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Jameela Jamil just nailed the real problem with society’s attitude towards ageing

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Lauren Geall
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Jameela Jamil tackles society's attitude towards ageing

Jameela Jamil took to Twitter to tackle the idea that ageing should always be seen as something negative, prompting her followers to show “more respect” to the people who have to fight for their lives, and therefore the right to age in the first place.

Jameela Jamil has spoken out about some pretty important subjects during her time in the spotlight. Besides tackling the toxic diet industry and speaking out about the need for better representation and diversity in Hollywood, the actor has used her personal experiences to raise awareness of some underrepresented issues, including her rare EDS diagnosis and her choice to have an abortion when she was younger.

And now, the actor and radio presenter has taken the conversation about her personal life one step further – for a very important reason.

Taking to Twitter this morning (7 October), Jamil revealed how her health struggles had shaped the way she thinks about ageing – and why society needs to change it’s attitudes towards people growing older.

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“I would just like to say, that as someone who has been chronically ill my whole life, and had cancer twice, I find it EXTREMELY offensive that there is a cultural taboo around ageing,” Jamil wrote. “Those of us who fight for our lives and those who lost that fight young deserve more respect.

“It is a sickness of our society to look at ageing as anything other than an achievement/privilege,” she concluded.

In response to the tweet, many of Jamil’s followers shared how their attitudes to ageing had been shaped by the experiences in their lives – and celebrated the signs of ageing as “signs of a life well lived”.

“I have a co-worker who is incredibly concerned (way more than I’ll ever be) about how my resting face isn’t neutral and I have a line across my forehead,” one response read. “As someone who lost both parents before they hit 65, my biggest concern with ageing is not doing so.”

“‘Haha you’re still alive’ – what people are actually saying when they make fun of ageing,” read another. 

“I actually got really happy when I found my first grey hairs,” added a third. “I like my crow’s feet and smile lines. They are all signs of a life well lived and a person with some stories. Grateful for you and your presence in this world.”

In an earlier tweet, Jamil responded to a now deleted comment by adding that she thinks “ageing is cool” and doesn’t care if her followers think she’s 78.

“I hope I’m lucky enough to be able to do that,” she added, in reference to reaching her 70s. “Not everyone gets the luxury of getting older. And I think it’s a scared thing that I cherish every day. My lines are my souvenirs.”

Jameela Jamil on ageing
Jameela Jamil: “Not everyone gets the luxury of getting older. And I think it’s a scared thing that I cherish every day. My lines are my souvenirs.”

Jamil isn’t the first celebrity to tackle society’s longstanding attitude that ageing equals bad. Last year, Pink reminded us that ageing is a “blessing” – and that we should see the number of years we’ve lived as achievements rather than something to be ashamed of.

“There are a few people left in the world that choose to age naturally,” she wrote, in response to a tweet which criticised the singer for looking “so old”. “I’ve earned every fucking minute of my 38 years.

“I am of the mindset that it’s a blessing to grow old.”

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She continued: “That if your face has lines around your eyes and mouth it means you’ve laughed a lot. I pray I look older in 10 years, cause that will mean I’m alive.”

So next time you look in the mirror and worry about any fine lines or wrinkles, sit back and take some time to think about how many cool things your body has done for you. Those “signs of ageing” we’re taught to fear and minimise are nothing more than mini trophies for reaching another year on this earth– and that’s pretty amazing. 

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Lauren Geall

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