We have a fatphobia problem

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On May 6, Adele surprised her fans when she posted a rare photo from her birthday on Instagram, in which she thanked essential workers and first responders for their hard work during the pandemic. However, what caught most peoples’ eyes—including numerous pop-news sites—was Adele’s new appearance. As seen from the photo, it’s clear that Adele has lost a lot of weight. This “shocking weight-loss” quickly circulated across the Internet, with everyone from Twitter users, to other celebrities, to entertainment news sources taking their turn to comment upon how incredible Adele looks, now. 

Unfortunately, Adele isn’t an isolated case. For decades, the media has loved to swarm around and hound celebrities over the way their bodies look and how they change. Open any tabloid magazine between the 1990s and mid 2010s and I’m sure you can find a writer editorializing some celeb’s beach day as a personal weight-loss/weight-gain exhibition. Perhaps this kind of shameless reporting has died down a bit over the past few years in bigger name magazines, but it continues to feed the clickbait headlines of DailyMail, Ok!, and Us Weekly, to name a few. What we tend to see more of now is a kind of subtler body rhetoric, in which blatant fatphobia is mixed with pseudo-supportive messages that encourage people to get thin, “for their health,” or complement people by asking, “you look so good, have you lost weight?” 

What does this mean for the overwhelming majority of people who do not have bodies that look like Adele’s “after-pic,” but rather her before? As a thicc girl myself, it’s disheartening to see such a mass amount of people come together to congratulate a body by putting down another, even if it is the same person. Fatphobia is one of the most popular forms of hate and one of the easiest to ignore because people are so prone to believe skinny people are healthier, or, as Sharon Osbourne said in response to Adele’s weight loss, that fat women cannot be happy in their bodies. 

Now, this is no jab at Adele (who I love). It’s impossible for any celebrity to avoid the lightning fast speed of media gossip. In a recent Instagram post, former trainer Pete Geracimo wrote, “My hope is that people appreciate the hard work that Adele has done to improve herself for the benefit to her and her family only.” The simple fact is that Adele happened to lose weight, but she did not ask for the response that she got. What we should be doing is congratulating the award-winning singer on her obvious hard work, without putting down larger body types.

Fortunately, there has been a large response against this fatphobia, spearheaded by a now-famous tweet by Twitter user @ghoulets: “adele has always been attractive you’re just all fatphobic.” I couldn’t have said it better myself.

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