Why is everyone so obsessed with labels?

BI-CON RED CARPET STRUT: Billie Eilish posing at Variety’s red carpet event. (CNN)

Emma Barbernell | Writer & Photographer

December 7, 2023

A time of glamor, excitement and anxiety. The Grammy’s and the Oscars, are places where all the finest celebrities’ and artists’ come together and distribute the awards of the year. After a season of revolutionary media and film, these award ceremonies are going to be pivotal in how we remember this last year in art: a season full of experimental boundary pushing. 

Billie Eilish, one of the most influential singer/songwriters of our time has been recognized for all of her recent accomplishments. Eilish has been in the public eye since her hit “Ocean Eyes” rose to fame in 2016, just at the young age of 13. 

People constantly speculated about her sexuality, clothing choices and her melancholy ambiance. She uses music and her style to express herself as many others do. So, why is she being scrutinized so heavily? Although Billie Eilish never came out publicly and addressed her sexuality until recently, the public constantly questioned her and when not met with an answer they labeled her as either lesbian or a queer-baiter. 

Within the queer community many are quick to label, specifically celebrities, as queer baiters with little to no evidence. It is not just Billie who faced this– the public has speculated on stars like Taylor Swift, One Direction (Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson), Olivia Rodrigo, Ariana Grande and Kit Connor. 

In a recent interview with Variety, while she was being congratulated on her many nominations and recent successes, Katchy Stephan questioned Eilish on her sexuality to which she responded “I’ve never really felt like I could relate to girls very well, I love them so much. I love them as people. I’m attracted to them as people. I’m attracted to them for real.”

SMACK DOWN: Billie flames Variety. (Billie’s Instagram)

During Variety’s Hitmaker’s red carpet event, Eilish was confronted about her recent interview. When asked if her coming out was intentional, she responded “No I didn’t, but I kind of thought, ‘Wasn’t it obvious’? I didn’t realize people didn’t know. I just don’t really believe in it. I’m just like, ‘Why can’t we just exist’? I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I just didn’t talk about it. Whoops. But I saw the article, and I was like, ‘Oh I guess I came out today.’ OK cool. It’s exciting to me because I guess people didn’t know, but it’s cool that they know.” She added: “I am for the girls.” Junior Nara Bacolod commented that, “everyone in the queer community already knew Billie was gay and people are taking things way too far.”

Since then, Eilish has come out with negative feelings towards Variety, claiming they have outed her in her recent social media posts. And to be frank, they did. Everyone is so obsessed with labels: a word from my good friend, Jane Lynch, from her iconic fictional role in Glee, “There’s only one person in this world who can tell you what you are,” – “Me?” (Kurt Hummel)- “No. Me. Sue Sylvester.”

William Cox, a scientist at UW, stated, “Our brains want our expectations to be supported, because of that reward engagement, we can start becoming addicted, in a way, to stereotyping.” This is a negative and toxic reward cycle that leads us to put people in boxes, limiting self expression. The ability to quickly spread rumors and have instant gratification and engagements online makes this cycle even more addicting and creates social bonds between people that cause them to be more indulgent in this type of behavior. 

Everyone need to be able to find themselves at their own pace. Coming out is personal. Just let people exist. 

About Emma Barbernell 11 Articles
Emma Barbernell is a junior and first year newspaper photographer and writer at SCHS. She prides herself in being a thrift master and spends her time dirtying her hands in the Goodwill bins. On an off day you might catch her looking like Adam Sandler, or if you're lucky an off duty model. You can also find her low balling questionable resellers at any of the local flea markets. When she's not getting deals you can find her long boarding at San-O, rock climbing, collecting vinyl, cooking, arguing with her parents, lifting, hammocking with her dog, and learning guitar from Lindsay Coulson. After high school, she plans to see the world and take pictures while doing it.

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