Adele Is Sick Of People Commenting On Her Body
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Featured Image Credit: HARPO PRODUCTIONS / CBS
Having spent five years away from the spotlight, Adele has come back with a bang, with a string of interviews and shows to promote her latest music.
The 33-year-old, who is set to release her hotly-anticipated fourth album 30 over the next coming weeks, gave interviewer extraordinaire Oprah Winfrey a tease of her latest tracks (‘string-swirling, Garland-invoking, jazzy, campy, swooning delights’, apparently) as well as an update how our favourite north-London-girl-done-good is finding life in LA.
But instead of people being hyped about her new music, a lot of chatter around Adele has been fixated on her weight loss.
"I’m not shocked or even phased by [people’s reactions]," Adele responded when quizzed by Oprah Winfrey for a CBS special on Sunday night. "Because my body has been objectified my entire career.
"I was body-positive then and I’m body-positive now. It’s not my job to validate how people feel about their bodies. … I’m trying to sort my own life out."
It’s true that Adele’s new look is something that has fascinated us since she debuted that picture on her Instagram in an LBD (per Vogue, it garnered more than 12 million likes and almost a quarter of a million comments). Reams of articles and interviews with personal trainers claimed that she’d tried the ‘sirtfood’ diet, while others had claimed it was this particular set of burpees, crunches and sit up that had gotten the superstar slim.
But really, when we get to the nitty gritty of it all, has the way Adele looks ever been anything to do with us?
Body image expert Mollie Quirk tells Tyla: "Adele speaking out about her weight loss isn't anything extraordinary. People lose weight every day for a variety of reasons, but we're focusing on one woman because she has done it all in the public eye. We're focusing on a woman's image more than her talent, her profession, her music and her voice. Yes, she looks slimmer, but is this any of our business? She's still the same person, she's still Adele.”
Adele’s body has always been fodder for public consumption, ever since she first rocketed to fame as a teenager in the mid noughties. Unlike her contemporaries, Adele wasn’t unachieveably thin, ‘flaunting’ her rock-hard abs in sweaty music videos with teeny-tiny crop tops – she was the ‘ordinary girl next door’, with her size one of the reasons why so many of us identified with her. It was part of her persona, like her estuary London accent and the fact she buys knickers from Primark.
But the very notion that she didn’t look like other female artists was what made Adele a talking point, particularly amongst those who should have just kept their mouths shut.
In 2012, fans of the singer were in uproar when the late fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld publicly declared that Adele “was a little too fat” – something the singer herself had very little time for.
“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,” she told People magazine.
“I’d lose weight if I was an actress and had to play a role where you’re supposed to be 40 pounds lighter, but 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.”
However, Adele’s decision to lose weight has led to the star’s body being analysed and dissected even further – with one newspaper going as far as telling her to “f*** off” because she’d lost weight, sniping that she was a “shadow of her former self”.
A quick Google search of Adele’s name sees ‘Adele diet’ as the most popular search term with over 58.6 million hits – a whole industry built off just a few photos.
It’s something that’s particularly dangerous, glamourising Adele’s new look without knowing exactly what prompted it – particularly when the woman herself revealed she turned to exercise to help her with her anxiety.
“Working out, I would just feel better,” she said in Vogue. “It was never about losing weight, it was always about becoming strong and giving myself as much time every day without my phone. I got quite addicted to it. I work out two or three times a day.”
Adele also acknowledges that her significant lifestyle change just simply isn’t possible for most people, as she has the money and the time to access personal trainers and rigorous routines.
“I did it for myself and not anyone else…it’s my body,” she added. “You don’t need to be overweight to be body positive, you can be any shape or size.”
Mollie appreciates why some Adele’s fans may be disappointed that she no longer has a body type they can identify with, but urges them to appreciate that the singer is still the same person we fell for back when she released Chasing Pavements all those years ago.
“I understand why plus size women and people may feel hurt that she has lost weight, but her number on the scales doesn't diminish anybody else's worth,” she said. “We are all worthy as we are, and Adele's worth hasn't changed since she lost weight as a result of exercising more for her anxiety."
But no-one really says it any better than the woman herself.
“I couldn’t give a flying f**k,” she told Vogue in her usual candid manner. “I did it for myself and not anyone else. So why would I ever share it? I don’t find it fascinating. It’s my body.”