Jameela Jamil Isn't Here for People Who Promote Body Types as Trends

She shared a video in response to a toxic article spreading online.

Getty Images
Getty Images

After the New York Post published a story with a pretty disturbing headline: — "Bye-bye booty: Heroin chic is back" — celebrities, nutritionists, and activists alike took to social media to decry the harmful implications of such messaging. Actress Jameela Jamil summed it all up on TikTok, reminding fans and followers that "bodies are not trends."

In opposition to the troubling article, Jamil posted a video on TikTok, speaking to the camera over a background photo of the problematic headline. "No, we tried this before in the 90s, and millions of people developed eating disorders," she says. "I had one [an eating disorder] for, like, 20 years. We're not doing this again, we're not going back. Our bodies are not trends. Our body shapes are not trends. Fuck off," she concludes.

Over on Instagram, the actress elaborates a bit more, sharing both a photo of the article's headline and an impassioned plea to fans to "defund diet culture" in her caption.

"I'm BEGGING you to violently reject this, and to VIOLENTLY REJECT any people, or magazines, or news outlets who are participating in the spread of this hell," she writes. "We worked so hard and made so much progress and we are not being dragged back."

Strides have been made to promote holistic health care and dismantle diet culture, as celebrities and influencers alike have embraced body positivity and body neutrality in recent years. ICYMI, both the body positivity and body neutrality movements have been spearheaded by marginalized communities who didn't see themselves represented in society's thin, white beauty ideal.

But recently, there has been a disturbing return to messaging perpetuated by mainstream media in the '90s and 2000s — in part fueled by non-size-inclusive fashion brands and celebrities promoting unhealthy weight loss measures. This shift has seemingly culminated in tabloid headlines such as what the Post recently published, again centering extremely thin white women at the forefront of beauty. While the original story does acknowledge the negative implications of perpetuating unattainable beauty and body standards, its treatment of body types as trends is inherently problematic.

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Jamil, an outspoken eating disorder advocate, also calls attention to the relationship between toxic media imagery and eating disorders in the caption of her recent Instagram post. "Anorexia is the highest cause of death of ANY mental illness," she writes. She's not wrong. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder, according to BEAT, an eating disorder charity based in the U.K. And a meta analysis published in 2011 points to the high mortality rates of those suffering from eating disorders, with the highest rates occurring in those with anorexia.

Additionally, the term "heroin chic" is problematic in its own right, as Jamil points out in her Instagram caption. "There is nothing *chic* about a deadly drug addiction that makes you so thin because you're slowly dying," she writes of the term, which glamorizes drug use and has roots in the '90s fashion industry.

The She-Hulk star isn't the only one urging people to reject the notion of body types as trends. Nutritionist Shana Minei Spence, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.N. reminded followers on Instagram and TikTok that only the diet industry (worth more than $70 billion) benefits from people buying into toxic beauty standards. "Bodies come in different sizes, different shapes, different weights, and that's okay," she said in a video shared on her social media accounts. Fat and disability activists such as Imani Barbarin reminded followers that not only did the uninclusive thin, white beauty ideal never really disappear, but it's firmly rooted in racism and ableism, leaving out a large part of the population.

Instead of moving backward, Jamil proposes embracing "happiness chic" — aka the "right to be happy with ourselves," in her recent Instagram post. Now, that seems like a much better option.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, NEDA's toll-free, confidential helpline (800-931-2237) is here to help.