Rising to recognition in the public eye with her role in Netflix comedy series 'The Good Place', Jameela Jamil is a British actress, model, and TV presenter who is now best known for her feisty online activism. The self-labelled "feminist-in-progress" speaks out both on Twitter and Instagram about issues ranging from the negative impacts of social media to toxic masculinity, but is famous for her activism surrounding body positivity. And this woman will change your life.
Jamil's positivity and activism sparked the formation of an unstoppable empire of self love in March last year when she shared a post on her Instagram. What began as a personal response to a photo posted of the Kardashians, which labelled each by their weight, exploded into an online activist movement, fighting against the narrative which values a woman's weight and appearance above everything else. "Whatever you might think about the Kardashians [...] these are six women who have built an empire," Jamil said in an interview with Channel 4. "It is so insane that in 2018 we are still writing down their weight across every woman's body."
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This post of mine started a mad wave of amazing women posting their own back to me in our revolution against shame and self hatred over our looks, perpetuated by the media. I have received thousands and they are too beautiful to not celebrate. I have started an account called @i_weigh to post them all. SEND ME YOURS to that account! I'm fucking tired of seeing women just ignore what's amazing about them and their lives and their achievements, just because they don't have a bloody thigh gap. The link is in my bio but please follow the account so we can start this revolution properly and make the fashion and media industry see how many of us are DONE with this shit. ??
If you are tired of the fad diets and skinny teas which seem to saturate the virtual airs of Instagram then it is worth giving @iweigh a follow for a little daily motivation which might just restore your faith in humanity.
Jamil has openly spoken about her own struggles with body dysmorphia and eating disorders, which she puts down the bombardment of images and conversations about women's appearance and the "constant conditioning to see how attractive women had to be". In the same Channel 4 interview, she admitted: "I had an eating disorder, I didn't eat a meal between the ages of 14 and 17 [...] I was starving myself to fit into an ideal".
Jamil's teen years were during the pre-internet era of the 90s, and while the narrative surrounding a woman's appearance was similarly potent then, nowadays, with the introduction of social media we are experiencing a relentless onslaught of this toxic narrative more than ever before. Eating disorders, the most deadly mental health problem, are at an all-time high, and poisonous online advertising culture, which feeds into (and profits off) young girls' insecurities, is only making the issue worse.
Since sharing her own story, the 32 year old activist has used her platform to support women with similar struggles; one of the most dangerous aspects of visual media like Instagram, (which have been sited as one of the main causes of the development of poor body image) is the culture of "detox" dieting. Jamil's most recent campaign fights against these infamous "diet teas", which are often endorsed by celebrities such as the Kardashians and other online influencers. This type of so-called "detox" has been slandered by medical experts for years; not only is it an ineffective way of losing body fat, the diarrhetic chemicals used cause diarrhoea and dehydration and do not provide your body with the nutrients needed to function correctly. They have also been slated for promoting binge eating and bulimic narratives, implying that overeating can be resolved by days of a detox-purge.
If celebs and influencers were actually honest with us about some of these diet/detox products... pic.twitter.com/OQsJobGOQN? Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) 28 de noviembre de 2018
Jameela Jamil posted this video to her Twitter account, mocking celebrities who endorse these damaging products, and started an online petition to have them banned by social media companies. On the Change.org page she wrote, "Powder [sold] over the internet can't make you look like a celebrity who has a personal trainer, a chef, a surgeon and who uses photoshop. This is false and irresponsible advertising and it is part of a pervasive and disturbing rhetoric that preys upon eating disordered behaviour [...] that relies upon a naive and vulnerable customer".
You can add your own signature to the petition by clicking here.
Nobody is Perfect
Jamil has been called out in the past for old blog posts and comments regarding female celebrities, including Beyonce and Miley Cyrus, in which she shamed them for sexualising themselves in music videos. She has since apologised for these comments and is now quick to admit whenever she is in the wrong (yet another reason why we could all learn a thing or two from Jamil).
It is never too late to check yourself and right your wrongs. I used to be slut shamey, judgmental, and my feminism wasn't intersectional enough. Nobody is born perfectly "woke". Listen, read, learn, grow, change and make room for everyone. We aren't free til ALL of us are free.? Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) 15 de diciembre de 2018
One thing we can count on for sure is that Jameela Jamil is not going anywhere and will continue to use her platform online and in the media to promote compassion and self love (whether you like it or not). So do yourself a favour and unfollow that celebrity that tries to sell you prettily-packaged laxatives, or that model who's figure is not achievable by any natural means, and fill your feed with Jameela Jamils to start your day off on the right foot.