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Jameela Jamil: Airbrushing is a 'crime against women' and should be illegal

‘It exists to sell a fantasy to the consumer that this 'perfection' is indeed possible’

Sabrina Barr
Sunday 02 December 2018 12:32 GMT
Jamil says it should be made illegal
Jamil says it should be made illegal (Getty Images)

Jameela Jamil has said airbrushing should be made illegal, labelling it a “crime against women” linked to mental health issues such as eating disorders.

The activist and actor, who’s currently starring in TV series The Good Place, has written about the dangers of airbrushing for the BBC 100 Women series.

She’s been very outspoken about the importance of body positivity in the past, having founded the “I Weigh” movement earlier this year in an effort to encourage people to place greater value on their personalities and achievements than their physical attributes.

She explains that airbrushing has become so prevalent in today’s society that people often don’t recognise the effect it’s having on modern culture.

“I think it’s a disgusting tool that has been weaponised, predominantly against women, and is responsible for so many more problems than we realise because we are blinded by the media, our culture and our society,” she writes.

“It exists to sell a fantasy to the consumer that this ‘perfection’ is indeed possible.”

Jamil understands the influence that “perfect” airbrushed images can have on young, impressionable people, having suffered from body insecurities and eating disorders as a teenager.

It was recently revealed that hospital admissions for eating disorders in England had doubled in six years, according to figures released by NHS Digital.

Jamil has no doubt that the ubiquity of airbrushing in the media has led to many women having cosmetic surgery in order to achieve unrealistic beauty standards.

Earlier this year, the actor appeared on Krishnan Guru-Murthy’s Channel 4 News podcast Ways to Change the World, in which she discussed how she’d been made to look white in photo shoots throughout her career.

Jamil describes airbrushing as “anti-feminist” and a "crime against our gender", and has stressed the importance of seeing women in photo shoots who have wrinkles, cellulite and stretch marks.

“When you filter a woman’s photo you are legitimising the patriarchy’s absurd aesthetic standards, that women should be attractive to the straight, male gaze at all costs,” she writes.

She also points out the different way in which men are photographed for magazines, with the photos often taken in high definition to emphasise their “rugged attractiveness”.

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Jamil made headlines earlier this week when she criticised celebrities including Cardi B and Iggy Azalea for promoting laxative “detox” teas on their social media channels.

“Don’t drink these ‘detox’ teas. You need fibre!” she wrote on Twitter.

“Not something that honestly just makes you have diarrhoea the day you take it and constipates you in the long run."

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