Jameela Jamil is making an honest place out of Hollywood, one Kardashian at a time
'The Good Place' star Jameela Jamil has proved time and again that she is willing to call out powerful and influential people in Hollywood when it comes to body-positivity, eating disorders, and mental health issues
In a world of glitz and glamour, where celebrities try to bag as many coveted endorsements as possible, there one social justice warrior who would rather focus on reminding the general public that they are amazing the way they are and that is Jameela Jamil. The actress, model, and activist who first caught our attention as Tahani Al-Jamil from NBC's 'The Good Place', is one of the most outspoken celebrities when it comes to body-positivity, eating disorders, and mental health issues, among other things.
Jamil has spoken at length about her own childhood and how the women represented in media did not make her feel normal, especially as a teenager who was "bookish and shy." In an interview with Channel 4 News in 2018, she said, "I was bombarded with a narrative that had no alternative. There were never any women who were celebrated for their intellect... and all of my magazines were selling me weight loss products or telling me to be thin. Otherwise, I wasn't worth anything." Owing to this dominating narrative, possibly, Jamila suffered from anorexia nervosa as a teenager, and reportedly never ate a full meal between the ages of 14 and 17.
As heartbreaking as it is to think of a young girl putting herself through intense mental and physical torture to succumb to the unrealistic body standards prescribed by mainstream media and reinstated by celebrities, developing eating disorders at a very young age is all too common among women. Jamil recognized this and decided to use her own life experiences as the foundation for her fight against companies that promote unrealistic body and beauty standards, along with calling out celebrities who know better than to endorse those products.
Unlike many who don't always walk the talk, Jamil has proved time and again that she is willing to call out some of the most powerful and influential people in Hollywood, especially the Kardashian sisters. Recently, Khloe Kardashian posted a mirror selfie of herself with her shapely and toned abs along with a bottle of weight-loss shake. Jamil was quick to put her on blast. She commented on the picture, “If you’re too irresponsible to: a) own up to the fact that you have a personal trainer, nutritionist, probable chef, and a surgeon to achieve your aesthetic, rather than this laxative product… And b) tell them the side effects of this NON-FDA approved product, that most doctors are saying aren’t healthy… Then I guess I have to."
She is also sensitive to the fact that Khloe herself was bullied by the media for not looking like her sisters. "It's incredibly awful that this industry bullied you until you became this fixated on your appearance," she wrote. "But now please don’t put that back into the world and hurt other girls the way you have been hurt. You’re a smart woman. Be smarter than this."
Most of us will remember how Khloe was constantly told she was not pretty enough to be a Kardashian until she sculpted a "revenge body" for herself. And now, her infant daughter is being put through the same torture as she was. It is unfortunate that the Kardashian is unable to see how the beauty industry is not only killing the spirit of the many young women who look up to her but could also potentially do the same to her daughter.
Thankfully, though, Jamil's post seems to have had some form of impact on the Kardashian because she soon deleted the post. Jamil is certainly seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. As for the rest of us, we are rooting for 'The Good Place' actress to make an honest industry out of Hollywood. "Oh look. Khloé deleted her diet shake post," Jamila wrote along with a screenshot of Khloe's profile. "There is hope after all..."
S. Byrn Austin, a professor at Harvard's School of Public Health, wrote in an article commending Jamil's great work, "Years of accumulating research, my own and that of hundreds of other scientists, has shown beyond any semblance of a scientific doubt that detox teas and the larger market of dietary supplements sold for weight loss are deceptive snake oil. Actually, that’s at their best. At their worst, they are dangerous and sometimes life-ending toxic brews that exploit the insecurities of vulnerable consumers, especially teenage girls, who bear the brunt of the most intense body shaming pressures in our weight-obsessed culture."
Whether Khloe deleting the post was coincidental or not, and whether the Kardashians will rethink making money by lining their pockets "with the blood and diarrhea of teenage girls," one thing is certain, Jamil's uphill battle is gaining momentum and opening the eyes of many people across the world.
Jamil has launched an Instagram account called I Weigh, which she was inspired to create after coming across photos of Kourtney, Khloé and Kim Kardashian with half-sisters Kendall and Kylie Jenner, highlighting each woman's weight. I Weigh, Jamil claims, is a "movement for us to feel valuable and see how amazing we are, and look past the flesh on our bones." The account posts non-edited or airbrushed selfies submitted by followers using the hashtag #iweigh, along with a caption describing the things that they feel grateful for or are proud of.
On the I Weigh community YouTube account, you can see her interviewing fellow-awesome celebrities who talk about their own journeys of self-love and body image issues and so on. Sam Smith and Lizzo were two of her most recent guests and they spoke about the people that tried to put them down for how they look and pushed them to a point until they decided to look at themselves lovingly and embrace themselves for who they are.
This is exactly the message that Jamil wants to send to every young person across the world — embrace yourself and don't fall for faux weight loss products and treatments. Needless to say, Jamil is the social justice warrior that Hollywood has needed for many years, and we are definitely thanking our lucky stars that she is finally here.