Halsey joins the stop the stigma movement through ELLE, a famous magazine among young adults and fashion enthusiasts, in order to go on record in an effort to dismiss many misconceptions people may have regarding mental illness. Mental illness is currently an intricately gray zone currently in society, and with the help of public figures and awareness efforts, society can become more knowledgeable; mental illness can then become fluid in our lives. A feeling of being a burden on others alludes to The idea of being an “inconvenient woman” (Harman, 2015), an area that Halsey often visits in her music. Due to Halsey still being young in her career, Halsey has not yet had a chance to truly express what this means to her and why she identifies with being an inconvenient woman—that is until ELLE gave her the opportunity. Through ELLE, Halsey reveals what many of her fans might not know: her bipolar disorder.
Many of the people Halsey works with do not know about her bipolar disorder because she has never spoken of it, but Halsey felt it was a good time to get the conversation started and she began by being transparent. Halsey’s mother also has bipolar disorder. As we know the illness can be genetically influenced (National Alliance on Mental Illness), and Halsey was diagnosed when she was 16 or 17. Growing up Halsey saw that her mother was “a woman who was strong and bold and different,” (Harman, 2015) and because she grew up exposed to her mother’s disorder, Halsey felt stabilized by her experiences. She did not think of herself as a “freak.” Instead, she embraced what made her different and maybe a little odd.
The term “inconvenient women” comes from Halsey’s inability to meet everyone’s expectations in her everyday life. Like everyone, the people around us and those who interact with us usually have expectations they expect us to meet. Halsey wants society to know that she is entitled to her emotions and due to her circumstances, she might not align with everyone expectations. At the same time, she is still the “inconvenient woman” for those who pursue her due to a fetish agenda. They usually “want a crazy girl,” (Harman, 2015) but Halsey does not quite align with their presuppositions.
Halsey has accepted her public “in-between” (Harman, 2015) role model figure which in turn helps many people around the nation. Many of her fans with mental illnesses or feminists who share her ideas reach out to her. In addition, individuals who are mixed race, but are pale in complexion like Halsey herself, find comfort and look up to Halsey. They feel as though they are “too light to identify,” (Harman, 2015) with being of mixed race, but being able to see themselves in Halsey gives them relief and emphasizes that other people share their experiences. Halsey stresses that those who look up to her should idolize her intentions rather than her actions because they are more admirable. Halsey is one of the numerous public figures helping efforts to stop the stigma.
Harman, J. (2015, May 27). Halsey Opens Up About Being a Reluctant Role Model. ELLE Magazine. Retrieved September 5, 2016. http://www.elle.com/culture/celebrities/q-and-a/a28577/halsey-music-bipolar/
National Alliance on Mental Illness. Bipolar Disorder. Retrieved September 05, 2016. http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder
Photo: Uploaded to Flickr by Justin Higuchi, taken March 11th, 2015 of Halsey at a concert, used under the Creative Commons license.