I was a few days late to the party when I read the amazing blog post, and almighty calling out of the media, written by Jameela Jamil. If you have yet to read the piece entitled ‘I Weigh’ by Jameela Jamil, you will have several opportunities to click through and get up to speed by clicking here or on any of the pictures in this post.
If you have seen the joyous existential conundrum that is The Good Place on Netflix, chances are that you have fallen a little bit in love with Jameela Jamil already. As the eternally name-dropping Tahani Al Jamil, Jameela has the charisma and charm to make a superficially superficial character quite loveable.
“You know, I haven’t been this upset since my good friend Taylor was rudely upstaged by my other friend, Kanye, who was defending my best friend, Beyoncé.”
OF COURSE, Tahani would count Taylor Swift, Kanya West, and Beyoncé Knowles amongst her friends. The audience rolls their eyes as names clang to the ground from every conceivable direction.
Last week, Jameela saw something that pissed her off and she shared it.
I cannot even express just how much this pisses me off too. I have no idea what I am in KG… could we get this in stones, please? I’d love to know how much I weigh in Kardashians – at first guess, I assume I’m one of the littler ones, times two.
The issue that Jameela took with the above photo can be clearly seen, highlighted in angry red. “This is how women are taught to value themselves.”
It is perhaps a moot point to say at this stage that I completely 100% agree with the angry reaction that Jameela Jamil has had to this photograph. What has impressed me more than anything is her eloquent and beautifully written response. Again, you can click here to read it. This picture was offered as an alternative.
Perhaps women should be taught to measure themselves based upon their achievements rather than the numbers on their scales. This is a lovely and empowering sentiment but we have many years of very harmful conditioning to break free from – for every woman who talks about food/drink in terms of naughty vs good, visits the gym regularly because they like the results but talk about it as if it were a penance, has difficulty making eye contact some days if make-up free, we have a long way to come.
As an example, I have been suffering with Rosacea on the right-hand side of my face since 2015. Three years, and I know this because I remember the first time a make-up artist took extra time over that particular area of my face – piling on the concealer as I was going to become accustomed to. Suddenly, my ‘good side’ became my ‘bad side’ and discomfort aside, I felt like the Phantom of the Opera on bad days. I’d apologise for it to make-up artists and felt pretty rubbish. I spent 4 months of last year on antibiotics in an attempt to clear the problem up – to no avail, as it would simply come back as soon as the pills were finished. I’ve pretty much cut dairy and alcohol from my diet in an attempt to remove the most likely triggers. My skincare is now all natural and designed for this condition. I take B vitamins almost religiously.
A few weeks ago I went for a laser treatment which promised to remove some of the redness and damage, as well as killing some of the infection. I was massively skeptical but decided to give the treatment a go as the cost was the same as I spend regularly on my hair – I’ve gone without other things over the years but this shade of platinum blonde is not easily achieved at home. If I consider my hair a worthwhile investment, surely my face was worth the same! It really worked. My red patch reduced noticeably and I was able to see moles I had forgotten were there and feel my hand on my cheek for the first time in years.
Then I got a Rosacea spot and was thrown into the most terrible funk. This roughly coincided with a sore neck so, as you can probably imagine, I felt vile. I couldn’t go to the gym so felt terrible for letting my routine suffer. I had gone from feeling on top of the world, looking trim, the face getting better (I will need more treatments, I knew this), to being just sad. Really sad. I share this story because we only share the good side, the good days, on social media (our own virtual Good Place) and I wonder if honesty is key in moving forward. My skin is not perfect at the moment. Nobody’s perfect.
In the same way as we are all outraged by the idea of women being judged exclusively on their weight, why are we not outraged by the way in which we so harshly judge ourselves? We take down the poison that is being fed to us and beat ourselves up constantly. I would never speak to another person the way that I speak to myself – certainly not a friend, never an acquaintance, not even a stranger.
So I made one of these for myself…
These are the things that I am proud of and the things that I want to be judged on. I am under no illusions that I am a candidate for The Good Place, but I try.
I am also under no illusion that one Instagram story photo will change my conditioning overnight. Before it was Rosacea, I worried about my weight (I will again), when I was a child, I worried about the size of my nose (thankfully I grew into it). I quite intended that one day I would have a boob job until I had my wisdom teeth removed and vowed never to voluntarily undergo a general anesthetic as it took me a full 3 days to feel well enough to shower and put on a pair of knickers! They may not always be where I want them to be but my boobs are healthy and I am grateful.
There will always be something. What we need are women like Jameela Jamil to pick us up and shake us collectively every now and then. Please do read her blog post via the link and make your own list of things that you are proud of if you can – you don’t even have to share it, just make one in your head or write one down. The world will attempt to poison you again but, all being well, one of your sisters will help you to detox, just as you should the next time one of your sisters needs you. Pay a compliment, say thank you, it’s all magic.
I am willing to bet that you are amazing – you certainly are if you have read this far – congratulations on your literacy and endurance. I would love to feed you all but today, I would mostly love to bake and share a slice with Jameela Jamil. We would nibble and natter together over a review of the OSCAR outfits that would focus on celebrating achievement and appreciating design rather than tearing down successful women based on their frocks. Revolution is in the air!