Actress’s efforts change Instagram ad policy



In a 2019 Stylist magazine shoot, Jamil showed off her distain for measuring women by their weight.

Lauren Scaffidi

Last month, Instagram and Facebook announced their plan to put age restrictions on the advertising of diet products to anyone under the age of 18, such as detox products, appetite suppressant lollipops, and cosmetic surgery services. This change came after some protest, stemming from the position started by The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil.

The petition to ‘Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media’ has racked up more than 243,000 signatures since the actress created it. Jamil has long been an advocate for promoting positive body image. She has been fighting the social media culture that she feels is promotes eating disorder since she began her rise to stardom.

“Powder over the internet can’t make you look like a celebrity who has a personal trainer, a chef, a surgeon and who uses photoshop.” Jamil wrote on the description of the petition. “This is false and irresponsible advertising, and it is part of a pervasive and disturbing rhetoric that preys upon eating disordered behavior and the new trend of “quick fix” that relies upon a naive and vulnerable customer who is not educated as to the full list of health implications these products and diet restrictions can bring. I’m calling on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat to stop these being posted by celebrities.” 

After this petition gained popularity, Jamil was able to meet with Instagram to discuss the issue. After the discussion, Instagram reached out to “external experts” like Dr. Ysabel Gerrard, a social-media researcher, to create the new policy. They decided to block any advertising that contains a “miraculous” claim about a diet or weight loss product and is linked to a commercial offer. This has lead to a number of celebrities being under fire for their advertisements, including Kim Kardashian, who has been promoting appetite suppressant lollipops to her more than 100 million Instagram followers.

“This is a huge win for our ongoing fight against the diet/detox industry. Facebook and Instagram taking a stand to protect the physical and mental health of people online, sends an important message out to the world,” Jamil said. “I’m thrilled to have been able to work towards this with them, alongside a host of other experts who shed light on the danger of these products.”

Jamil praised Instagram for moving “so efficiently” to enact change. She also used this moment to bring up her campaign ‘I-Weigh’. The campaign, that now has more than 898 thousand followers, aims to promote positive self-image by ending the stereotypes imposed by social media. 

With eating disorder numbers at an all-time high, and as a former teenage anorexic who was very much so influenced by celebrities, I understand the importance of having good people around you.” Jamil says, “That’s why in 2018 I created The I Weigh Community which values people on their achievements and attributes rather than what they weigh or how they look. It aims to make connections and be an ally to other activists and communities.”

She encourages her followers to post images of themselves saying what they weigh, but not with a number. Jamil did this with the intention of showing people they are worth so much more than their weight. She encourages people to do this by urging them to show what they like about themselves. Jamil believes that body positivity is the first step towards fixing the current problems with body image in our society. It seems to be doing what it intended, as the campaign has received thousands of posts.  

“There were too many to keep track of,” Jamil wrote. “It happened so fast. The pictures were amazing. None of them were posed and filtered, nobody was contoured to within an inch of their life, or sucking anything in. It was women living their lives, writing down all of the things they were grateful for and proud of. All of the degrees they have, the babies they made, cancer they beat or are fighting, the families they love, the disabilities they live with or help with, the relationships they have built, the companies they started.”

In a 2019 Stylist magazine shoot, Jamil showed off her distain for measuring women by their weight.
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