Brigid Downey

May 7, 2020

Adele, Body Image, and Body Positivity

I didn’t plan on posting today. My wrist still hurts and is cramping and I will make a video on it, but I couldn’t not talk about this Adele situation. Many of you who found me through my Tanya Gold post expressed wanting to see more body positivity, and while I’m working on more of that content I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to talk about the current situation.

The Post

In case you live under a rock (or are doing a social media blackout) Adele started trending on Twitter yesterday, May 6, 2020, because of an Instagram post about her birthday and first responders and essential workers.

Within hours the post had blown up all over social media not talking about first responders, how much the singer has achieved before her 32nd birthday, or really anything else mentioned in the post. Instead, the world was talking about her body.

[See also: In Response to Tanya Gold]

Still, 24 hours later, the top comment on that Instagram post is James Charles saying “YOU LOOK AMAZING”

The Problem

Here’s the problem, no one should be saying anything about her body for several reasons: The post wasn’t about weight loss and did not invite the world to comment on her body, the world missed the whole point of the actual post, and we just reduced a 32 year old woman with several achievements and awards under her belt to her appearance.

The Post Did Not Invite You to Comment

If Adele had posted something along the lines of: “Feeling so good after so much hard work on myself” or something along those lines then she would have opened the conversation up to her weight loss. Without that invitation– from anyone– you really shouldn’t comment.

Here’s why:

  1. Weight loss isn’t always positive. Here’s the thing, while the reason behind Adele’s weight loss could have been very healthy for her we just don’t know. I’m not trying to insinuate that it wasn’t unhealthy, but for some people weight loss isn’t a good thing. Every time anyone has a weight change it could be healthy or unhealthy. We need to stop this societal stigma that all weight loss is good and all weight gain is bad because it’s simply not true. Her weight and health are between her and her doctor. And that goes for anyone else, too.
  2. Women’s bodies don’t equate their worth. A lot of people have been talking about their experience when they lost weight. A lot of people claim that they got a lot more compliments and felt more worthy of their success. (Or at least that other people felt that they were more worthy.) By constantly complimenting people because they lost weight we perpetuate a standard that women (and others) are only measured by their appearance.
  3. Adele has always been beautiful. She isn’t more or less beautiful now than she was back in 2012. Period.

That Wasn’t the Point

Adele posted this beautiful message for first responders and essential workers on her birthday and the world ignored that very important and kind message and made it about her body. She tried to use her spotlight to highlight the heroes battling the pandemic every day and Twitter talked about her tight black dress. That’s frankly disgusting and so far off the point, I don’t know what to tell you.

She’s More Than her Appearance

Do you know what we should be talking about on Adele’s birthday? The fact that before the age of 32 she’s won an Academy Award, had nine nominations and five wins for American Music Awards, broke a record by winning 12 awards in one night at the Billboard Music Awards, won a Golden Globe, won 15 Grammy’s out of 18 nominations, and that’s just the highlights!

This woman has been nominated for 307 awards and won 147 of those before the age of 32.

Also, her album 21 has held the best selling spot in the US for longer than any album since 1985. It’s the fourth most sold album in the UK ever and is certified diamond. On her birthday we should talk about her intelligence, talent, and achievements, not how good she looks in an Instagram photo.

The Global Point

I’ve seen a lot of articles claiming this is either good or bad for the body positivity movement. But it is what you make it. I personally always looked up to Adele because she was one of the first celebrities I saw as looking like me. She became big when I was in middle school and the body positivity movement was just really starting to peek its face out of the woodwork.

I still look up to her. She’s still a beautiful, talented, and inspiring woman no matter what size she is. She is also not the only face of body positivity nor will she be the last. And finally, you can be body positive at any size! She can still be your role model if you want her to be and if she inspires you to lose weight (in a healthy way!) then go for it!

Body positivity is not about being “fat” or “curvy” and I think this is where we lose a lot of people. The movement is about loving the skin you came in and recognizing that weight doesn’t define your health, you can be gorgeous and worth love at any size, and that we need to stop idolizing unrealistic body standards.

Big take away: Stop judging people based on their appearance, mind your own business, and focus on loving you.

Let me know your take in the comments!

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9 Comments on “Adele, Body Image, and Body Positivity

Amber Page
May 8, 2020 at 12:50 pm

I feel the same way about this issue. It is so sad that that is just the way society will be respond and I’m not sure if we will ever progress away from it.

Brigid Downey
May 8, 2020 at 1:09 pm

I hope someday we will. Maybe the same day we stop trying to criticize people. It’s a good dream at least

May 8, 2020 at 1:08 pm

Great post! I wasn’t aware of this situation, but I agree that it is terrible! I feel that our society fixates on weight way too much. I really think as a society we ought to focus much more on health not on weight. But that said, I 100% agree that no one should have mentioned it at all. It’s none of their business. And honestly, I feel a little sad seeing celebraties change so drastically from when they come on the scene, to several years after they’ve become famous. Sometimes they aren’t even recognizable anymore.

Brigid Downey
May 8, 2020 at 1:12 pm

I was also thinking about the way we also constantly ask women celebrities if they’re pregnant while writing this. It touches on so many systematic issues that have honestly just gotten worse with the rise of social media because so many people think they’re entitled to other people’s lives. If she was aiming for a healthy change then good on her! but it’s not for us to speculate on when she hasn’t invited us to.

May 8, 2020 at 5:07 pm

This is such a great post. It’s so true how society judges women based on their looks or their body sizes. I hate that so much

Brigid Downey
May 8, 2020 at 8:21 pm

I e always been a little curvier it runs in my family and I have PCOS. I knew as a kid I would always be judged for it. I’ve danced my entire life (like ballet etc.) so I’m healthy and active. Sad that I and other women like me will always be seen as lazy and unhealthy

May 8, 2020 at 7:06 pm

The way people have reacted to this photo has had me biting my tongue so many times. You’re so so so right that the world seems to have missed the point and her body isn’t ours to speculate on. And weight loss like that definitely isn’t always a good thing. And if there is another issue, the praise may only make that situation worse. But again that’s not for us to comment on. Personally, I thought she looked better a little heavier, but if she’s happy and healthy then that’s none of my business. And it’s a catch 22 either way if you do decide to share your opinion. Praising the weight loss brings up all of the things you’ve mentioned here. Saying she looked better before would only be followed by an attack from people saying you’re not supportive of the hard work and dedication etc. You can’t win either way so we should all stay in our own lanes and let her (and anyone else) live her own life x


Brigid Downey
May 8, 2020 at 8:18 pm

It’s just so sad that people took a lovely post about our personal on the front lines and her birthday and turned it into a conversation on her body. I obviously post body positivity content and I’m all for the movement but this wasn’t the time or place ?

New Years 2021 | Brigid Downey
January 8, 2021 at 12:12 am

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