“Representation matters,” says The Good Place star, “and it pays.”
Many people know Jameela Jamil as Tahani from The Good Place. However, she is so much more than an actress: indeed, Stylist’s Remarkable Woman has fast become a symbol for female empowerment, encouraging women to reconsider what makes them valuable.
Her body positivity campaign began in 2018 when she set up her I Weigh account on Instagram in a bid to combat the ongoing body-shaming narrative of social media. The account aimed to place 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”… and it has certainly proved a success. A year after it began, the account boasts over 550,000 followers and 2,652 posts
And now, in a powerful new video, Jamil has taken a look back over I Weigh’s success and explained why she thinks it has resonated with so many people online.
“We don’t know what men weigh, we don’t care,” says Jamil. “We only care about what women weight. We don’t care about anything else about them, we just care how little space they are taking up in this world, and I am fed up about it.
“So I posted about what I weigh, which is my financial independence, that I’m self-made, the fact that I’m in a wonderful relationship, the cancer I’ve overcome, the struggles I’ve overcome, the things I’ve been through, the things I’m still going through. I weigh the sum of all my parts.”
Jamil continues: “I think that I’ve hit upon a moment where people are so tired and they feel so demoralised by how marginalised they continue to be and how by how marginalised they continue to be and how erased they are from mainstream society.
“This is not just racial, this isn’t just gender, this is also disability, and LGBTQ+. There are so many of us being left out of the conversation and therefore our spending power is not being used. And I’m trying to teach people that it would be good business above anything else, or at least alongside being a good human being, to include these people in the story.”
Captioning the post, Jamil added that “@i_weigh is working and booming” because “representation matters”.
“And it pays, as the few forward thinking creators of projects like Black Panther, Girls Trip, Bridesmaids, Crazy Rich Asians, Shrill and THE GOOD PLACE found out,” she said.
“Take some fucking risks and hire on screen to reflect what we see off screen.”
Jamil isn’t just relying on I Weigh to make a difference: she has made a point of speaking up and out about body positivity, air brushing and toxic body shaming, too.
Most recently, she challenged the Kardashians over their promotion of appetite suppressants on their own social media platforms, saying: “The Kardashians need to check their moral compasses, because they appear to be broken…
“I have been given these same opportunities to flog this stuff, and I don’t do it, so they don’t have to.”
You can read her rant in full here.