You may know her better as Tahani on The Good Place, but British TV star Jameela Jamil is making quite the name for herself as an advocate of body positivity and female empowerment. And she’s not slowing down anytime soon.
After a recent photoshoot for Virgin Atlantic’s in-flight magazine, she took to social media to share her one demand: that they not Photoshop the shots. The mag was more than happy to oblige.
Did a fun cover shoot with @virginatlantic for their magazine and we talked all things @i_weigh @nbcthegoodplace and my general bumble and stumble into acting. They also agreed to not airbrush me in any way, which I really appreciated as I find photoshop to be one of the worst things to happen to women. ❤
Sharing the (let’s be honest, pretty stunning) results, she happily pointed out her “squishy” legs and “normal 32 year old knees,” and let us know her unequivocal feelings about Photoshop, ie. that it’s “one of the worst things to happen to women.” Strong words, for sure, but it wouldn’t be the first time she’s spoken out fiercely against body shaming.
Earlier this year she launched “I Weigh”, an Instagram account to help “fight the endless shaming in our society,” encouraging women to share their achievements, choices, and goals as their figurative ‘weight.’ It showed us all something we rarely see validated in pop culture — that true worth and value comes from anything but a number. The movement was borne from the actress’s indignation upon spotting a photo of the Kardashians, each numbered with their weight in kilos. Needless to say, Jamil was pretty outraged, and we’re all the better for it.
Speaking more broadly on the topic of body image, she articulated a pretty stark reality in Glamour following the account’s launch. “Our culture is obsessed with women’s appearances, and it’s holding us back as a gender,” and given that the “I Weigh” account has over 40,000 followers and almost 1,000 posts, it’s safe to say many agree with her.
She’s even calling for a ban on airbrushing altogether, writing in her personal blog that, “to alter a face and body, to sell a lie to women, which will more often than not hurt the way in which they see themselves…is a crime against an entire gender.” It sounds pretty radical when put like that, but it’s hard to disagree, especially when men are hardly subject to anywhere near the same punishing standards.
And she wasn’t afraid to be challenged, either. When a few Twitter users noted that even without airbrushing, she may already represent an aspirational body type — with others humorously wondering what “squish” she was referring to — Jamil brought the debate back down to the earth, noting that only once untouched body images are the status quo, can we start to redefine “normal” and begin to undo the shaming effects of airbrushing.
Faces and bodies again? If we see some bumps on skin and some cellulite and wrinkles and extra curves regularly in magazines then we will stop making women hate themselves so much they feel the need to use an app to pretend they look like this designed doll like archetype. X
— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) June 2, 2018
On the other side of the coin, we don’t see beauty ideals changing any time soon — so should women, who might never come as close to meeting the definition of ideal beauty as Jameela does, feel bad at wanting to be ‘shopped? It’s a fine line — and while we applaud Jamil’s message, it would be remiss not to recognize that it comes from a place of privilege. All-in-all though, we do think her message is necessary and we hope Jamil continues her fight against unrealistic beauty standards set for women in an industry that has such a toxic view on perfection, weight and aging.