Adele has been absent on social media since Christmas 2019, when she posted a photo of herself side-by-side with Santa and The Grinch. It was a cute photo, cute enough that it has nearly 9 million likes. Months later, she’s resurfaced on Instagram sharing a sweet and sentimental post on her 32nd birthday. She wrote on her IG: “Thank you for the birthday love. I hope you’re all staying safe and sane during this crazy time. I’d like to thank all of our first responders and essential workers who are keeping us safe while risking their lives! You are truly our angels. 2020 okay bye thanks x.” But this isn’t what’s got people talking. Her appearance, and her recent weight loss, was the focus and primary concern of all online conversation.
Adele is without a doubt one of the world’s most powerful celebrities, with a voice that has defined our generation. With 15 Grammys, 18 Billboard Awards, 5 AMAs, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a record for the fastest-selling US album ever before she turned 30, there’s no limits to what she can do. Adele is a celebrity who’s always made a point of keeping her private life exactly that, private. Rather than flooding our social media feeds, Adele shows us glimpses of her life on her terms – and rightly so. So when the musician shared her first Instagram post of 2020, the world came to a halt. The post quickly went viral. And what did the tabloids and media outlets decide to focus on? Her so-called sudden “transformation”.
In the image in question, Adele is standing outside her LA home wearing a fitted black mini dress. She’s smiling to someone off camera, and is glowing. Girl looks good. So why has a seemingly innocent image caused such a stir? Maybe because visually this isn’t the Adele we’re using too seeing. There’s no doubt about it she’s lost a ton of weight on her ongoing health journey, and with that her appearance has changed dramatically. Our fascination with all things celebrity knows no bounds, and instead of focusing on the songstresses many achievements all eyes were on her new figure. Why does society feel the need to comment so strongly on a woman’s appearance, whilst side-lining all the accolades women work so tirelessly for? Within hours, tabloids across the globe had written articles about how much ‘better’ Adele looks now, how her trim new figure is ‘such a good look’. It’s dangerous to reinforce the pervasive cultural message that women are only worth celebrating when they fit a dominant stereotype, all whilst forgetting we are so much more than just our looks.
In and amongst all of this noise about Adele’s weight loss, her meaningful message to health workers has been lost. The joyful quarantined celebration of her 32nd birthday has been lost. Adele’s Instagram photo was not an invitation for the world to judge and criticise her appearance, and it’s not an excuse for people to go on a body-shaming rampage and make those who aren’t sample size feel bad about themselves. When the worlds media time and time again tries to police women’s body image, tries to tell women when they look good and when they don’t, it’s important that we as women take back our narrative and advocate for ourselves. Women do not deserve to be scrutinised in such a way. Whatever the rest of the world may think, the only thing that really matters is what you think and how you feel about yourself. Adele has always been beautiful, and she will always be a force to be reckoned with, whatever her dress size may be.
Written by J’Nae Phillips