The Good Place star’s powerful comeback has gone viral on social media, and for good reason.
Jameela Jamil is, without a doubt, one of our absolute favourite people. Not only is she a brilliant actress (her starring role as Tahani al-Jamil in Mike Schur’s The Good Place has received critical acclaim), but she is also funny, incredibly down-to-earth and a truly inspiring force of nature, too.
Better still, though, is the fact that she has made a point of using her position in the spotlight to speak out on feminist issues. Over the past few months, we have seen her call out sexist stereotypes and rally against the body-shaming expectations placed upon women by the media.
So, when she was approached by a stranger at the gym and given an unsolicited lesson on how to look better, Jamil immediately decided to film her fiery comeback and share it on social media. Since then, though, a Twitter user has advised Jamil to “get a new topic” – and, unsurprisingly, the actress was less than impressed by his remarks.
Omg can u actually stop with this gym feed now and actually try to uplift people in a different way. There are different ways to uplift you know gym embarrassment is not the only thing.. I think it's time u get a new topic hun.— dredinjeremiah (@dredinjeremiah) September 16, 2018
Jamil responded by retweeting the user’s comment into her own feed, just in case he tried to delete it.
She then tweeted: “My page is not here to entertain you. It’s for me to say whatever I feel like saying. Unfollow me and off you f**k.”
People love the tweet almost as much as they love Jamil’s original video, which saw her explain: “I was just leaving the gym and a man I did not know approached me and asked me what work-out I’d just been doing.
“I told him that I’d been cycling – because I have anxiety and that’s why I come to the gym – and he decided to tell me without prompt that he’s seen me around and he always thinks ‘ah, what a shame, she could look so amazing’ and there’s so many different things I could do to improve my body.
“So he essentially walked up to me and body-shamed me in the middle of the gym.”
Jamil, who explained that she uses exercise to help combat her anxiety, went on to suggest that attitudes like this are the reason many people who want to exercise feel uncomfortable with going to gyms.
“This is why I think so many people who want to exercise don’t, because they’re afraid of being judged at the gym,” she said. “I don’t like walking around now thinking that people are looking at me and analysing and thinking what I should or should not look like…
“I’m comfortable, I enjoy my body, I enjoy my curves. I’m also, by the way, a US size 6 to 8 so if that’s how I’m being spoken to in the gym you can imagine what people say to people who are larger than that…
“Don’t stop yourself from going to the gym because of these stupid people who, they themselves, are clearly slightly insecure…”
Watch the video for yourself below:
When I told him I was happy with my body, he looked both surprised and slightly sorry for me. Never walk up to someone and tell them how much better they could look. You’re not being nice, you’re shaming them for the way they currently look. You’re also being extremely weird. pic.twitter.com/FeYBluU0vw— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) September 12, 2018
Of course, it is body-shaming attitudes like this which are, in part, the reason behind Jamil’s I Weigh account on Instagram. With over 10,000 followers and 300 posts, the account places value on women’s achievements and values, rather than how many kilograms they weigh, in a bid to help them “feel valuable and see how amazing we are, and look beyond the flesh on our bones”.
However, while Jamil has found women’s contributions to her new Instagram account both inspiring and encouraging, the actress still believes “we are in crisis” and changes need to be made for women everywhere to show more self-love.
You can find out more about the I Weigh campaign here.
This article was originally published on 12 September.