To celebrate breast cancer awareness month, we interviewed journalist, podcaster and ‘boob champion’ Jackie Adedeji to talk about the relationship with her boobs, how this has developed over the years and why checking your boobs regularly is so important.
Discover more about why Jackie used to feel ashamed about her boobs, how this has changed and the ‘Boob Share’ podcast that she hosts with Coppafeel to help encourage people of all ages to get to know their bodies and educate them on the importance of checking your boobs.
1. Hi Jackie, to celebrate breast cancer awareness month, we want to chat to you about all things boobs! Can you talk to us a bit about your relationship with your boobs? Have you always felt confident about them?
Absolutely not! Growing up I was like ‘what are these hideous things on my chest?’
I felt really ashamed of my body and my boobs, I was terrified at the idea of growing into a ‘woman’ and sadly I look back and it is because I felt so much shame around having a chest. A lot of people around me at the time including peers at school and some family made me feel like I need to cover up and hide because they were too ‘big’ and I was attracting the wrong attention. and so I would wear massive jumpers to hide my chest. No chest showing? No problem because you know you’re supposed to save your boobs for the ‘man’ (because of course they exist for men’s pleasure).
I had to teach myself that there was nothing wrong with me, and actually I could use these experiences to help other people feel their very breast (see what I did there..I am very proud!) My boobs have taught me a lot about who I am not and that is not people’s insecurities.
2. From your perspective, how would you say the majority of your followers feel about their boobs? Do they feel more positive or negative?
I have yet to come across ANYONE who loves their chest? In fact, do you? Does anybody? Society has an obsession with shaming people with breasts, you know, too small, too big, too asymmetrical, too sinful.
Breast shaming isn’t exclusive to us big breast folk, it’s extended to people who are non binary, women breastfeeding in public, or people with breast cancer. We have been conditioned to live a life of struggle with managing breasts and those norms attached to it. I imagine a lot of people are neutral or maybe even disengaged. Boobs are political, and not to mention we barely know about them even though they are with us every-day.
3. You host the podcast ‘Boob Share’ with breast cancer charity Coppafeel. What persuaded you to partner with the charity for this podcast and what have you learnt through working with Coppafeel?
I used to have a podcast called Jackie Big Tits where I literally get things off my chest with guests. Dating, friendships, money, you name it! But in the back of my mind I always knew I wanted to talk about de-stigmatizing the conversation around boobs, and talking about people’s boobs, including celebrities tits! Because there really is no conversation about boobs. I created and pitched the idea to Global who produce the podcast and they were in!
I had done a video talking about my chest that was watched by hundreds of thousands of people, and so Coppafeel messaged me on Instagram about seeing how I could collaborate with them on their socials. I ended up building a fantastic relationship with Harri, their Marketing Manager, as we spoke on zoom about our tits for a whole hour (maybe even more). As soon as we got off the call I messaged Harri and said ‘’Have you guys ever thought about doing a podcast?’’ And so Boobshare was born!
‘It takes seconds, and can save your life.’
4. Why is it so important for young women and men to check their boobs?
So many of us don’t know what feels normal for our breasts, and it is important that we do so that we know when something is wrong when checking your boobs.
- 1 in 7 women will be affected by breast cancer in their lifetime.
- Around 400 men are diagnosed every year.
- Around 2,300 women are diagnosed aged 39 or under.
- In females aged 25-49, breast cancer is the most common cancer, accounting for more than 4 in 10 (44%) of all cases in 2014-2016.
Numbers don’t lie, and checking can save your life.
5. When did you first begin checking your boobs and do you check them regularly?
I started about 18 months ago, lockdown was definitely a moment for me to connect and engage with my body again. It seemed as if me and the whole of the UK were beginning to give our bodies some TLC, and so checking became part of my wellness routine. I do it in the shower and it’s so easy, I even did a video for Coppafeel last year, showing how easy it is to do. It takes seconds, and can save your life. I wouldn’t say my way of checking my breasts is the way that everyone else should check theirs, because mine are a different to size to yours and to anyone else, so it’s just about doing it in a way that is comfortable for you!
6. How often should women and men check their boobs and where can people find out more about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer?
I know just the place! Check out the coppafeel website here for expert tips and advice on the signs, symptoms and how to check your breasts for cancer.
7. With what you know now, what would you tell your younger self about breasts and body confidence?
Don’t sweat your tits off, you are so much more. Everyone is projecting, it’s not you it’s them. The shame I felt was incredible, and I became the person who people would describe as ‘the one with the big tits’’ and I am but that’s not the most exciting thing about me!
Also it’s not our fault, women are not empowered to talk about our bodies in a positive way, and when I was growing up if you didn’t look like Kate Moss or fit into Trinny and Susannah’s body bible you weren’t seen as desirable, but look at how the conversation is changing! Women are owning who they are regardless of their race, size or sexuality and I absolutely love to see it. Also, I still think my boobs are the most boring part about me…I tell good jokes I promise.
8. What advice would you give to young people about feeling confident about their boobs?
I would say first of all distinguish how you feel about them. Neutral? disengaged? Positive? Where does it come from if it’s not necessarily positive, and what steps you can you take to become engaged and confident, this could be reading fun facts about boobs, getting yourself a bomb ass bra, maybe showing some cleavage, maybe wearing a tight bodycon dress.
Sometimes when my friends and I all have a bit of boob showing when we go out I feel even more confident (there is strength in numbers). Remember, confidence is something you cannot buy at Tesco and you need to develop it one step at a time, and do it for YOU not for anybody else. We have been taught boobs are for the pleasure of men, and they’re sexual objects. We are all unlearning, even me, I am still on my own journey but I am in control, and so are you! If you become semi-boob confident then you’re steps away from checking your boobs which can save your life. So, like I said, don’t do this for me or for anyone else, do it for you.
To listen to the Boob Share Podcast, click here.
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