Actress Jameela Jamil is celebrating the new Instagram policy on weight-loss products. The body-positivity advocate has long spoken out against the social media platform’s proliferation of celebrities hawking various weight-loss items, from detox teas to appetite-suppressing lollipops — and yesterday, Instagram took a stand.
The platform has agreed to censor weight-loss posts for all users under the age of 18 — in other words, children and teens who are at their most vulnerable and easy to convince that “weight-loss” products work, or are even a good idea. Plus, under the new policy, these items can’t be promoted as a “miracle” cure. Any influencer who posts a photo with a weight-loss product and emphasizes that their weight dropped specifically because of the product will be in violation of Instagram’s community guidelines.
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“THIS IS HUGE NEWS,” Jamil wrote on Instagram. “@i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts.”
“As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report,” she continued. “I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible.”
Back in August, the Good Place actress said the Kardashians shouldn’t be canceled, but should stop selling items such as waist trainers and laxatives. She has also spoked out against Amber Rose for selling flat-tummy teas.
Jamil, who founded radical body inclusivity platform i_weigh, has been vocal about her own eating disorder growing up, and said in an interview with Elle UK that the ease in which companies can sell body-shaming items to teens is leading to higher rates of self-harm.
“Teenage suicides, eating disorder rates, the amount having cosmetic surgery and committing self-harm … They are all at the highest they’ve ever been,” Jamil said. “There’s no way this isn’t a correlation with what they’re being exposed to online.”
She’s not wrong. In a 2016 study conducted by the Pew Research Institute, teenagers cited Instagram as the app that influences them the most, and 38 percent of those who use the site are female. A staggering 20 million women will be affected by an eating disorder in their life, and many of them develop disorders between the ages of 12 and 25, according to the Newport Academy. On top of all this, there’s still not enough research done on whether detox teas and appetite-suppressing lollipops even work, or what the side effects are.
For Jamil, these companies all emphasize the belief that there’s something wrong with your body. “It sets the tone that this is not OK in our society. … There are so many lies being told and we’ve accepted that as a cultural norm.”