On Oct. 22, beloved musician Adele barreled her way back into the news and our hearts with the music video for "Hello" — a song that has caused what seems like half of the world's population to scream-sob, and the other half to tweet an image from the video with hashtags #DEAD, #DYING, and/or #GONE. However, one thing that I can't forget from the period of time before she went silent was Adele's stance on body image. Her no-nonsense approach to self-love and embracing her identity was as inspiring then as it is now.
It's worth mentioning that Adele Laurie Blue Adkins didn't arrive on the scene in 2008 with the explicit intention of being a self-love advocate. Unfortunately, it's a title often thrust upon plus size women who make their way to celebrity. They're fat, so they must have something positive to say about their bodies, right? The same kinds of questions are often thrust upon her fellow plus size celebs, including Gabourey Sidibe, Melissa McCarthy, and Rebel Wilson. It's Adele's approach that I appreciate the most, though. Instead of responding to her critics with venom (though many of us wouldn't fault her for that, either), she took a stance that highlighted the individual's ability to choose how beauty standards affect them.
Take, for instance, her response to Karl Lagerfeld calling her "a little too fat" in 2012. According to CBS News, "[Adele] rarely thinks about her body image and feels no pressure to be a 'skinny-mini' or wear revealing, hyper-sexual clothing." Here's what she had to say about it in an interview with 60 Minutes that same year.
"Even if I did have, you know, a Sports Illustrated body, I'd still wear elegant clothes."
It's solid advice, and it's the kind of wisdom that speaks to her own experience. I also particularly enjoy this excerpt from a 2011 interview with Vogue, wherein she discussed the repercussions of a negative body image:
"Her distinctly non-Pussycat Doll physique, meanwhile, she makes absolutely no apology for. Quite the opposite. 'I don't have a message,' she says, inspecting her ghetto-fabulous (if slightly chipped) nails. 'I enjoy being me; I always have done. I've seen people where it rules their lives, you know, who want to be thinner or have bigger boobs, and how it wears them down. And I don't want that in my life. It's just never been an issue — at least, I've never hung out with the sort of horrible people who make it an issue. I have insecurities, of course, but I don't hang out with anyone who points them out to me.'"
Ignoring the Vogue writer's ill-advised use of the phrase "ghetto-fabulous," Adele's own words definitely hit home. She doesn't have to subscribe to any particular message of body positivity, and she's allowed to keep loving herself anyway. The bottom line: People should love themselves until they don't, and then they can change (but only with they want to).
It seems simple enough, doesn't it? Now let's all go back to watching the "Hello" video and sobbing into our respective cups of wine / coffee / ballad-inspired tears.