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LAURA CRAIK IS UPFRONT

Laura Craik on Billie and the body-shamers, why it’s high time we all got back on the dance floor and her hopes for a stiff drink

The other morning, the newsreader Susanna Reid ‘put on a busty display’ in a bright yellow dress. This anthropologically fascinating event occurred shortly after Chrissy Teigen stepped out of her car in a ‘busty blue top’, a shade before Daisy Lowe ate lunch in ‘a busty low-cut vest’ and 24 hours after Lizzo ‘put on a busty display’ in a dress while celebrating her birthday.

So normalised is this off-hand commentary about women’s breasts and other body parts that we’re inured to it. Imagine if every time a man went out, his dick was remarked upon. ‘Ant wore tight black jeans that clung to his manhood, while Dec’s fitted beige chinos showed off his penis.’ Sorry, Ant and Dec. I feel gross even writing this in jest.

‘Showing your body and showing your skin — or not — should not take away any respect from you,’ said Billie Eilish in an interview with Vogue, for which she also stars on June’s cover. If only this were true. From the moment they need to start wearing a bra, girls are relentlessly slut-shamed for their breasts. That so many teenage girls wear oversized sweatpants and hoodies is as much to escape the attention of predators as it is because they worship at the altar of Nike.

Eilish has drawn criticism for choosing to wear a Gucci corset and Agent Provocateur bra for her Vogue cover, on the basis that she previously avowed to wear baggy clothes to avoid the very attention her critics claim she’s now courting. If our prime minister can change his mind about the level of NHS funding he promised voters, then a 19-year-old girl can change her mind about her look. I hope the backlash doesn’t have her scuttling off into her hoodies again.

“That Billie Eilish
is accused of flaunting her body to boost record sales is pure and simple slut-shaming”

That Eilish is accused of flaunting her body to boost record sales is pure and simple slut-shaming. It sends out a terrible message to her young fans, already grappling with
the complexities of transitioning from child to adult. Nobody should be made to choose between baggy or sexy, Madonna or whore. Your body is yours. Wear it however you want to. Everyone else: keep your comments to yourself.

Out of the hoodie: Billie Eilish on the cover of Vogue

Time to club together

It doesn’t take much these days, but watching 6,000 euphoric faces at Liverpool’s first post-Covid club nights moved me to tears. No masks or distancing were required: just proof of a negative Covid test to gain entry.

Having had other people’s faces hover inches from mine on every sweaty rush-hour Tube or Overground journey I make — not all of them masked — I have zero qualms about throwing shapes on a sweaty dance floor. Given no one is enforcing or practising social distancing on the tubes, buses or trains, to keep clubs shut any longer seems wilfully perverse.

Strong measures

In the Lockdown Cliche Top Ten, cocktail mixology stands firmly at number two after baking bread. Pre-pandemic, I wasn’t much of a cocktail drinker, but learning how to make the perfect Picante was one of the less dreary ways to while away the hours before someone could make one for me at a bar again.

Londoners have a host of cocktail delivery services to choose from: my faves are Lockdown Liquor (which comes ready-made) and Stir-Up (which lets you do the making). The downside to all this at-home endeavour is that when you do eventually make it to a bar, the cocktails taste kind of… weak. Guess that’s what happens when you don’t tip half a bottle of tequila into each one. Measures? I don’t know them.

HOT:
Piccadilly
Circus

Screening Hockney’s latest work — an animated sunrise — all month. Another reason to reacquaint yourself with central London.

NOT:
Tiktok’s
Perfume Hack

Spraying perfume on to your hair then applying furnace-hot straighteners
to make it change colour? We’ll pass.