Christmas is a time for being kind, but the reactions to Adele’s Christmas photos are anything but.
There’s no denying that Adele is a superstar. She’s sold millions of albums, had multiple number ones, and if there’s a song guaranteed to bring us to tears as soon as we hear the opening notes, it’s Someone Like You.
If you needed more evidence, there’s the face that she’s won an Oscar for Best Original Song for Skyfall, the title song of the James Bond film, and holds the record for spending more time at number one on the UK albums chart than any other female artist.
Her work, in other words, speaks for itself. So when we saw Adele trending on Twitter, we got excited that maybe the singer, whose last album 25 was released in 2015, had announced some new music.
But we were soon to be disappointed, and not because we have to wait until Adele is ready to release new songs (she can take her time, that’s her prerogative). Instead, we were disappointed because of the reason why Adele was trending.
The singer posted photos from her Christmas party on Instagram. The images, in black and white, show her alongside someone dressed as the Grinch and another of her with Santa Claus, with Adele smiling widely, clearly having a good time. The caption with the images reads: “We both tried to ruin Christmas but then both our hearts grew! Thank you for coming to my party and making us feel like kids Grinch.”
The pictures are fun and funny, and of course it’s to be expected people would comment on them. But the comments have taken the unfortunately predictable line of focusing on Adele’s looks. You know, rather than on the fact that she’s shared a moment from her Christmas celebrations with her fans, and looks like she’s having the time of her life.
“Dramatic weight loss,” wrote one Instagram user, while another said: “Looks like a totally different person.” A number of people on Twitter took photos of Adele and recreated the meme showing how much she’d changed from the beginning of the decade to the end.
And it’s not just on social media. One newspaper headline calls Adele “newly slim” while another says she “looks unrecognisable”. A third decided to tell us that “Adele flaunts HUGE three stone weight loss”.
The focus on Adele’s body is, to put it mildly, disheartening. In sharing a moment of joy from the festive season, Adele hasn’t given anyone the right to speculate on her physical appearance, yet that’s exactly what many have chosen to do. It’s like society never learns that women are much more than their bodies.
Celebrities have been pointing out that commenting on Adele’s body is wrong. Jameela Jamil tweeted: “Adele was beautiful before. Is beautiful now. Will be beautiful WHATEVERTHEFUCK weight she will be in the future. The weight of a global icon trending is a sign there is still work to do in how we value women in 2020. Being thinner doesn’t add to her value.”
Roxane Gay perfectly summed up what’s wrong with all the comments about Adele’s pictures, tweeting: “Adele has always been gorgeous. Y’all tell on yourselves by thinking she somehow looks better now.”
Adele is a private person, and releasing pictures from a private celebration won’t have been something she did lightly. That people are looking at those pictures and seeing only a body, instead of a happy, fulfilled, successful woman, reveals, as Gay said, more about them than they do about Adele.
On this occasion, Adele was trending for all the wrong things, through no fault of her own. We can only hope that next time, it’s for more positive things. In the meantime, we’re off to go put our Adele albums on repeat and sing/wail along to them.