Okay, first thing’s first; Jameela Jamil doesn’t actually need that much introducing. With over 1M Instagram followers (@jameelajamilofficial), and a starring role on the Netflix show ‘The Good Place’, plenty of people already know who she is. That being said, she is pretty badass when it comes to speaking up about women’s issues, which is why I wanted to highlight her on this blog right from the off.
The reason I’m singing Jamil’s praises is that recently she has been extremely vocal (and taken some heat) on the issue of so-called “detox” products that various social media influencers promote on their channels/pages. Now, I don’t want to waste too much breath talking about what these products are, but needless to say Jamil sees straight through the bullshit of “lose weight fast with this tea!”, or “tone up in 24 hours with this miracle yoghurt.*”
*Probably not actually a yoghurt
Jamil calls out this absolute nonsense, not purely because it is nonsense, but also because of the harm that it can do to vulnerable and unsuspecting young people. If these people see their celebrity icons selling this stuff, they might buy into it (and buy it). Jameela points out that to get the perfect “c-leb” body it takes a lot more than a tea that’ll make you poop your guts out for 24 hours (sorry for the graphic image, but that is literally what most of these products do!) Of course you’ll lose weight if you take it – it’s like giving yourself food poisoning! To get the bod that most of these celebs have it takes a) money, and then various combinations of personal chef/trainer/dietitian etc. Oh, and also a lot of time in order to maintain it. Like most things, the unrealistic body standard being sold and the so-called “easy” way to get it is completely false.
Aside from combating fake weight-loss products and the influencers that sell them, Jamil has also put her actions-where-her-mouth is by teaming up with Aerie, a swimwear and underwear company who pride themselves on not airbrushing any of their campaigns. Now, Aerie is a subsidiary of American Eagle, who have not confirmed whether they will continue to airbrush their campaigns, but I think Aerie – their underwear and swimwear line – taking that step, is certainly a good start.
It just goes to show how used we are to seeing campaigns where photos have had the absolute shit photoshopped out of them, that seeing photos like the one above, where you can see freckles/body hair/cellulite/uneven skin, causes a double take.
Jamil also started the @i_weigh Instagram account, which showcases submissions from women and girls all over the world, talking about all their achievements and things that make them proud of who they are. So, rather than your body being brought down to a number (something which is constantly portrayed in women’s fitness information, as discussed in our article ‘Enough of the sexist fitness advice for women’), the account highlights instead all the amazing things that these women have achieved.
It’s refreshing to see a public figure being so vocal about the absurdity of airbrushing women’s bodies into the realm of fantasy, and then trying to sell that fantasy through use of questionable product placement. She’s definitely coming from a Good Place as far as I’m concerned. Of course there’s still a lot of work to be done, but it’s great to see steps being taken, as as Jamil has said: