@I_Weigh - Jameela Jamil

 
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Back on my very first day of Year 7 (Big School!) when I was a 12 years old, I remember lining up outside the sports hall and being sorted into classes in our respective houses.  I was feeling excited by the prospects of my new school, uniform, new friends and all the exciting lessons in different buildings scheduled in my fancy grown up student planner – Drama, Art, English, PE, Tech, Science. I was a still an immature and naive kid, just left the fun of primary school with zero cares in the world. To me this was the next step in education and I didn’t realise how much my life would change over the next 5 years and consequently how my self-esteem would be knocked.

Growing up in an Indian family, I was pretty different from the majority in Essex; my dark skin colour and dark hair stood out, I was like half the size of every other kid, my mum and dad with Caribbean and Sri Lankan foreign accents plus my traditions and beliefs were not really ‘normal’. Some weekends would be spent dressing up in brightly coloured Salwar Kameez, sandals, bindi’s and a wristful of bangles glittering with sequins and gems for a Hindi Pooja in London with several dozen  unknown Aunties from my mum’s side who seem to know me since I was born, yet I, still to this day have no idea who they are! We would meditate, sing, light candles and incense, eat beautiful Indian curry’s and drink mango lassi and hang with the other kids.   

When I was 12, none of this seemed out of the ordinary, wasn’t that what all kid’s in the UK did? Evidently not.

What I learnt in the years to come was how different I was. It turns out getting braces and glasses in Year 7 was good for my health but not so much for my physical appearance. And coming to the realisation that the black fuzz growing on your legs, armpits, belly and face was not going to land you in the popular crew of school with your primary school best friend, was pretty traumatic times. Pre-GHD days, my fluffy long black hair could not be tamed on a small India girl wearing an oversized bottle green blazer I would grow into (which lasted till my very last day of school).  Not what you would call cool in Essex in 1998!

These things heavily played on my Self Esteem since that 1st year of secondary school and being picked on for such things didn’t help. This is when I think most boys and girls develop low esteem issues; the segregation between the uncool and cool groups and not thinking you are (or will ever be) as good as these ‘cool’ kids is so damaging for later on in life.

Things may have changed since 1998, but with social media following us every second of the day and comparing yourself not only to the popular kids, but influencers, models and celebs and seeing their amazing, glossy, healthy world’s and ‘perfect’ figure is not healthy and downright damaging.

These underlying self-esteem issues I have been living with since a teen and now comparing myself the millions of people on Instagram and their amazing lives is toxic and feeding the dangerous self-hate for myself!   

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Jameela Jamil, a London TV Presenter and Actress on The Good Life has spoken out about this ‘crazed toxic nonsense!’ After scrolling through her ‘’explore’’ on Insta, she came across a ‘’disastrously damaging picture!’’

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This demeaning post shows the Kardashian / Jenner Clan with their respective weights posted across their bodies, with the caption underneath ‘’What do you Weigh?!’’ She reacted the same as any sane women would with and snapped, ‘’WHO CARES! What is this post trying to achieve other than to induce anxiety into young women about something so irrelevant?’’’’  

It begs to questions why we are still be force fed images on social media and magazines that promote the ‘perfect women’, and then feel less than worthy if we do not fit this status quo. Why is this unreasonable and shallow goal something we value so highly in our lives and when we cannot achieve this unrealistic (and not important) perception we feel hopeful, as though we are completely worthless? Forget all the amazing things we have done in our lives – “doesn’t matter who we are, what we do, how many lives we save, how many children we raise, how many people’s lives we touch, we are not worth anything,” Jameela states. “I snapped. I am just done. I’m so done with seeing this and letting it pass me by. It’s so dangerous and disgusting. It’s so belittling and abusive. We are subliminally bullied all day by the magazines, the side bar of shame, social media, and by each other. The onslaught is so aggressive that we are going to have to retaliate with 10 times the strength to undo all of the damage to the global psyche of women.”

So she posted this on her Insta story;

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I weigh …….. Fucking KG!

A big reminder of what makes you, you and all the amazing things you have done if your lifetime, that you have accomplished from scratch. The friends you have met, your family, the way the things you have done has made people feel and how much you enjoy living in your skin. Really accepting you self-worth and how you should be measuring yourself using these values you should be proud to shout about.

Since posting it on twitter in Feb 2018, she was inundated with women of every size, shape, age and background sharing their own ‘I weigh’ posts; incredible women around the world sharing incredible real photos of themselves and writing down what they are grateful for, proud of and declarations of self-love.   

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You can see these amazing and inspiring posts pushing back against body shaming and self-hatred on Jameela’s new Instagram page @i_weigh

“We can win the revolution against shame" - Jameela Jamil