Helen Buyniski is an American journalist and political commentator at RT. Follow her on Twitter @velocirapture23
The chart-topping Brit emerged from a five-month social media hiatus on Tuesday with the most innocuous of Instagram posts, thanking her fans for wishing her a happy birthday and including a beaming photo of herself in a little black dress. "I hope you're all staying safe and sane during this crazy time," she added for good measure.
Safe? Maybe. But sane? Judging by the avalanche of fatphobia accusations and skinny-shaming that ensued, Adele-watchers were most definitely not staying sane. One might think people would have better things to do during a pandemic than shred a pop star for her life choices, but that's underestimating the hypocrisy of the ‘body positivity’ movement.
Adele rocketed to fame over a decade ago despite being quite a bit heftier than the typical pop starlet, a testament to both her voice and the public's willingness to embrace performers who didn't fit the standard mold. While her look became more polished over the years, she was always praised by body positivity advocates for refusing to be pushed around about her weight. Hailed for "never wanting to look like models on the cover of magazines," her steadfast refusal to conform to the industry's beauty standards was declared "refreshing."
"Weight has nothing to do with my career," she said back in 2012, to thunderous media applause.
While Adele was making herself scarce online these past few months, celebrity gossip outlets hinted she was hitting the gym hard, motivated by a desire to be healthy for the sake of her young son. Now that she’s unveiled the finished product, she’s committed the unpardonable sin of implying – by her very existence! – that ‘weight loss’ and ‘health’ might not be mutually exclusive.
Alas, the body positivity movement is only 'positive' when it comes to certain bodies. When the pop star it claimed as its own decided she wanted to get fitter, that same independent spirit they'd embraced was recast as a personal attack upon their own life choices. Adele hasn't commented on her slimmed-down shape publicly, but it doesn't matter – she's said to be "more confident" and "seems happier." Her body – and her continued embrace of it – is by default a threat to the neurotic ‘health at any size’ advocates who reflexively scowl at fashion magazines and mutter curses under their breath when they see a thin woman eating.
And heaven forbid anyone compliment the singer on her transformation – that's an unconscionable assault on all overweight people, in the minds of some.
It's really nobody's business but Adele's what her motives were for losing weight, but given that carrying around extra pounds puts one at risk for a number of debilitating diseases, her choice should be respected. Losing weight isn't easy, and complimenting a star on their transformation shouldn't be interpreted as slagging off larger women. The world is already in the grip of one contagious epidemic – body positivity advocates would be wise to stomp out this hypocrisy outbreak before it spreads.
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The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.