Adele has been in the public spotlight again after her recent weight loss. Jayme Zimmermann discusses the harmful ramifications of public opinion and media coverage of celebrity appearances.
The world we live in is vain, it is a part of human nature to want to look your best. But why is it as a society we focus so much on appearances, especially famous people?
Celebrities like Chris Pratt, Christina Aguilera and Adele have been praised for their newfound looks, while simultaneously receiving tremendous backlash. This leaves me to question why opinions on an individuals’ appearance are treated as important or newsworthy?
A great example of weight loss backlash is world-renowned musician Adele. Her debut album, “19”, with two popular lead singles, “Hometown Glory” and “Chasing Pavements,” launched Adele into stardom. The musician has received a host of awards, including nine Brit Awards, an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, fifteen Grammy Awards, eighteen Billboard Music Awards, five Americian Music Awards, and two Ivor Novello Awards for Songwriter of the Year.
Adele’s success came when she was plus sized, so after revealing her weight loss some of her audience were discontent with the changes in her appearance. According to Scaachi Koul from BuzzFeed News Reporter, “Adele was a hero for fat (or otherwise non-thin) people. She proved you could be successful at a larger size without that weight defining your personal narrative (It also helped, of course, that she’s white and conventionally attractive and, even at her largest, was not that fat).
“Her success doesn’t get to be merely her own, because inadvertently she’s become a symbol of something more important to people longing for more fat role models: Being fat doesn’t stop you from anything. Just look at Adele” says Scaachi.
In Adele’s 2015 interview with Rolling Stone she states, “Would I show my body off if I was thinner? Probably not, because my body is mine…But sometimes I’m curious to know if I would have been as successful if I wasn’t plus size.
“I think I remind everyone of themselves. Not saying everyone is my size, but it’s relatable because I’m not perfect, and I think a lot of people are portrayed as perfect, unreachable, and untouchable.”
Kelly Clarkson got candid about Adele’s recent weight loss and the “pressure” she once felt to be a certain size. https://t.co/znlNp4Wwqe
— Life & Style (@Life_and_Style) June 17, 2020
Though, with her weight loss came the praise. Media outlets and individuals were commenting on how great Adele’s “Glow-up” is and how amazing she now was. I found it equally amazing that so many people had opinions on this topic and were sending their congratulations to the star, but Adele herself was yet to mention anything about her own appearance.
Some of her audience were also voicing their concerns for Adele. Samuel Leighton-Dore from SBS highlighted “social media users are hitting back at those who are celebrating Adele’s recent weight loss, saying it highlights an underlying fatphobia and ignores the fact that weight loss is not necessarily a sign of health.”
Regardless of what Adele looks like, some people will always have an opinion. People formulate their opinions and blast social media with their views, all without thinking of, or caring about the possible ramifications. People’s need to express an opinion seems almost compulsive, or unavoidable. But why?
Mary McNamara from The Los Angeles Times stated this backlash was followed by criticism of the criticism, and a lot of conversation about the female body. “As if the female body is an aggregate. As if anyone really believes that someone told Adele, ‘If you don’t drop 20 pounds, your career is over'”, says Mary, “Adele is a singer-songwriter superstar whose words speak to us in a voice that haunts us. What her body looks like has nothing to do with it in any way. It certainly has nothing to do with us in any way.”
Most of us will whole heatedly agree with the above statement. In my opinion, seeing a person you admire being scrutinised for how they look is harmful, it makes individuals question their own self worth and value. Body positivity is hard enough as it is without people throwing their unwarranted opinions all around. Especially considering the statistics which indicate a large number of Australians struggle with eating disorders and disordered eating, with body negativity being a pivotal factor to this issue.
Hopefully readers can take this example and truly consider the consequences of sharing their thoughts on other people’s appearance. Who knows, some day maybe things can be a little different, and criticism will only be given constructively, and fatphobia will be eradicated. A girl can only dream.
Feature Image by Phoebe Metcalf, Yak Media Designer