The media has an obsession with women’s bodies. Just type “Adele” on Google. In between pages and pages of content discussing her weight and (weight loss), you’ll find some sprinkled content about her record-breaking songs and awarded albums.

I can’t believe I need to be saying this in 2021, but here we are: a person’s worth is completely independent of their weight. Stop being fixated by that.

A person is not their weight. Stop talking about it.

For years, people have used Adele as an example of a successful person in the music industry who didn’t fit the normative beauty standards. And this is despite her being a beautiful, white, blond-haired, blue-eyed woman. The only beauty standard that she didn’t fit was her weight.

Over the last year, pictures have been published showing Adele’s dramatic weight-loss. And the storm soon ensued. From one day to another she went from being the protagonist of body positivity to an example for magazines to make articles about how to lose weight in a short time.

Neither of them is okay. Adele didn’t ask to be either.

[Image description: cover of Sunday People. On the right there is a picture of slim Adele with the title "How Adele achieved her amazing weight loss"] via SkyNews.
[Image description: cover of Sunday People. On the right there is a picture of slim Adele with the title “How Adele achieved her amazing weight loss”] via SkyNews.
[Image description: front cover of The Daily Mail On the bottom right corner there is a picture of Adele with the title "Revealed: the secret of Adele's slick new look" ] via The Daily Mail.
[Image description: front cover of The Daily Mail On the bottom right corner there is a picture of Adele with the title “Revealed: the secret of Adele’s slick new look” ] via The Daily Mail.
It makes me extremely sad to see an incredibly talented woman only get media attention in relation to her weight. A person is not their appearance. A person is not their weight.

And of course, by making this article I am fueling the conversation. However, I think it is important to talk about the media’s obsession with weight. Because every time I see a magazine article that celebrates Adele’s weight loss my heart goes towards all the young women that will read it and will feel ashamed of their own bodies.

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I can see it all in my head: the guilt, the self-loathing, the comments. “Adele could do it, why can’t you?”

The media has an obsession with women’s bodies

More often than not, it is women that criticize other women. All of us have interiorized that our worth depends on our looks, and whole industries have been created to profit from that belief. Hundreds of magazines and diet blogs use images of women that make us feel like we are somehow “less than”. Moreover, we continue the conversation ourselves. We fueled it.

I was shocked by the incredible amount of people in social media that praised Adele for her weight loss, headed her up as an example, and even dare to say that she had never looked as beautiful. Adele has always been a stunning woman.

This is how people develop eating disorders: by seeing pictures of other women receive avalanches of praise for their weight-loss, much more than for any other achievement, even an Oscar or a Grammy. We are telling girls that the biggest thing they can aspire to is being pretty.

[Image description: a picture of a thin Adele with the caption "This is the same Adele-What's your excuse"] via Twitter.
[Image description: a picture of a thin Adele with the caption “This is the same Adele-What’s your excuse”] via Twitter.
[Image description: two pictures of Adele before and after her weight loss with the caption "Nah what is Adele's secret please? She looks unreal. The glow up that comes with weight loss is insane"] via Twitter.
[Image description: two pictures of Adele before and after her weight loss with the caption “Nah what is Adele’s secret, please? She looks unreal. The glow up that comes with weight loss is insane”] via Twitter.
Adele has never used her weight to make a statement. She isn’t celebrating her weight, whether it is the current or the past one. She isn’t attacking it either. Why are we?

We shouldn’t celebrate anyone’s weight gain or loss, because we don’t know them and the circumstances that surrounded it. We don’t know why Adele decided to lose weight, or if it was a decision at all. We don’t know if for her it was a way of self-caring and feeling healthier or if it came from a place of insecurity or mental health struggles. And we should not care.

I can see it all in my head: the guilt, the self-loathing, the comments.

Instead, let’s celebrate all of Adele’s amazing achievements. Let’s stop talking about her as “that woman that lost 100 pounds” and look at her as “one of the only two women that have two Album of the Year Grammy Awards”. She’s that and much more.

She’s the pop star that was born in a working-class London neighborhood. The woman that broke all music sales records with ballads. The incredible mother. The woman that has won 86 awards, including one Oscar and 12 Grammys. The one that can make you cry with each of her songs, but you still keep listening anyway. The first living artist to have two top 5 hits in both the UK Official Singles Chart and the Official Albums Chart simultaneously since the Beatles. The one that makes you scream along to “Someone Like You” and “Hello” every time they are played (and gave you all the memes).

She is an incredibly talented singer and composer, who fought to make a space for herself in one of the most competitive industries out there. And won. Let’s listen to her new single Easy On Me and respect her private life.

As Jameela Jamil would say: Adele is worth so much more than her weight. And so are you.

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  • Beatriz Valero de Urquía

    Beatriz Valero de Urquia is a historian, writer and journalist. She graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2020 and spends her time between Spain and the UK reading, listening to musicals and writing her first novel.

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