Body Apathy

Article I wrote for Grazia darling…

My name is Jayde. I’m a Bristolian comedian (a subjective experience), actress, singer (I sing opera without having had lessons), child dancer, ex Asda fish monger and I am currently fat – which, don’t you think, is the most uninteresting thing about me? An article about filleting fish does scream bait, but not the clicking variety.

I’ll be honest with you, I’m probably the worst person to discuss body positivity because I’m too cynical. People are way too nuanced to all agree with each other. I’ve always been suspicious of big groups of people. I was never popular at school and I watched on the side-lines. Also, we learned often in history that when big groups of people gather together with one voice, they have in the past left themselves vulnerable and have been very wrong.

On Google it says: Body positivity is a social movement rooted in the belief that all human beings should have a positive body image, while challenging the ways in which society presents and views the physical body.

First things first, I’m going to use the term fat. It’s a descriptive word and it’s the only insult I really get from people who are jealous of my impeccable fashion sense and confidence. It means their words mean less if I use them myself, it’s just descriptive. As any genuine fat person will agree, there’s a difference between feeling fat and being fat. And body positivity isn’t a new thing invented by woke celebs – it’s a movement that started in 1967. But back then it was called ‘Fat Acceptance’. In typical fat people style we now let slim athletic types get involved as well. We’re warm and jolly like that.

I have no future plans to change my image and if I did it wouldn’t be because of society. I have always been larger than most. I would say I’ve put on about three or four stone in the last four years because I did a scissor kick to PJ and Duncan’s Let’s Get Ready to Rumble at a party (I was a dancer for 13 years as a child so I used to be pretty flexible) and I did the David Beckham injury on my knee.

Jayde on Crazy Delicious with 'Food Gods' (l-r) Carla Hall, Heston Blumenthal and Niklas Ekstedt
JAYDE ON CRAZY DELICIOUS WITH ‘FOOD GODS’ (L-R) CARLA HALL, HESTON BLUMENTHAL AND NIKLAS EKSTEDT ©CHANNEL 4

Even in these last three years, I still don’t have the issues with my body that other people seem to have with theirs. For how fat I am people would assume I’m a mess of anxieties about it, I’m not and that’s because I’m an absolute legend. Jokes. It’s because I’ve luckily been surrounded by people who have had more things to worry about than themselves. A large family constantly dealing with deaths, cancer or absent fathers (not mine, he’s also a legend) has left me with a sense of perspective. I also was taught to dance by a plus size dance teacher, my auntie Julie who used to do very impressive stag jumps every week for 13 years.

I’ve no desire to promote the idea that fat people are victims because we’re not victims and were not a minority group. If anything we’re a physical majority bitches.

I’m surrounded by people talking about their appearance at the moment, whether it’s a selfie from a celebrity or someone on a soap box about how we ‘normal’ people need visibility. I see women all the time who also purport to be strong independent types but worry if they’ve put a bit of weight on, or how ugly they think they are, or if they should have lip fillers or Botox, how much they go to the gym, upset they missed the gym.

I hear this sentence a lot: ‘My perfect weight is about a (insert amount) lighter than this.’ I silently stand there and wish that they knew the secret – that no one actually gives a shit, mostly me.

I feel for women like the Kardashian clan that they’ll never reach the age when they look in a mirror and realise, what you look like doesn’t matter. The nirvana levels of relaxation when you realise that your body is no longer even being looked at. Knowing your partner isn’t with you because you’ve sculpted your ass to perfection or done painful things to maintain your youth. What will happen when they reach their 80s, no one takes pictures of them anymore, no one listens to them anymore? How will they cope when nothing about them is relevant anymore? It’s time to start getting ready for that guys. I know a 92-year-old woman who lives in a home, who can’t walk and waits for people to visit her. You think you’re impervious to that existence?

Jayde Adams

I only find myself feeling upset about my weight when my old knee injury flares up. The ideal human form is changing, like it always does throughout time and we’re entering a world where fat people are being celebrated, they are on the front covers of magazines, they are the hosts of Channel 4 TV shows, they are popstars, they are late night talk show hosts. And my question is; when your identity is no longer extraordinary, what the hell are you going to do?

Other people have always cared way more about my weight than I do about it. Uncles, boys at school (hiding the fact that we were secretly snogging), boys in Ford Fiestas driving by me with their windows down (always with different coloured door to the rest of the car), or people in the public eye who need to find an angle to make people CLICK. But I’ve never really cared about my weight.

So, there’s a new thing I’d like to promote, I came up with it, I may start an Instagram account and call it activism but here it is: Body Apathy.

I haven’t ever needed to promote body positivity because I’ve never been anything but body apathetic.

Jayde Adams

Society has become obsessed with themselves in the last 10 years because of social platforming apps that help you gain followers, success and money if you post the sort of content that appeals to the masses, and at the moment that content is normally something that follows the content provider overcome the odds to be a better a stronger person.

I’ve seen it said that fat people need to be considered a minority, but I massively disagree. If I can encourage anything in anyone ‘normal’, it’s the notion that in fact our weight does not define us. As well as us not needing to read articles that talk extensively about Adele’s weight loss, we also don’t need to follow Instagram accounts to feel better about ourselves. Let us find an apathetic self-image and remember that none of it matters because when we are old, no one gives a shit anyway. I’ve no desire to promote the idea that fat people are victims because we’re not victims and were not a minority group. If anything we’re a physical majority bitches.

I’m sorry this isn’t the quick burst of emotional positive affirmation you may have been after from a woman in the public eye. But every conversation has been had about positive body image, and guess what? We still feel rubbish.

Perhaps accepting oneself is bigger than clicking follow, share, RT or like? Perhaps it’s about someone you can’t follow on the internet. Perhaps it’s deeper than that. Perhaps we just breathe and accept we’re never going to be totally happy and perhaps being apathetic is enough. Money, success and a positive body image? Even someone as stunning as Beyoncé admits to having marriage problems in her songs.

Nothing anyone says on the internet will really solve a person’s self loathing, but here’s a line I like to say to the people who say mean things about my weight: ‘I’d rather be fat*, than basic mate.’

*Exchange this word / sentence for whatever it is they have picked on with you.

Jayde Adams is on tour with The Ballad of Kylie Jenner’s Old Face from now until 26th April, and her stand-up special Serious Black Jumper is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video. Further information and tickets can be found at ilovejaydeadams.com/

Jayde presents Crazy Delicious, Channel 4, 8pm on Tuesdays. You can catch-up on all episodes on All4.

 

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