I thought that when you lost weight and became skinny, it meant that people would stop talking negatively about your body. But according to the New York Post, once a fatty, always a fatty. At least that’s how they made it seem with their recent fucked-up headline about Adele’s private concert.

In an article that was mostly unrelated to Adele’s weight loss, the New York Post opted to go with cheap ploys and clickbait rather than respect for one of the world’s greatest singers. The headline could have read ‘Adele makes triumphant comeback’ or ‘Adele wows star-studded audience in Schiaparelli dress’, but instead the New York Post chose to run with a disgusting display of fatphobia.

In the age of clickbait and knowing that body-shaming sells, writer Chuck Arnold decided to roll with the headline: ‘Adele’s Oprah concert proves she didn’t lose her voice with those pounds’.

Uh… what editor approved that headline? We may never know, but I would place my money on them being a man.

Seeing this headline prompted a visceral reaction right through my core. The worst part? I wasn’t even surprised. These clickbait headlines get good traction and the majority of society seems to have both an unnatural obsession with women’s bodies and a deep-rooted hatred of fat people.

You can see society’s detestation of fat people in the negative talk about baby weight, in before and after photos, and in any article about a celebrity who has had a radical body transformation.

You can see it in the absence of fat character arcs in movies and TV shows that don’t include a dramatic makeover or the ‘funny fat friend’ trope.

We saw it with Rebel Wilson, we saw it with Kelly Osbourne, and now we are seeing it with Adele.

When Adele re-emerged last year with a more trimmed down figure, the world collectively lost its mind.

Most of society acted as though Adele had won some kind of award, as if her body now matched her talent which meant that she was suddenly a celebrity worth celebrating.

Photos of Adele’s body were plastered across news outlets and social media platforms while people rejoiced because now they could love Adele without the shame that comes with stanning a fat chick.

The other side of the camp were the body positive community / fellow fats. A lot of people (myself included) felt betrayed by Adele. To us, she was a shining beacon of hope, living proof that you could be fat and famous.  Successful in a world that constantly told us otherwise.

Adele was the body positive representation we needed in our lives and her weight loss triggered many of us — our gut reaction was disappointment.

However, the body positive community came to realise that it’s not Adele’s job to validate how we feel about our bodies. She never promised us a life of fat positivity.

But still, society has continued to comment on her body and fat bodies in general.

The thing is, in the conversation about Adele’s body, one voice has been missing this whole time: Adele’s. The media spent months talking about her, writers hypothesised about eating disorders, magazines claimed to know the secret to Adele’s weight loss, and pictures of Adele were splashed all over the internet whenever she left the house. Why? Not because she’d released new music or had done something remarkable, it was because she was existing in a body that society now deemed “acceptable”.

But Adele never spoke up. While the world was wondering where the excess skin went and how her breasts were still so perky, Adele was dealing with the breakdown of her marriage, trying to raise her son and writing a new album.

Society didn’t see a woman trying to keep it together, or maybe a woman that was losing weight because she might be stressed or ill, they saw a success story. Finally, society had her figured out because she looked the way a celebrity is “supposed to look”.

I feel for Adele, and all fat celebrities, because (as Adele pointed out in her Oprah interview) her “body has been objectified her entire career”.

She was torn to pieces on the red carpet for being “too big” and put on worst-dressed lists because clothes didn’t look how fashion writers thought clothes should look on the red carpet.

Adele and Oprah during their soon-to-be televised interview. Credit: Supplied

It seems like there can never be an article published about Adele that does not mention her weight, and it’s a damn shame. It’s 2021 and we are still critiquing women’s bodies, we are still trying to shrink ourselves to fit unrealistic expectations and fat people are still mistreated and misrepresented in the media and in real life.

The New York Post did get one thing right within their article: Adele is one of the greatest singers to have ever walked this earth. In the same league as Barbara Streisand and Whitney Houston, Adele is part of the zeitgeist. The irony is that while both of these women are iconic and changed the game for women of colour and Jewish women around the world, they too were shamed because of their weight.

It’s been happening for too long. So when will the fat-shaming end?

Lacey-Jade Christie (she/her) is a body positivity activist, plus size fashion influencer, freelance writer and professional opinion haver whose goal in life is to inspire people to love the skin they’re in through the power of storytelling and education. Go check out her Insta @laceyjadechristie.