our bodies from adolescence onward — feelings that can be triggered by a single word from someone else.
For people with eating disorders, chronic illness, or other personal factors that influence how their body looks, it can be difficult to hear people praising their appearance. Body positivity movements can make people uncomfortable. Even being praised because they are thin can cause people to worry about losing their body type. It can also make them feel less attractive and valuable.
Many people, particularly women, don’t like being perceived. On social media, many women have expressed feeling more comfortable wearing masks in public because it removes the stress and pressure of having your appearance appraised by strangers or attracting unwanted attention. While mask-wearing doesn’t stop street harassment or cat-calling, it has at least allowed most women and girls some privacy and distance away from the public gaze and its constant scrutiny and consumption.
This is a departure from the exploitation 2000s pop princesses
It’s a relief hearing from Lorde & Eilish, two of the most beloved female pop icons of the 2010s & 2020s, about the decision-making power they had in creating their public image and what it has meant for them. outfitsThey were comfortable with the performances they gave, even as they have changed over time. It would be naive for industry and society to assume that sexism has been eradicated simply because celebrities have now been allowed to wear formless clothing. But it’s definitely a step up from the experiences of pop icons like Britney, Miley, and even Miley Cyrus.
Lorde talked to the Irish Times about how she feels looking back over her career’s early years.
“There were just things I wasn’t going to do if they weren’t comfortable for me to do. I wore the exact outfits I felt like wearing. I wore suits. I loved suits. I felt powerful in them,”She spoke. “The fact that I sort of did it in a way that felt right for me – that meant I don’t look back and feel f*cked up by it.”
In contrast, media hypersexualization of Spears and obsession with her body, appearance and sexuality while she was still a minor pushed her to the brink, and are certainly could be seen as part of the reason she’s trapped in a conservatorship she’s called abusive to this day. Also as a minor, Cyrus was often adulitified and hypersexualized as a “Disney wild child”At different times, he has been affected by addiction.
Both Spears and Lorde were denied agency permission to create their public images early in their careers. Spears was still denied this right until today. Young women in pop like Lorde or Eilish have more access to this agency now than they did in their youth. The consequences of being denied this agency, as Lorde notes, can leave someone feeling “f*cked up,”Force them to deal with the mental repercussions from being exploited, sexualized, and for years to follow.
Industry sexism, sexual exploitation of women and industry sexism still exist. But there is hope in Lorde’s ability to create careers around what’s most comfortable for them and embrace a kind of body neutrality.
“I think it all worked out,”Lorde spoke to the Times. “How my body looks is not a big centre of curiosity now,”She spoke. “Which I think is in part because of the grounding I lay as a teenager. So yeah – I feel good about baby me doing that for future me.”