After watching Adele’s much-hyped Instagram Live over the weekend, we have a question: why is the antiquated idea of a woman’s “number” still floating around in 2021?
Adele is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the world’s most powerful musical talents. She’s a Grammy winner some 15 times over, not to mention the recipient of both an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Plus, she holds the record for the fastest-selling US album. Ever.
Essentially, when you think of Adele, you don’t necessarily think about Adele the person; she’s long since transcended that. Instead, you think of her many, many achievements. Of her characterful, emotional, and resonant singing voice. Of Chasing Pavements, or Hello, or Skyfall. You think of Someone Like You (and then cry, probably).
On top of all that, you also spend a lot of time – if you’re anything like us, that is – obsessing over the singer-songwriter’s upcoming fourth album. Like, a lot of time.
Naturally, then, the world lost its cool in a very big way when Adele hopped on Instagram Live over the weekend and shared a sneak preview of her new track, Easy On Me – not to mention answer a few questions from her 40.7 million followers.
The majority of people tuned into the Instagram Live were quick to shoot questions over about Adele’s new album; they wanted to know the inspiration, the song titles, the earliest realistic date we can expect the singer’s inimitable tones to hit airwaves once again.
One person, however, decided to take the opportunity to ask a deeply personal question about Adele’s “body count”.
As you might expect, this segment of the Q&A quickly went viral, thanks to Adele’s deadpan reaction, with many dubbing it the most hilarious moment of the IG Live.
“NOT SOMEONE ASKING ADELE WHAT HER BODY COUNT IS??? AND HER NOT KNOWING WHAT THAT IS?” reads one tweet from a fan. “I’M SCREAMING!”
Others, though, pointed out the problematic nature of the question.
Indeed, as one person put it: “Which one of you nosy ass bitches asked Adele her body count?”
Now, it remains unclear whether or not Adele was genuinely confused by the question, or whether she was feigning obliviousness as a means of underlining just how inappropriate it was.
For anyone who doesn’t know what a “body count” is, though, the term refers to the number of people that a person has had sex with during their life so far. Which means that this isn’t just a question loaded with ‘nosy’ connotations; it’s deeply sexist, too.
First things first, who you choose to have sex with is a deeply personal matter; it is literally nobody’s business except yours (and your consenting sexual partner, obviously). Secondly, this idea of a tally – of metaphorical notches in a metaphorical bedpost – absolutely reeks of sexism.
Traditionally, men have been praised for achieving a higher number of sexual partners; women, on the flipside, are expected to have a lower ‘body count’ – albeit not too low. There’s a fine line to tread, after all, between so-called promiscuity and frigidity; between being a “slut” and being a “prude”.
In fact, the line is so fine that it seems whatever number a woman gives, she will be judged.
Of course, Adele is by far from the first successful woman to see her sexual history thrown under a magnifying glass by the masses. Earlier this year, in fact, Taylor Swift drew attention to this same “lazy [and] deeply sexist” double standard when she criticised the writers of Netflix sitcom Ginny & Georgia for joking about her relationship history with their, “You go through men faster than Taylor Swift” line.
“How about we stop degrading hard working women by defining this horse shit as FuNnY?” she asked via a Twitter post.
Despite the still-rumbling debate she stirred on social media with her clapback, there’s no denying that Swift has a point; the year is 2021, after all, and we are all of us attempting to embrace a more sex-positive worldview. So why on earth does anyone still give a damn about any woman’s number/body count? Really?
With that in mind, then, we have a message for the person who dared derail Adele’s IG Live with this inane line of questioning: her sex life is none of your damn business.
And, if you really are so bloody preoccupied with a woman’s sexual history (and a woman you’ve most likely never met at that), then we’re going to have to assume that there’s something major missing from your own life.
Sorry not sorry.