As SOCIALight’s A La Mode columnist discussed in her last post, Adele’s latest Instagram photo has been met with a variety of reactions and feelings. And as always, the topic of a woman’s body is being discussed publicly, as if it’s an acceptable topic to be dissecting.
One feeling that I personally wasn’t expecting to have towards Adele and her new image was of slight betrayal.
That sounds ridiculous, right?
Over the last few years, with body-positive messages starting to break through into mainstream media, celebrities such as Lizzo, Ashley Graham and Malin Andersson have been using their platforms to encourage their followers and fans to learn to ‘love themselves’. Social media is starting to see the message of non-judgement and acceptance of our differences and the body positivity movement has been on the uprise.
Images of cellulite from Demi Levato, untouched scars from Kylie Jenner and an honest and open approach to the changes the body goes through after pregnancy from celebs such as Chrissy Teigan has helped improve the way the female body is viewed, particularly on social media.
Studies have shown that we have started to turn away from the filtered, size zero ‘ideal’ that once graced every magazine or television advert and women are demanding that a variety of bodies and true to life representations are portrayed.
Clothing retailers such as Boohoo have started using different body shapes for their adverts as well as for their websites, girls and women everywhere are starting to see people that look like them on the television and enjoying feeling represented in the media.
Adele has previously gone on record with a similar motto. In 2015 she was quoted as saying “Weight has nothing to do with my career. Even when I was signing a contract, most of the industry knew if anyone ever dared say ‘lose weight’ to me, they wouldn’t be working with me.”
We all remember Karl Lagerfield’s comments on Adele’s weight, “She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice” and her nonchalant reaction “I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that.”
Due to this, for me, she was always a celebrity that seemed very accessible, very normal and someone whom I could possibly relate. Her dealings with peoples comments on her body helped me (and many of her fans) feel better about not being ‘model’ sized. She was ‘one of us’ and helped women everywhere embrace their bodies at different sizes, shapes and more.
Not just that, but she has a banging personality. And although she has always been stunning and beautiful no matter her size, the cackle of laughter, the fact that she hangs out with Alan Carr and that she is a down to earth ‘normal’ person earned her so much popularity beyond her talent.
As with any celebrity, she is held to incredible standards and placed on a pedestal in the limelight. Just because people like me saw her as an inspiration for slamming diet-culture, doesn’t mean she isn’t allowed to do what she wants with her own body. She has every right to make any changes to her body or her life without it being attached to other peoples judgements, opinions or thoughts. It’s an interesting insight into how the right to your identity is lost when you’re in the public eye.
And so, when the new image of Adele graced our Instagram feeds, it hit the headlines immediately… all of them had one thing in common. They spoke of Adele’s ‘massive seven stone weight loss,’ they talked about her ‘transformation,’ they praised how she looked almost as if this was the most incredible thing she has yet to achieve. Ignoring her phenomenal music career and many awards.
Perhaps the feeling of betrayal I first had when I saw the image wasn’t how I felt about Adele at all. Just like Roisin O’Conner said in her article in The Telegraph this week “Women like Adele inspired me because she was called, and called herself, “beautiful”. She wasn’t thin, but she was still glamorous, talented and fun. She was unafraid to express her opinions. So now, I have to check myself from feeling “betrayed” somehow by this new image. Her body is not mine, and what she does with it does not reflect the way I do, or should, treat my own.”
It’s important to remember that women in the entertainment industry are fighting a war that is impossible to win over body image. And it doesn’t help when the media is so geared up to go into a ‘frenzy’ when a star like Adele unveils a weight loss like hers.
The issue then isn’t with Adele and her personal life choices or body image change, the issue herein lies with how we wrongly place these expectations on women (especially in the celebrity world) and hold them to standards that just aren’t realistic.
She is living her life the way she wants to. She doesn’t owe it to me, her fans, the media or anyone else when it comes to her body, weight or choices in life. And yet, the way we consume media and fuel the topic of women’s bodies, we continue to let them dissect and talk about the body in a way that is just not acceptable and never has been.