“Not My Responsibility” by Billie Eilish

The title of this song (“Not My Responsibility”), as presented in the lyrics, is actually a question. And what it harps back to is a sentiment which, in its modern manifestation, we can say was first put forth by a vintage Charles Barkley. For in the 1990s, he was the first celebrity to plainly assert that despite being famous, he was totally disinterested in serving as anyone’s role model.

And well, Billie doesn’t exactly take it quite there. But she is someone who has dealt with body image criticisms in the past. The music industry, as it stands now, is one that puts very high premium on sexuality, particularly in regards to female artists. However, Eilish has rather conducted herself in more of a tomboyish, baggy-clothing type of manner. And this has garnered her some criticism, like she’s ashamed of her body or something.

The Dilemma

Now you may be saying to yourself, if the industry is leaning towards sexualizing the female form, then shouldn’t Billie be applauded for her anti-mainstream bravery? Well yes, some people highly regard her for this disposition also. So as you can see there’s a bit of dilemma here, a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t kind of situation that the vocalist currently finds herself in.

And what Billie actually attributes this to is sort of this screwed up body-image socialization we all have undergone. She has truly run the gamut, from being called overdressed and then later, upon revealing flesh, too fat. So what she is asking critics, in a sarcastic way, is what kind of dress actually makes them comfortable? 

Regardless of the garb Eilish wears, she’s a woman nonetheless. But the underlying lesson in it all is that she being a woman is what makes her subject to this curse. By virtue of being a woman, she is constantly having her body judged, even if the general public is not able to actually see it.

“Not My Responsibility”

So going back to the titular question honestly, as implied by its usage in the title, it stands as a statement also. And the statement, reading between the lines, is that Billie doesn’t consider it her “responsibility” to try to comply with others’ standards of beauty. 

She understands that she lives in a society where a person’s “worth” is determined by “their size”.  But she’s not going to play society’s game. And this is even true when she wears her baggy clothes, like she’s not trying to impress anybody. Or more comprehensively put, Eilish is more dedicated to being herself than trying to live up to the ideologies of others, whether they be for or against her.

But that said, it also seems that she is in a bit more of an emotive state than when she has dealt with this issue in the past. So it can also be concluded that the constant body-image criticism does in fact affect the celebrity singer.

Billie Eilish, "Not My Responsibility" Lyrics
Billie Eilish explains "Not My Responsibility"

Facts about “Not My Responsibility”

Finneas produced and co-wrote “Not My Responsibility”. And the other co-writer is Billie Eilish.

In explaining this song, Eilish admitted to some of the frustrations she faces as a unique female artist. Ultimately what it boils down to is that, even though sometimes she feels pressured to do so, Billie doesn’t really feel that she is obligated to expose her body, which she views as her own personal possession, to the public.

This track is from Billie’s second LP under Darkroom Records and Interscope Records, which is entitled “Happier Than Ever”. In total she has released five projects prior, four EPs as well as her debut LP, under these same labels.

“Not My Responsibility” was originally released, as a three-minute, 41-second short film, on 26 May 2020. In fact as of the release of “Happier Than Ever” on 30 July 2021, said clip has already amassed nearly 35,000,000 views on YouTube. However, the audio itself is still featured on the album.

Interesting to note is that as of the writing of this post another popular female singer, Camila Cabello, is going through her own issues with body shamers.

Not My Responsibility
Billie Eilish discusses "Not My Responsibility"

Did Billie Eilish release “Not My Responsibility” as a single?

No. The song wasn’t one of the 5 singles from her “Happier Than Ever” album. The singles in question are listed below:

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