The Very 2021 Story of Adele and the Body Positivity Wackos

In 2021, everyone wants external solutions to their personal crises

Although I would absolutely agree that Adele is extremely talented and in particular, “Hello,” is a fantastic song, I’ve never much liked her music. It’s too sad and too slow for it to be something I’d enjoy.

If Adele somehow reads this, I’m hoping that her fame and 190-million-dollar net-worth will help cushion the crushing blow of finding out I’m not a fan. Hang tough, sis! In any case, Adele is back in the news again because she has a new album coming out next month, which will be her first release in five years.

That means she’ll be getting a lot more publicity, which will mean that large numbers of Americans will for the first time realize that Adele has lost about 100 pounds since her last album. She has gone from this

To this…

A decade ago, everyone would have just congratulated her for losing weight, noted that she looked terrific, and that would have been that. Of course, in angst-ridded, reality-denying, self-obsessed 2021, that won’t do because Adele’s weight loss isn’t just something Adele is doing to make herself feel prettier and healthier, it’s some sort of transcendental statement about all overweight women.

Here is some of the initial body positivity nuttery we saw when Adele first revealed her weight loss in 2020:

* “Celebrating Adele’s weight loss isn’t a compliment – it’s fatphobia.” — The Independent

* “The discourse around Adele’s weight loss — without her really saying a single public word about it — is already kind of unsavory. Some people are cheering for her as if her Oscar and 15 Grammys and multiple world records aren’t enough for her to feel like a success. Her weight loss, any way you cut it, pales in comparison to the other things she’s done in the first three decades of her life, yet it’s being framed like the most incredible thing she’s done in recent memory.

….Conversely, there are plenty of people who feel a little mournful about her weight loss since 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.)” — Buzzfeed

This all ties into an article that’s so 2021 it should be in a 2021 magazine, written by a 2021 bot, designed by a computer programmer that changed her name to 2021 called – “I’m a little bummed that Adele lost weight. Yes, I know this is not about me. But it’s not just about Adele either.”

… Adele is skinny now.

She has been skinny for a while—first, in an Instagram post last year, and then, while hosting Saturday Night Live. This week, we got skinny Adele in a music video, ahead of the release of her album 30.

...And yet, even as I know that celebrating Adele’s weight loss is wrong, I am struggling with something different, which is feeling a little upset about it. Which is weird! After all, Adele is an adult human woman, and I am a feminist. “She can do whatever she wants!!” wrote Katie Sturino, influencer and author of Body Talk, on her Instagram in a post about Adele’s slim-down, adding the hashtag #WeightIsntNews. “The public seems unable to receive it with neutrality,” wrote Scaachi Koul, back when skinny Adele first surfaced.* To assign a value in any direction to Adele’s weight-loss—excitement or disappointment—is to over-involve oneself in the dynamics of a stranger’s body.

...Ideally, I would have no thoughts about someone else’s weight. After all, I am—duh!—firmly in the camp that Adele is a human person and gets to do whatever she wants. But this is the one thing that I think is worth remembering: She is also a highly produced image, and, given the water we swim in, it makes sense if you or I feel a little sad that the image has changed. I’m not sending any “blame” in her direction—that blame ought to be reserved for the faceless mass of people making the choices about whom to give record deals and Vogue covers. It’s a lot harder to feel mad at them—I don’t know who they are, really—but I am trying my best. Until we live in a world where we can comfortably exist at any size, we’re going to inevitably feel things when one of the relatively few fat women celebrities changes. It’s OK to feel a little disappointment.

One of the reasons American society is horrifically screwed up today is that so many people are looking for external solutions to their personal crises.

Put another way, in this particular case, it doesn’t feel good to be overweight.

It’s unhealthy. It makes people feel ashamed. It makes you less attractive to the opposite sex. People make judgments about you based on your being overweight that in many cases are untrue and unfair. Contrary to what you often hear, it’s not necessarily an easy puzzle to solve either. There are an awful lot of people that have spent years and sometimes even decades, earnestly trying to lose weight and failing. It’s also fair to note that when 2/3 of Americans are overweight or obese, that seems like a powerful sign that the advice we give people about how to lose weight is failing on a systemic level more than an individual level. 

As I could tell you from personal experience, when you’re faced with all these facts and you are overweight, you have one of three choices in how you deal with it.

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