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Jameela Jamil is using love to fight back the media’s toxicity

She won't be a double agent for the patriarchy, and she's calling out every celebrity who is.

The human race has reached the year 2019, so why haven’t we broken out of ‘the perfect image’ false ideal, and embraced our kick-ass, one of a kind selves for all that we are?

The body positive activist Jameela Jamil whom you may also know as Tahani from The Good Place has led an iron movement to stop the toxic culture of your exterior self determining your self-worth. And it seems that each of her battles comes back to one thing – the media.

Last year, Jamil came across a group shot of the Kardashians, and was shocked to see their weights labeled on each of them. She took to her Instagram story to say: “This is how women are taught to value themselves. In kilograms. Grim.”

She followed up by posting a mirror selfie where she listed all the things that she weighed herself by, including her relationship, her career, her activism – parts that she felt determined who she was, rather than kilograms or pounds.

Jameela Jamil's Instagram story
Various posts where Jameela calls out the weigh shaming culture.

This was the ignition of the now 369,000 strong ‘iWeigh’ movement, an Instagram account which now has a community newsletter you can sign up for here where individuals can send in all the things they weigh themselves by, whether it be their families, their hobbies, or even just a passion.

Having scrolled down it, I can honestly say it is this safe and raw space where people are able to let go of the labels society tags on them in relation to how much they weigh and they are given a chance to speak up and say for themselves what they measure themselves by. For once, who they are is not determined by a number, rather their own selves.

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Following Jamil’s very active response to end this toxicity, her latest campaign after calling out celebrities for promoting weight loss teas, is the Change.org petition she launched that urges social media platforms to stop celebrities from promoting diet products.

With this overview of Jamil’s campaign to end diet culture, it becomes easier to see who her real enemy is. The media, and the celebrities that inadvertedly act as double agents for the patriarchy.

Before moving to Los Angeles, Jamil worked as a radio host for the BBC, and gave a speech about her experience with body shaming at the Body Confidence Awards in London in 2014: “By some miracle, it came out that I had managed to gain 200,000 listeners on my show […] but the papers […] ran a wonderful piece about the fact that I had gained […] two dress sizes. I realized in that moment with crystal clarity that my entire worth as a broadcaster, but more importantly as a woman, was being measured just with a weighing scale and it was so incredibly frustrating.”

 

Jameela’s fight is for everyone to realize how much the media has influenced our outlook toward body positivity. This has all culminated to her declaring airbrushing pictures as a crime against women: “I think it’s a disgusting tool that has been weaponized, predominantly against women, and is responsible for so many more problems than we realize because we are blinded by the media, our culture and our society,” she wrote in a piece for BBC.

The activist and actress is not afraid to speak out against many of her colleagues in the entertainment industry for promoting weight loss drinks to vulnerable audiences who fall into a trap of wanting to achieve results like these celebrities.

The media, however, has made an unscrupulous attempt in avoiding to address the real message Jamil is trying to embolden. Instead, they have focused on targeting her for comments she made towards the Kardashians for promoting weight loss products, pitting her against the K-sisters. They actively ignore the crux of what Jameela is advocating, and are instead giving more significance to some drama between celebrities.

If the media’s response to such a necessary, and empowering message is twisting the story to protect their own reputations, can we really give them the benefit of the doubt and trust them to be a positive influence in our lives? Or can we take control of our own media to be that positive influence that we need, like Jameela is doing with iWeigh?