Jameela Jamil: iWeigh and the revolution against shame

Kasey Leigh McCrudden

Modelling, acting, writing, presenting; all just a few of the realms in which Jameela Jamil has prospered in over the course of her career. 

Recently, however, the thirty-four-year-old’s attention is seemingly focused on breaking down patriarchal standards.

“Our culture is obsessed with women’s appearances, and it’s holding us back as a gender,” she told Glamour magazine. “The revolution against shame is in our hands.”

Amidst the distorted, rose-coloured world of social media, Jamil is a refreshing beacon of light blazing through all of the toxic beauty standards and damaging filters of the web. 

Fuelled by her own experience as a teenager with an eating disorder, the former presenter is now openly critical of so-called weight loss products, condemning celebrities who undertake sponsorship deals with such brands.

Her approach is one of “body-neutrality,” a phrase which here means accepting one’s body for what it is without necessarily celebrating nor disparaging it.

She candidly discusses the issue of diet pills and other “fat-burning” products with guest Demi Lovato on an episode of her podcast iWeigh:

“They’re just laxatives… I was taking every shortcut, ordering all kinds of powders and crap, which is why I’m such a maniac when I see anyone pushing anything now,” Jamil admits.

After much campaigning on Jamil’s part, in September of 2019 Instagram made a significant change to its policies, banning weight-loss content for all users under eighteen years of age. 

This included any posts that involve dieting, detoxing, losing weight or cosmetic surgery.

This change in policy is a huge step forward; it’s a hopeful reflection of what future safeguards could be made to online platforms in order to ensure protection for their users from harmful ideologies and misleading advertising.

The Good Place star inadvertently started the iWeigh movement back in 2018 when she expressed her outrage at a viral image of the Kardashian sisters that included a list of their respective weights.

iWeigh is all about weighing yourself in achievements and experiences, not “effing KGs” as Jamil put on her Instagram story.

The podcast was launched back in April of this year and follows Jameela as she chats with a variety of high-profile guests about their lives and what they ultimately “weigh.”

The show focuses on topics like loneliness, addiction, body image, sexuality and self-acceptance. 

Jamil places much emphasis on the fact that her personal growth is always ongoing, she avoids coming off as preachy or condescending in tone and instead allows herself to be quite vulnerable with her guests.

 It is perhaps this authenticity that has landed the podcast a nomination for a People’s Choice Award in the category Pop Podcast of 2020.

As she endeavours to redefine how modern women view themselves and increase education around the pitfalls of the patriarchal beauty standards perpetuated by the media, perhaps Jameela Jamil is the unflinching activist society needs right now.

 Kasey Leigh McCrudden

Image Credit: WikimediaCommons