In a world filled with Kardashians, be like Jameela Jamil. The London native wants the world to know that the days of unrealistic body standards are over. So she started the iWeigh Movement, which “is about radical inclusivity, so that no one feels alone.” Jamil uses Instagram as a platform for her activism and as a way to connect with those across the globe who may not know that they are perfect just the way they are.
Jamil has always been an influential voice. She is best known for her role as host of BBC’s Radio 1 Chart Show, where she was the first ever female host. “I know it shouldn’t be a big deal,” Jamil expressed, “but there’s also a huge lack of ethnic minorities in showbiz. I’m completely Asian — not mix…”
Inclusion has been the name of the game for Jamil ever since her radio honor. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue her DJ and radio dreams but ended up landing a role on “The Good Place,” even though she had no intention of acting when she moved. Jamil would soon go against the Los Angeles status quo, rising above the detox teas and beach-body-ready mentality.
The iWeigh Movement began with six numbers. Back in 2018, a viral picture online of the Kardashian clan — Kim, Khloe, Kourtney, Kylie, Kendall and Kris — showed the family in all black with their weight, measured in kilograms, stamped over each woman. Jamil was outraged and offended.
She then posted her own weight, a weight that did not include numbers. Jamil measured her weight by her own defined worth, which includes her friends, financial independency and even her bingo wings. From then, the iWeigh Movement exploded.
Jamil’s followers started replying with their own iWeigh statements, so she created another Instagram (@i_weigh) dedicated to her newfound movement. The movement is not limited to women; although, Jamil focuses on the media’s history of targeting women when it comes to weight and beauty.
The iWeigh Movement accounts for women, men, the disabled, the LGBTQ+ community and everything in between. The movement seeks to be a positive affirmation of the idiosyncrasy of each and every person. Since the online creation of her movement, Jamil has accumulated over seven hundred thousand followers and the number continues to grow.
Jamil’s efforts received recognition from BBC’s 100 Most Inspiring and Influential Women around the world of 2018. In a following article with BBC, Jamil shares her viewpoint on some controversial body shaming topics like airbrushing. Airbrushing is the technological advancement of removing imperfections in photography. As someone who suffered with an eating disorder, finds the practice damaging to self-esteem. “I think it’s a disgusting tool that has been weaponized, predominantly against women,” the British actress states.
Social media, and media in general, promotes an unrealistic, celebrity-like perfection, achievable only through the enhancement of tools like airbrushing and filters. This ideal is tarnishing the priorities and mentality of young women and men growing up in a world where being themselves is looked down upon.
So, back to the Kardashians for a second. Jamil’s Movement began by protecting the dignity of the Kardashians for their weight being blasted on social media. Turns out, the Kardashians have an agenda of their own when it comes to body perfection.
Jamil called out Kim and Khloe for their paid partnership with Flat Tummy Co, a line of “healthy” meal-replacing shakes. What kind of message are these women sending to young fans who look up to them? Is the only way to be healthy and happy through the replacement of dinner with a chocolate shake?
The National Eating Disorder Association denounces laxative abuse like meal replacement shakes and detoxifying teas. The website explains, “laxative abuse causes the loss of water, minerals, electrolytes, and indigestible fiber and wastes from the colon.” Weight loss through these types of products is temporary. Laxative abuse even has the ability to result in weight gain.
Jamil was born to speak. Her eloquence makes her a strong and reputable figure in the fight against unrealistic body standards today. She is not afraid to be vulnerable for the sake of those who struggle similarly. She is single-handedly giving today’s generation a practical and inspiring advocate for self-love, acceptance and appreciation.
Her interviews and talks are addicting. She discusses her struggles with body dysmorphia as a child in an interview with Charlemagne. Body Dysmorphia Disorder is the constant obsession over personal flaws or imperfections usually brought upon by comparison. Jamil discusses wanting to look like the models in magazines, leading her to anorexia by the age of 13. She said it took getting hit by a car at the age of 17 to truly knock some sense into her about her image and self-worth.
A funnier yet still informative interview with Jamil includes a podcast episode on Nicole Byer’s “Why Won’t You Date Me?” Jamil talks a little about her upbringing and her first and last booty calling experience.
“The Good Place” star has an interview series called, “I Weigh in Conversation With…” on her Instagram. These interviews are powerful. Her first episode is with British singer, Sam Smith. Smith grew up with body image issues, specifically he remembers a moment he wanted to go swimming but was terrified of taking his shirt off. Smith preaches that self-love is a practice, not a destination.
Her second episode is with the flute-playing, pop sensation Lizzo. Lizzo has become an icon for perfect confidence and body appreciation, but she is not afraid to say it like it is. Lizzo gets it. She didn’t grow up with a healthy idea of what beauty was supposed to be, and she is now a role model for not only curvaceous, African American women but for anyone who has felt they don’t fit society’s mold.
iWeigh’s latest episode is with the brilliantly outspoken Rose McGowan. Jamil and McGowan are two radicals in a pod. McGowan was one of the women taken advantage of by Harvey Winestein. She ditched Hollywood to fight on all platforms for equality on issues including sexual assault survivors, abortion laws and many other pressing and popular topics. Jamil’s interviews are easily accessible and worth everyone’s time.
Whether apparent or not, everyone is perfect the way they are. It is easy to forget when surrounded by unavoidable ads for skinny tea or Instagram models popping up in your newsfeed. The iWeigh Movement is an important movement for the way generations yesterday, today and tomorrow see, rather than look.