Please Stop Making Adele A "Before and After" Transformation

Why You Must Stop Reducing Adele To A Before/After Transformation

May 7, 2020 Updated September 15, 2020

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Teenage Lindsay is feeling triggered as hell right now. And I can’t blame her.

A few months ago, Adele dropped a photo on Instagram debuting her newly skinny body, and apparently a shit ton of people care a whole lot about it. Based on the overly zealous internet buzz alone, you’d think the Grammy Award winner had posted a video of her singlehandedly saving a bunch of kittens from a burning house while simultaneously winning the Nobel Peace Prize because she found a cure for cancer.  The weight loss accolades and media attention keeps pouring in for the singer, and there’s a hot topic debate making the rounds that has fans divided about whether they prefer her in a fat body or a thin one.

As an eating disorder survivor, I can’t fucking deal with all of this bullshit. We can’t stop placing thinness on a pedestal in our society and it’s dangerous and unacceptable.

I am so damn tired of people drinking the diet culture Kool-Aid and drooling all over someone just because they’ve hustled their way to thinness. If you’re not with me on this one, please take a moment to consider the reality of what the internet has just done to Adele. In a matter of mere hours yesterday, folks online managed to overwhelmingly diminish this woman’s entire existence to a number on a fucking scale while simultaneously sticking a “best in show” trophy right next to her. The comment section was brimming over with comments relating to how much better she looks now that she’s taking up less space.

Whether knowingly or not, Adele has also communicated something quite profound to us all in the highly curated post she shared with her 36+ million followers.

Much like our reigning pop queen Lizzo, Adele has been a body-positive icon who champions self-acceptance in a larger size, being a refreshing alternative to our “thin is in” society, and promoting the empowerment of women as she’s boldly graced magazine covers with all the rebellious energy of a human being who doesn’t give a flying fuck about what anyone thinks of her weight.

“I’ve seen people where it rules their lives, you know, who want to be thinner or have bigger boobs, and how it wears them down. And I don’t want that in my life,” Adele told Vogue in 2011.

She’s also gone on record in the past saying that she’d never work with anyone who ever tried to pressure her to lose weight, that she doesn’t want to look like a skinny-ass model, and that she’s proud to represent women living in bigger bodies.

I want to make something clear. Adele is allowed to do whatever the hell she wants with her body.

It is her life, and she has the free will to alter herself for any reason. She also deserves to express herself as she sees fit, and I respect her right to do so.

But, we also need to talk about how, for too damn long, women have had to face unsustainable and unrealistic beauty ideals before we’ve ever gotten the chance to be championed for our talent, skill, and experience. That’s what is happening to Adele when we center her weight loss above everything else she has accomplished.

Diet culture has created a collective hierarchy of bodies, and if you’re not a thin, white person at the top of the heap, you’re considered more expendable and less desirable. Young girls are following this fucked up universal narrative with wide, innocent eyes as we teach them how much or little space they’re allowed to take up as they grow. They see you praising and complimenting Adele because she’s smaller, and I don’t need to tell you what message that sends because you already know.

On the National Eating Disorder Association’s website, there are some mic-dropping truths that deserve as much – or more – limelight as Adele’s fluctuating body size. According to NEDA researchers, the best-known factor for developing an eating disorder in this lifetime is our societal obsession with thinness. Millions of teens and adults are restricting themselves at alarming rates in the name of weight loss. Because of our destructive idolization of thin bodies, kids as young as six are now beginning to feel the need to lose weight. An overwhelming number of school-aged girls who read magazines and see images of famous women in the media have also shared that they negatively compare their own bodies to the celebrities they look up to.

This cultural messaging has our youth feeling immense pressure to conform if they want to be accepted in this world, that’s for damn sure. And since UCLA already proved in 2007 that diets don’t work in the long-term for the vast majority of people, our children are joining us in a dangerous game that was never rigged in our favor to begin with.