By Amy Knowles
During a global pandemic, why are newspaper headlines dominated with impertinent discussions about a woman’s body, questioning how exactly it has changed and how this apparently affects Adele’s life? Ultimately, journalists are incessantly and invasively commenting on this as a means of consolidating their control on the narrative surrounding the female body.
Imagine writing ‘Hometown Glory’ at the age of 16, receiving a record-tying six Grammy Awards for an album you wrote on the cusp of adulthood and having your number one song streamed almost eight hundred million times on Spotify. Now imagine you’ve achieved all of that, and yet the first suggestion in the search bar when people Google your name is to do with your weight loss. It is a pathetic understatement of Adele’s talent and achievements as an artist.
Article headlines include ‘Exactly How Adele Lost 100 Pounds” (prevention.com) and ‘NO MAN, NO PROBLEM… 100-Pound Weight Loss’ (The Scottish Sun). Unsurprisingly, many of these articles correlated weight loss with men or relationships. It is interesting how Adele hasn’t commented on her weight loss, yet tabloid newspapers seem to know exactly the amount of weight she’s lost.
This magical ‘100-pound’ statistic that’s being thrown around comes from a 19-year old fan who claims she had a conversation with Adele and that the artist told her ‘she lost something like 100 pounds’. Very reliable.
Journalists are suggesting that Adele is following the ‘Sirtfood diet’ and many articles are repeatedly using the phrase ‘revenge body’. Firstly, Adele has never said she is following this diet, so promoting such a false claim to young and potentially susceptible readers who may already have body image issues only pushes them further down the dangerous diet culture hole.
Further, the notion of a ‘revenge body’ suggests women lose weight purely to spite an ex, returning us to the old-fashioned view that women should change their bodies in order to impress or spite men and that the skinnier you look, the better.
Rather than commenting on the body of one of the most successful women in music, perhaps we should try and change the toxic diet and body image discussions circulating the tabloid media. Maybe, rather than celebrating a woman’s weight loss, we should try not to define people on their appearance and stop discussing women’s bodies as if they are mere public exhibits.