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Jameela Jamil spoke brilliantly about how destructive social media can be for body image

Once again, she’s spot on.

FOR YEARS NOW, actress and presenter Jameela Jamil has been giving some amazing talks on body confidence

The 32-year-old actress is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in. Jamil did not hold back when she discovered that Kim Kardashian and Times Square were both advertising appetite suppressants and she even shut down Bono’s daughter Eve for defending Emile Hirsch after he choked a movie executive until she blacked out

More recently, Jameela appeared on the Channel 4 News Podcast ‘Ways to Change the World‘ to discuss her ‘I Weigh’ campaign, in which she encourages regular women to share the value they have outside of their appearance. 

In the podcast, Jameela opened up about her struggles with anorexia.

She told Channel 4 reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy that she went three years without eating a meal when she was teenager. 

I didn’t menstruate for three years because I was starving myself to fit into an ideal. 

The Good Place actress went on to say that she had so many talents as a teenager, that she just did not see as important as appearing thin.

I was a smart kid, I was a scholarship child, I also had a music scholarship, I had all these different talents and gifts – none of which I thought were important, none of which I remotely cared about, because I still felt like I would never be good enough unless I weighed six and a half stone. 

Jamil continued by saying that years later, she understood that “a narrative that had no alternative” was the main cause of her eating disorder. 

There were never any women who were celebrated for their intellect, they’re not given any attention in the press. I wasn’t reading about wonderful astronauts or scientists, or great musicians. I was just seeing highly sexualised popstars who were very, very skinny on my TV or I was seeing skeletal actresses whose weight was obsessively spoken about. All of my magazines were selling weight-loss products, or telling me to be thin, otherwise I wasn’t worth anything. 

It was only after Jameela broke her back after she was hit by a car that her relationship with her body changed. The actress said that this incident probably saved her life, and that she would probably still suffer with anorexia today if it had not happened. 

It forced me to change my relationship with my body and I also gained a lot of weight and I learned how to appreciate this body that I realised by then that I had taken hugely for granted and I had been actively hurting for so long. 

If the video won’t play, click here.

Jameela spoke of the increasing pressure on young people today. 

Whereas it was just magazines and television and celebrities who were damaging her body confidence in the late 90s and early 00s, today the “playing field is leveled” with the likes of Instagram. 

The toxicity has grown and spread further and it’s kind of come right into our periphery. Also, back then it was just celebrities who had that kind of pressure to look a certain way, but because of social media, it’s evened the playing field, and now it’s everyone. 
Everyone’s got access to airbrushing. Airbrushing – which I think is one of the foulest things to have happened to women in the last couple of decades.  

Jameela then went on to speak about the damage that airbrushing has done to her, particularly in terms of skin whitening. 

The actress said that it “hurts her from a cultural point of view” when she sees that her nose has been changed to make it look more Caucasian, or when her skin has been lightened to make her look “more acceptable to a Caucasian audience”. 

It hurts my feelings. Airbrushing and changing my ethnicity is bad for my mental health, not just the mental health of the girls who are looking at it. It makes me dislike what I’m seeing in the mirror. 

You can listen to the podcast in its entirety here

If you would like to speak confidentially about your concern that you or a friend could be struggling with an eating disorder, the contact number for the eating disorder helpline run by Bodywhys is 1890-200-444. 

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About the author:

Kelly Earley

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