Jameela Jamil has addressed criticisms that she has no right to speak out about body shaming because she is “slim”.
The Good Place actor posted a lengthy note on Twitter explaining that she is not trying to “be the face” of the body positivity movement, but that she wants to make the most of her platform by giving marginalised groups a voice.
“A note from me to anyone who feels uncomfortable that a slim woman is fighting body shaming as hard as I am,” the 32-year-old’s message begins.
“It’s not only because of my extensive experience with public fat shaming from the press, eating disorders and disability as a teen, but also because I want change for all.”
The London-born presenter runs an Instagram account called @I_weigh, which encourages women to find value in the things that they do and care about as opposed to the way they look.
“I just want to make clear what we are doing at @I_weigh,” she continues, “we are building a platform we will use to lift up actual activists from different marginalized groups”.
Jamil acknowledged that she has been afforded privileges due to her high profile job and her looks “being deemed societally ‘acceptable’” but added that this should not detract from her intentions, which are to amplify the voices of important body positive activists.
“This is not me trying to steal your movement,” she added in reference to accusations that she has commandeered body positivity to boost her personal profile.
“It’s me trying to kick the gates open for it.”
She added that this message was particularly addressed to plus-size black women, who “are so left out of this conversation”.
“It’s my bad for not having understood your plight and fought harder with you sooner. It was ignorance, not a lack of care. I stand with you now and forever.”
So far, her message has been well received by fans, garnering more than 8,500 likes on Twitter and thousands of comments from people thanking Jamil for her candour.
“It’s not ever easy to admit when we’ve gone wrong and where we must do better. Love that you can own up to those moments and even more that you actually do the work to grow,” wrote one person. “Thank you for using your platform and privilege to create space for others.”
Another added: “As a ‘fat’ woman, I applaud your efforts and admire you for speaking out and holding various people, publications and organizations accountable. The world could use a lot more people like you.”
Jamil regularly makes headlines for her body positivity advocacy. Most recently, for example, she called for a ban on airbrushing and condemned cosmetics giants Avon for “shaming women” with its latest ad.
The Avon campaign, which the company has since apologised for, featured a smiling woman with the tagline: “Dimples are cute on your face (not on your thighs)”.
Jamil posted the ad on her Twitter page, explaining that dimples on thighs were “completely normal thing” for women and that implying otherwise “literally sets us up for failure”.
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