Adele is known for many things: incredible vocals, sad songs and winning armfuls of Grammys. If you logged onto twitter during the holidays, you would have quickly forgotten about her musical achievements as thousands of tweets poured in regarding her weight loss.
Adele posted two photos of herself smiling at a holiday party and has reportedly lost 100 pounds, which is undeniably a notable change. Seeing the thousands of tweets and articles celebrating and admiring her weight loss was unsettling to me.
Society’s obsession with being thin and praising those with a slim figure, particularly women, is nothing new. The truth is that it’s definitely a problem; I could go on about it all day. Adele’s weight loss epitomizes the issues of how we perceive weight in the growing number of people insisting how beautiful she is now (presumably because she is thinner).
Others commenting on how healthy she is now forget that a slimmer figure does not always equate to a healthier lifestyle. The way that so many people responded to Adele’s weight loss has revealed a deep-rooted issue.
Adele flaunts HUGE three stone weight loss in stunning satin dress to ring in Christmas with Santa https://t.co/UtkLB6jLeQ
— Daily Mail Celebrity (@DailyMailCeleb) December 23, 2019
People lauded Adele’s physical appearance by saying she was “flaunting her figure” or “showing off her new body.” These posts were well-intentioned and even meant as a compliment but they’re troublesome for two reasons.
It’s problematic firstly because it shows how we reserve this kind of language to describe the type of body we think warrants confidence. It’s also an issue as the simple act of saying someone is flaunting their body is inherently damaging in and of itself.
The issue with saying that someone is flaunting their figure construes that we only use this kind of language to describe thin people or those who have recently lost weight. In other words, it implies confidence for people who fit our socially constructed ideas of beauty.
It’s hard to come across a headline of someone “flaunting” their figure after they’ve gained weight. This is because our society is wildly and unfairly predisposed to think of weight gain as something shameful or bad.
With the way the public reacted to Adele’s photos, it seems as though posting a picture of yourself means you are showing off your body, which places an unnecessary aspect of performance to just existing as a normal human. The photos of Adele were of her simply enjoying a holiday party and doing nothing more than laughing and making a funny face at the camera.
She wasn’t “flaunting” anything. She was having fun with loved ones in the same way that most people do during the holidays.
— Page Six (@PageSix) December 25, 2019
We’ve become so obsessed with the idea of thinness that when someone becomes skinnier, we don’t give them an option to simply exist without labeling it as flaunting their new body. A post of oneself performing an everyday activity is no longer about the activity itself, but how thin he or she looks in the photo. You lose a few pounds and everyone forgets that the primary purpose of a body is to simply keep you alive and carry you through life.
It’s an unnecessary burden and frankly downright creepy to assign this expectation of performance to people.
People’s bodies do not exist just to look nice for you, so it’s damaging to insinuate that when someone is simply going about their day, they are actively “showing off” how they look for your own benefit.
It’s clear we have a lot to re-evaluate about how we perceive weight loss and our obsession with weight in general. Even when we think we’re being positive, we’re often just perpetuating damaging ways of thinking.
I would like to focus on things other than Adele’s weight, like what does “rolling in the deep” actually mean, anyway?