Image Credit: Kirsten Murray
An entire year ago, Adele ‘revealed’ her dramatic weight loss to the world, posting the now famous photo of herself in a little black dress and oddly positioned hands, thanking her fans for all her birthday love. The media went crazy, with the tabloids calling her seven stone weight loss “incredible” and “mind blowing”. This Morning even dedicating a segment to the “Secret of Adele’s Weightloss.” The Sun reported that her birthday insta “broke the internet”, referring to the post as “The ‘proud’ weight loss reveal”. Yet as I said, this was a year ago, and sadly nothing has changed; we are still valuing Adele by her (lighter) weight.
Last week, as I scrolled through Snapchat, I was appalled to see the headline “Skinny Adele is Back!”, after pictures emerged of Adele partying at Daniel Kaluuya’s Oscars afterparty. It seems getting “skinny” is shaping up to be Adele’s greatest achievement; forget the 15 Grammys, 9 Brits and MBE, at least she’s skinny right? It has been almost a year and a half since the public were first privy to pictures of this ‘new Adele’, so when will Adele be just Adele again, or is ‘Skinny Adele’ her new persona?
The number seven is heavily emphasised throughout the article, and is referenced five times, just in case you missed that “the songstress has lost a staggering seven stone”. Adele’s weight loss is not news, and whilst it perhaps shocked the nation a year ago, surely the news is now wearing thin (no pun intended). Struggling to fill the article’s content, the Daily Mail’s return to a source quoted by Heat Magazine at the time of her 32nd birthday revealed how much Adele was enjoying revamping her wardrobe, stating that “from skimpy dresses to statement red-carpet creations. It’s like she’s making up for lost time”. I have a huge issue with this statement, on many levels.
Firstly, during that “lost time”, she released all three of her best-selling records – taking her total number sales to over 120 million records – won an Academy Award for James Bond single ‘Skyfall’, headlined one of the most memorable Glastonbury sets of all time, and gave birth to her now eight-year-old son, Angelo. Doesn’t sound like lost time to me. But does none of that matter if she couldn’t do it in a bodycon dress? When are we going to start validating women’s achievements to equate to more than a number on the scales? Adele is an inspirational songwriter and will go down in history as one of the greats – yet now her biggest talent seems to be her size 8 wardrobe.
Secondly, this statement perpetuates the idea that only slim women can enjoy clothes. Were none of Adele’s previous red-carpet gowns deemed ‘statement’ pieces. It seems the green dress she donned at the Grammys has been forgotten; perhaps the five Grammys she was holding obscured it, but I’d say it was a pretty big ‘statement’.
Just to clarify, I am not suggesting Adele is to blame for any of these comments. It's her body and she had every right to choose to lose weight, but it’s time the media stopped obsessing over her not so ‘new’ image. We should be excited for her upcoming music, not to see her looking ‘skinny’ and, did I mention, seven stone lighter.
Speaking from the perspective of a twenty-year old girl, I would say that body image is something the majority of young girls (and many boys too) battle with everyday. I am constantly working on how to appreciate my body, to accept it and practise body confidence, yet when articles like this come along, it really seems as though society is not changing, and that women will always be scrutinised for their weight. This past year we have seen Adele’s incredible talent completely discarded for celebration of her reduced waistline. If this can happen to Adele, how are we supposed to raise young girls to equate their worth with their talent and personality, rather than their appearance?
Women’s bodies are not there to be analysed for mainstream Friday-night viewing
Shockingly, last week Channel 5 commissioned an hour-long documentary titled ‘Celebrities – What Happened To Your Face- Charlotte Crosby.’ The production team has since pulled the series due to the adverse reaction, but it is 2021: we should not need to wait for a documentary solely based on a young woman’s appearance to receive backlash to know this is wrong. After making her name on Geordie Shore, Charlotte Crosby has lived her life in the public eye, subject to a disgusting amount of trolling which led to huge issues of self-confidence. Crosby has been honest about her plastic surgery, admitting to lip fillers, and a nose job in 2016. Whether you agree with plastic surgery or not, referring to her as “rubber-lipped Charlotte”is cruel and maintains a toxic culture of analysing the appearance of women. The documentary also focused on Crosby’s fluctuating weight, including images, all without Crosby’s consent. Addressing the show on her Instagram, Crosby stated: “Dealing with trolls is one thing, you ignore, you block. BUT where are we as a society, when the trolls are the mainstream TV channels? Will they now take responsibility for my dip in mental health and my plummeting self-esteem?”
Women’s bodies are not there to be analysed for mainstream Friday-night viewing. I do not suppose the media have ever considered the huge pressure they are placing on ‘Skinny Adele’ to stay skinny; what will they write if she gains back two stone of the famously shifted seven?
As we emerge from lockdown and many women are feeling the pressure to look hot girl summer post-lockdown body ready, these articles are not helpful. Being healthy looks different on everyone and weight loss or not, women are all valued. If we want to have a fighting chance of preventing eating disorders and issues of low self-esteem in the next generation of young people, we must project an image that you are more than what you eat, and what matters is who you are, not the number on the scales or the size on a clothes tag.