Our latest girl crush - Jameela Jamil - calling out body shaming, the patriarchy and making us laugh at the same time. ✊
We're not shy of sharing a girl crush here on the HARA blog, be it Emma Watson or Jacinda Arden - today it's all about Jameela Jamil. British-born teacher-come-music presenter, DJ, writer and now actress in US sitcom The Good Place, Jameela is not scared of speaking out on issues she cares about.
Here's four reasons why we <3 Jameela Jamil
1. She's body positive and vocal
Reacting to a viral photo of the Kardashians with their weights labelled on each of them - Jamella's reaction caught the attention of instagram and the #IWeigh campaign was born - where women are celebrating their worth. Celebrating our 'non-physical attributes, that rarely gets featured in the hyper-visual world of social media.
She responded on her website with: “Women of every size and shape and age and background sent me their declarations of self-love and clapped back at the shame they have been drenched in their whole lives,” she added, applauding women for rejecting the body ideals that many of us are taught to prioritise through the ongoing “epidemic of self-hatred”.
On the official @i_weigh account there are more than 1700 posts with over 130 000 followers.
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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. ❤️
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Rather than thinking about eating less, I encourage you women to do more, to learn more, to be more, to make more money, to have more fun and to treat yourself. It’s Sunday. Take a much needed break from the CONSTANT poison of our culture telling us that having a flat tummy and zero fat is what defines us. What are you going to remember on your death bed? It’s not going to be your figure. Go make some motherfucking memories. Like all the brilliant people at @i_weigh #fuckoffflattummyco
2. She refuses to be airbrushed
Jameela posted on her Instagram, "I find photoshop to be one of the worst things to happen to women" after asking Virgin magazine Vera not to airbrush her cover image.
She continues to explain her reasoning on her blog, airbrushing is "false imagery being used to subliminally manipulate us into a feeling of (needless) disappointment in ourselves. "
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I was so thrilled to be asked to shoot the cover of Virgin Magazine, and even more thrilled to hear they were keen to honor my request for no airbrushing of my face or body. This means a lot and is a desperately important stance to take in honor of the 10’s of millions of women (at least) who struggle so much with their self image, due to decades of impossibly demanding body standards being inflicted upon us, and false imagery being used to subliminally manipulate us into a feeling of (needless) disappointment in ourselves. It’s something I’ve been asking for since my career began 10 years ago. I only sometimes get my way, but I will never stop campaigning for it for these three reasons: 1 It is done in the name of “fantasy.” What message does it send to women (and men) everywhere, that a “fantasy” female is normally only ever one who is impossibly long, and thin, with flawless (and normally lightened) skin, with a thin face, a small nose, large lips, big eyes, and no wrinkles ever, at any age. Why can’t the fantasy ever have some back fat? Or be in a wheelchair? Why can it never be unsymmetrical? Why can it never show the dignified and important lines of a life lived and survived? What is that one, constant, “flawless,” doll like fantasy telling all normal women everywhere? That we are not to be fantasized about? We are excluded from the desirable group? We are the rejected? We didn’t make the cut? 2) The dishonesty of it. There is no mention of alteration, so we are left with the manipulative subliminal messaging that someone else achieved the forever pre pubescent “fantasy” but we can’t. We have failed. Her breasts have been plumped, her legs lengthened, her skin smoothed. But all in secret. It’s so dangerous to put these images into the world of women who themselves often do not even meet the requirements, without the help of a computer, and say nothing of it. There should either be a detailed declaration in small print of the features altered, or we should see the original image and celebrate the humanity and reality of the subject and her photographer. Who frankly, may as well not bloody be there if a computer is doing all the work. Where is the digni
3. She's taking on the complex issue of sexual consent
How do we navigate the world of consent? Jamil argues, "it's something we're all expected to be well versed on but actually it's a topic we know very little about. Rarely does it pop up in adolescent sex education or even in later life."
On her blog post earlier in the year, she explains why consent needs to be talked about, "how vital it is to read the room and make sure the other person is not just willing, but damn well enthusiastic."
In Jamil's candid, no-holds-style she adds, "if that person is the one to be penetrated. You want to enter them. You best ensure you are a welcome guest, not someone who just begged, pressured, guilt-tripped or harassed their way inside.
"Our society has mislead men. We have allowed pornography to continuously promote that narrative that a woman is a hole for a man to enjoy when and how he feels like it."
Listen to episode 1 on BBC Radio 4 here.
4. She's breathing fresh life into the feminist movement
In Krishnan Guru Murthy's podcast, How To Change The World, Jamil is very open, she "will not be a double agent for the patriarchy" citing celebrities who are endorsing 'toxic products' like appetite suppressing lollipops. "You are recycling [self] hatred and I find that really dangerous."
She calls for constructive criticism amongst women, "as long as we do it in a somewhat careful way.". From the 60 min interview many of the clips that spread furthest were those centred around the Kardashians - and in a follow up video - Jamil reminds us that the media play a huge role in keeping the patriarchal narrative alive and pitching women against each other.
“It’s not in the patriarchy’s interest for us to be multifaceted. They want us to worry about how we look, because it slows us down and we’re then less likely to overtake them," she adds in an earlier interview for The Guardian.
Watch the full 60 min interview: