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Adele and the Weight Debate: Role Model, or Irresponsible?

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I couldn’t help but notice that Adele’s song “Rolling in the Deep” has been getting very frequent play on many radio stations. If I happen to be driving in my car, even for a short errand, I am almost certain to hear the song at least once on any radio station that I happen to turn to. And for good reason: it’s a great piece of popular music, much different than what I expect to hear on the top 40 alongside the current female pop royalty like Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, and, of course, Britney Spears.

However, Adele’s soulful music isn’t the only thing that sets her apart from the rest of the more conventional (or even less conventional) party music artists. Let’s face it: whether we like it or not, popular music really isn’t only about the music itself anymore. Fashion, style, and appearance are part of the act in their own right. The other artists I mentioned created quite a stir about their unique appearances in the early stages of their rise to fame—Lady Gaga for the balls to walk around in a leotard regularly, among other things, Katy Perry for her bright and unexpected fashion choices, Ke$ha for her trashy-glittery-chic wardrobe, and Britney Spears for wearing snakes, nothing, and Catholic school uniforms. Adele is no different—she, too has created her own appearance-related buzz.

Adele has chosen to ignore the pressure to be thin and allow her body to become the weight that it naturally would go to without any dieting. She dresses conservatively and does not bare her body to sell records. And much like the other artists who make unconventional choices about their appearances, her choices have caused controversy, mainly over her weight. Some people love that she has chosen to allow her body to be as it is, while others try and Photoshop her (such as what occurred in Vogue) to make her appear thinner.

In an article in Rolling Stone, Adele said: “My life is full of drama and I won’t have time to worry about something as petty as what I look like,” “I don’t like going to the gym. I like eating fine foods and drinking nice wine. Even if I had a really good figure, I don’t think I’d get my tits and ass out for no one,” and “But that’s not what my music is about. I don’t make music for eyes. I make music for ears.”

Now, there is a lot of meaning in these sentences. While they are very simple statements, I believe that they echo the plight of many people in America who struggle with their weight, myself included. Adele seems to be at peace with her appearance, which I commend her for, yet there are so many people in America who cite having stressful lives, disdain for the gym, and a penchant for high-calorie food and drink as reasons why they cannot lose weight. This could arguably make it easier for her fans to relate to her.

It is precisely that relatability which makes me struggle with the many messages that she is sending. On one hand, I absolutely love that she is so dedicated to keeping what she does strictly about the art of the music and I love that she is unwilling to show her body just to sell her craft. I love that she is comfortable as she is. What I do not love is that it appears she is resigning herself to the idea that it is acceptable to be overtaken by vices and life “drama,” and that it is OK to allow this to manifest itself in the form of appearance.

As a public figure, Adele has the ability to influence many decisions that people make, perhaps more than she even realizes and more than the public even realizes, yet she is setting a questionable example by choosing to spurn physical activity and healthier food choices simply because she cannot see the benefits beyond appearance and simply because she does not like them. In essence, she is flat-out admitting that she does not feel like caring for her health and well-being.

In saying that she is choosing to make music for the ears and not the eyes, she is admitting to being out of touch with the sad fact that her personal choices are noted by the public, whether she wants them to be noticed or not. She is choosing to disregard the fact that part of fame in today’s society is one’s status as a role model to one’s more impressionable fans. This behavior, to me, is verging on irresponsible.

I like Adele and her music, but I would personally find it more admirable to know that she was a plus-sized celebrity making a conscious effort to lead a healthier lifestyle and choosing to be at a heavier weight—instead, I am left with mixed feelings that she is content with just giving up and enabling the weight to choose her.

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About jamiebear

  • Terrier

    No one is ok with being overweight. Those who say otherwise are lying to themselves and to everyone else.

    I don’t think anyone should be motivated to lose weight to “look better” to those around them. However, being even 1 pound overweight is extremely unhealthy in the long run. Do not kid yourselves either, Adele is at least 40-50 pounds overweight for her height.

    Another person earlier said it best, what kind of denial or such lack of compassion must someone possess to overeat as she clearly does when millions in this world are starving. She is truly a terrible person to encourage this kind of behavior.

    Oh but shes a good singer so lets just totally disregard the fact that she is human filth like good little lemmings.

  • June

    When was it declared that all people who arent skinny are fat? When was it declared that all non skinny people are unhealthy and all skinny people are healthy? Why are so many people so concerned about everyone else’s health? I work in the health system and who are the oat people in hospital? Old people, of all sizes. Oooh, old people are unhealthy shame on them! you know who else is next? men with sporting injuries! not all that healthy for you after all! Adele just looks normal to me. We are so used to seeing super skinny women in the media that when someone normal looking turns up we don’t know what to think. doesn’t anyone look at other people in the street? that’s what normal is, not movies and magazines!

  • It is pretty unreasonable to treat anybody in the media spotlight as a role model and it is usually something people with their own agendas try to tag onto people.

    That said, there is nothing healthy at all about obesity and in a world where millions of people are struggling to get enough to eat it is pretty disgusting.



  • Dr.Smooth

    I’ve noticed that on all these blogs and forums about her weight, that people are supportive of her attitude and all I can say is it’s about fuckin time the world woke up and stopped being so damn superficial and petty. I’ve personally had enough of it. There’s nothing but crap and smut on TV and the radio in the last decade as if the movie “Idiocracy” came true. You people have really good attitudes and thanx for speaking up and showing that the world isn’t filled with idiots. This made my day.

  • Dr.Smooth

    I am 5’10” 135lbs and I don’t think Adele is unhealthily overweight. She has bulk, but I think that will actually help her as she gets older. Skinny people wear out too easily. She will have better stamina overall. Skinny people get sick easier. Aside from diabetes, it seems to me that bigger framed people live on average into their 80s where as skinny people tend to develop cancer more and die in their 50s and 60s. I think she has the body of a Greek and suspect that as she hits 30 she’ll be more toned and look like Jennifer Aniston.

  • jamiebear

    I’m glad my post sparked so much discussion! All your insights are great and so welcome. Adele is an amazing, talented artist. We should all be ourselves no matter what people say. And as commenter Josh pointed out, people in society should take personal responsibility for their own choices and not rely so heavily on role models. Forcing celebrities into being “role models” is something that happens a lot, but it is unfair to both the celebrity as a human being and to ourselves.

    I hope that Adele’s voice heals soon so she can continue pursuing the craft she loves and gracing the world with her music!

  • shantel


  • Alaa

    As u said each of most famouse femal singers have their own style , I think being fat n not caring abt how u look is Adeles style , and I like it

  • Lillia

    No. just no. I think it’s okay for someone to give such incredible music to her fans and not have to dedicate her entire life to them. I don’t think she owes it to anyone to change who she is or what she thinks is right for herself; it’s up to her fans to make up their own minds, and although it’s great to have healthy role models, just think about what she’s already given them… I’d also rather have a realistic role model who shows that it’s okay not to be stick-thin than a stick-thin one with drug problems or anorexia who makes me feel terrible about myself. People just don’t look like that in real life.
    You do have an interesting perspective, but I don’t agree with it… I mean, I don’t think that ONE reasonable celebrity who doesn’t pay as much attention to her weight is going to make people want to eat more and gain weight. Maybe it’ll even counterbalance and help out all the britney spears wannabes.

  • meganmarie331

    i pray that one day i will see myself as adele can see herself..beautiful and talented and happy and confident despite what anyone says or comments or blogs.

  • Anita

    The article exposes more about the author’s insecurities. She appears to be upset that there is a women of size who does not share her issues with body image. It is safer and easier to add subtle critiques and ultimately bow to cultural pressures than to gaze internally and learn something from Adele’s point of view. Adele is a singer and damned good one. She owes nothing to anyone, not even to share her talent. To foist responsibility for other people’s dietary choices on her is irresponsible and illogical.

  • Heloise

    I don’t like your phrase “very frequent ” that whole sentence was poor. But the rest is okay. As for content I couldn’t care less about Adele and her big butt LOL.

  • Kat

    This article is immature and short sighted.

  • Josh

    I think Adele’s main point is that her weight and being in shape are not important to her. . . And that she is happier living her lifestyle as it is, despite the fact that added weight might be a result. I don’t believe she is advocating anything, just living her life according to her own desires . . . That she hasn’t fallen victim to media pressure deserves kudos.

    More importantly, people shouldn’t live their lives according to a celebrity. . . Role models are great, yet America needs to start accepting a little thing that I like to call “personal responsibility and accountability”.

  • Whilst I’m no fan of fat myself – and am currently dieting as a year ago my weight was a chunky 230lbs (now 180lbs!) – it is always annoying when anybody tries to use people in the public eye as role models.

  • No offense, but this reads like you are unfairly foisting your issues on Adele.

    “popular music really isn’t only about the music itself anymore.”

    anymore? please cite when unattractive people dominated popular music.

  • Jordan Richardson

    that it is OK to allow this to manifest itself in the form of appearance.

    Far better to be completely shallow, yeah?

    I hate to break it to you, “jamiebear,” but we ALL have our “lifestyle choices” manifest themselves in our appearance. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a little weight.

    What you’re essentially saying is that Adele is an irresponsible role model because she’s fat. That, to me, is irresponsible, silly, petty, and ridiculous beyond belief.

  • OConnor

    You’re making a mountain out of a fucking mole hill. No one is buying Adele’s music because of how she looks, they’re buying it because it’s great. She’s also only 23 years old–let her fucking live the life of a 23 year old and enjoy it while she can–and if that means ‘fine foods and wine’ then good for her. Enjoy it.

  • emmes

    A European filmmaker has been reversing weight problems in NON diabetics with a Diabetes diet.
    It has been giving people who have a hard time losing weight a normal body weight fast
    It is now used in 10 countries. ALL weight issues are caused by Food chemicals and he shows how to reverse it
    if you are Diabetic or not

    just google SPIRIT HAPPY DIET