Celina Timmerman-Care Free

Stop Talking About Women’s Bodies 

I was initially unsure as to whether I should address this, out of concern that drawing even more attention to this specific event would be counterintuitive. But the media responses to Adele’s weight loss made it clear that it’s worth discussing. This conversation, however, is not about Adele; rather, being a widely known celebrity, the responses to her “transformation” exemplify our society’s obsession with women’s bodies. 

Across social media platforms and news outlets, it seems like everyone has an opinion on this woman’s body. From my observations, most of this is praise for her weight loss. While these comments may be well-intentioned, they showcase that getting smaller seems to be what’s awarded most for women. The problem with unsolicited weight loss comments is the inherent undertone that someone is automatically more beautiful when they’re smaller, and the implication that they won’t be as valued if they were to gain some weight. It’s understandable that so many people immediately jump to praising women for their weight loss, given the widespread emphasis placed on appearance, but these comments are misguided. 

Another person’s body and life that you don’t know anything about is simply none of your business, and praising individuals based solely on appearing smaller is dangerous. There are many reasons why someone may have lost weight including: depression, eating disorders, physical illness, and stress, just to name a few. Complimenting weight loss can be extremely harmful to people who are struggling, and have a much larger impact than potential benefits of the praise that ultimately feeds into the notion that female thinness should be prioritized. Also, we should not assume that everyone constantly has the goal of losing weight. There is a clear distinction between supporting your friend who tells you that they’ve adjusted their nutrition and exercise habits to healthily lose some weight, and making unthoughtful comments about someone’s appearance. 

I’ve also noticed responses to Adele’s praise that center around not supporting what some people perceive to be unhealthy weight loss, and others expressing disappointment because Adele was an example of positive representation for women in larger bodies. Adele is not promoting a certain diet, trying to sell a product, or even talking about her weight publicly at all. So therefore, it shouldn’t be of anyone else’s concern, and it’s not a value judgement. We shouldn’t be praising her weight loss because it can be harmful, and there are more important things to focus on, not because of judgments based on rumors of a certain diet. And while representation is important, it's not the responsibility of any individual to serve that purpose on their own. We need to move away from placing so much emphasis on women’s weight, and being disappointed when someone no longer combats those values. By existing and being successful without an idealized body type is not a productive way to enact those necessary cultural changes. 

The bottom line is that we need to stop talking about and judging women’s bodies. As a society, we’ve come a long way, thanks to the body positivity movement and more mainstream questioning of traditional diet culture. But situations like this prove that there’s still a lot more progress that needs to be made. Women are so much more than a standard of physical beauty, and we need to start valuing and prioritizing their intellectual, artistic, and leadership contributions over their appearance.