What does ‘having a glow up’ really mean?

I’m pretty sure you’ll have seen this next photo – it’s been broadcast on social media, tv and newspapers alike over the past week so you’d be hard pushed to miss it.

Credit: @adele Instagram

This is world renowned, critically acclaimed singer Adele. At the time of writing, this was her most recent Instagram post celebrating her 32nd birthday. Adele used to look different to how she looks in this photo – she was heavier and a fan of the midi/maxi length dresses. Because she has posted this photo in a mini dress, looking much slimmer and VERY different to how the public is used to seeing her, the world has apparently lost their shit.

People have really been feeling some kinda as before now she’s skinny – discussing at length how she may have done it, how much she’s lost, what surgery she may have had done on her face and whether she’ll still be able to sing as well now she’s slimmer (spoiler alert: ‘experts’ have decided that she can, on the basis that Celine Dion is very slim and a very good singer). On the flip side of this, my social feeds have been flooded with people whom I consider very normal yet inspirational, feeling extremely disheartened with the way the media has reacted to this. It makes them feel that their bodies, that look similar to how Adele looked previously, are considered not as good and shouldn’t be accepted or celebrated.

So what do I think? To be honest, I’m not 100% sure, but all this talk has made me feel a bit weird too if I’m honest. As you may remember, I wrote a post earlier this year ‘It’s OK to want to change things about yourself without feeling like you’re hating on the world at large’ that kind of addresses both sides. I’ve been quite open about how I’ve felt unhappy in my body over the past 2-3 years, BUT I also explain why that is and what that represents to me. I think ultimately, to ‘have a glow up’ means that a person has taken charge of their own being and made positive strides to becoming the best version of themselves through their eyes. When someone is happy, this radiates or “glows” out of them in a way that makes those around them sit up and pay attention. That’s how I would define a glow up. Notice how I didn’t use any terms like “lost loads of weight”. Even though I don’t subscribe to weight loss as a pre requisite for a glow up, for some people it is a valuable part of the process. However for others it’s the opposite; because for them them having a very slim frame represents ill health and unhappiness. Both are valid points of view.

Credit: @adele Instagram

We might wonder why Adele had this sudden change in her life, how she’s done it and whether its made her happy, however I doubt we’ll ever have the answer. People usually show the best versions of themselves on Instagram so she could be made up with her progress…or she may have just been feeling cute that one day and decided to put up a pic (most of us do tend to dress it up a little on our birthday, current circumstances permitted). It’s quite telling that she’s disabled the comments since posting this pic (they were active on her last post at Christmas, and a fair few of those left were talking about her weight) I think she knows people will have opinions and questions and she probably feels kind of uncomfortable about that. She wants her legacy to be her amazing voice and brilliant music, not to become the poster child for losing a tonne of weight.

The moral of the story is – if Adele doesn’t want to spend time talking about it to everybody, whatever the reason may be, maybe we shouldn’t spend too much time talking about it either. She’s apparently happy doing her, so let’s all try and find our own happy doing ourselves. Let that be the take away from this.

Thanks for reading, J xx

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