We’ve all read the Adele interview in Vogue by now and seen the accompanying pictures, right? How could we not – they are everywhere. I’ve not been able to scroll for 30 seconds on Instagram without seeing one of the shots.
‘Adele: On New Love, A New Look and A New Sound’ is the headline, alongside a stunning photo of the star. The message is crystal clear: she is reborn. The Adele we used to know has left the building; a new, glamorous 2.0 version has arrived.
What does her ‘new look’ refer to? Her weight loss, of course; let’s not pretend otherwise. You will undoubtedly know about that, too – she made headlines the world over for her weight change last year, with hundreds of news outlets speculating about how she managed to lose the weight, offering up potential diets she might have followed and even personal trainers claiming they were responsible when she hadn’t even heard of them, she told Vogue.
The first thing that appears when you start typing ‘Adele’ into Google is ‘Adele weight loss’ and if you Google ‘Adele weight’, there are over 75 million results.
And now, her ‘transformation’ has made the front cover of Vogue.
It’s a sad testament to the toxic diet culture-ridden society that we live in, where thinness is valued above all else, and the utmost importance is placed on appearance – for women, I might add. Because yes, if a man of roughly the same celebrity standing had lost weight, there would be news articles on it, but would it create the mass hysteria? I think we all know the answer to that.
We glorify weight loss and villainise weight gain and obsess over women’s bodies, valuing them above their character, achievements, values, morals, talent and personality.
Adele has been the perfect example of this: as a tweet by @fionak read: “Adele’s return being (not so subtly) framed around her weight loss reinforces that no matter how talented you are, your social capital will always be greater if you’re thinner. People now care about her outfits, makeup etc in a way they didn’t before. Her celebrity is magnified.”
It’s true – she’s never been as in demand as she is now. She has always been popular for her music, don’t get me wrong, but weight loss has skyrocketed her to stratospheric level. And for a woman who has won nine Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, 15 Grammy Awards, 18 Billboard Music Awards, five American Music Awards and two Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriter of the Year, doesn’t that strike you as sad? Sad, and yet painfully indicative of our current values as a society.
It’s not a surprise to Adele: “My body’s been objectified my entire career,” she said. “It’s not just now.”
Because, of course, in her previous body, she received criticism for how she looked, with many saying she needed to lose weight. Her size served as the butt of many of Joan Rivers’ jokes: “What is her song? ‘Rolling In The Deep’? She should add Fried Chicken,” she once said, followed by mocking her anxiety before her Oscars performance which involved her claiming she was so nervous she could barely swallow. “I said, ‘Oh yeah, you can swallow’.” Oscar host Seth MacFarlane also made a dig at her size during the same awards show, while fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld famously said that the star is “a little too fat.”
The scrutiny is not new to her, and while the glorification of her weight loss underpins the collective narrative right now, there are some who feel betrayed by her body change: namely fat women who felt represented by the singer in her previous body. “I understand why some women especially were hurt,” she said. “Visually, I represented a lot of women.”
But, crucially, “I’m still the same person.”
Which sums it up completely – she is the same living, breathing, multi-faceted, talented woman and mother who has FAR more to offer the world than how much she weighs.