Jameela Jamil, a fabulous actress on The Good Place, is revolutionizing body acceptance in our society. Just three years ago, she started an Instagram account called I Weigh with intentions of creating a safe space that fosters radical self acceptance on social media. Bult on a brick-by-brick activism philosophy, I Weigh has now transformed into a company aiming to advocate for marginalized groups, speak up about injustice, and provide allyship for those who are underrepresented.
In her interview with the BUILD series, Jamil addresses how women are pressured to value themselves purely on how they look and what the number on the scale says. She says that her platform, I Weigh, is meant to encourage women to “weigh” themselves based on their character, accomplishments, and strengths instead. This movement is slightly separate from the body positivity movement though since Jamil takes the emphasis off of women’s bodies all together, and proposes we focus our energy into more important things, such as our role in the world as women.
Too often are women judged by their body first, and their character second. It’s not just outward forces on women, it’s inward too. As women, we are constantly bombarded with messages from the media that we need to be thin but not too thin, have large breasts and hips but a slim waist, and have a tiny nose but plump lips. It’s not shocking that women everywhere experience insecurity, body dysmorphia, and develop disordered eating habits as a response to these ridiculous expectations.
Of course however, there have been meaningful strides to counter this idea that to be beautiful is to be thin, like that of the body positivity movement. But Jamil is proposing a different solution. While the body positivity movement encourages women to love their bodies no matter shape and size, it is still encompassing self worth to be defined by how we view our bodies. In contrast, Jamil thinks the solution lies in taking the emphasis off our physical appearance all together and determining our self worth through our character traits and personalities.
While it started as a body acceptance movement, I Weigh has grown to be so much more. As I Weigh evolved and expanded, Jamil created what she calls an “all-women army” to join her in her creation of an activism platform. Through the platform, diverse and underrepresented voices are amplified and empowered. With articles highlighted on the site like “It Happens to Us Too: Sexually Harassed While Disabled” and “Supporting a Gender Affirmation Surgery, From Start to Finish”, I Weigh is telling stories that need to be heard.
Through the breakthrough of this company, and the inspiration it gives to the world, we can get one step closer to a more accepting and equal society. Jamil expresses that change doesn’t happen in one night or with one big burst, but through a slow gradual process that she calls brick-by-brick activism. It’s efforts like Jamil’s that stand out and send a message that social justice is achievable if we empower, listen to, and defend one another.