A little while back, I wrote a piece about Jameela Jamil taking on celebs for their social endorsements of ‘detox’ teas. It was a light-hearted, funny account of the time I tried one of those teas myself and spent 24 hours pissing out of my butt.
The thing is, even though the story itself was pretty funny, what was written between those lines wasn’t – because for a long time, I used teas and tablets and drinks filled with high levels of magnesium whenever I ate too much food. For a little while there, it became a dangerous pattern that involved me obsessing over the food I ‘wasn’t meant to be eating’ until I ‘caved’ and wound up on a spree that would find me shoving as much food into my face as possible. ‘Cos if you’re gonna have that burger, you might as well make it count.
Then, the guilt and shame would creep in until old mate panic took the reins. It wasn’t necessarily about the food that I’d eaten, but the inevitable consequences I’d see staring back at me on the scale the next morning in the form of a glowing red number that screamed: “YOU FAILED! Now, you’ve gotta start all over again.”
Vomiting was never in the equation because I physically can’t think of anything worse, so I’d take something that would give me the runs to make sure whatever I’d ingested came out of my body before it had the chance to shame me on the scales. The craziest part was, I thought I was onto a winning solution. It never really crossed my mind that what I was doing was, essentially, a form of bulimia.
If you’re lucky, one day you wake up and slap yourself in the face, or you get help, and you stop doing it. But all that shit you filled your body with and more importantly, the inner monologue of self-loathing you’ve listened to for years, has affected you in ways that have lasted way longer than you ever thought. All because you wanted to look like someone you saw on a catwalk or in a magazine or, in 2019, someone you saw on Instagram.
While there are so many incredible people out there fighting the good fight to promote body positivity, somehow, the message that remains deafeningly loud is the same: skinny is best and anything else is second rate. We’ve just become much better at dressing it up in different forms across the social media platforms that impressionable boys, girls, men and women spend their time scrolling through to fill in the blanks of their day. It might look like a ‘fitspo’ post. A health journey. A social media ‘influencer’ talking about how much she loves the barely visible clip holding her fringe back while standing in a bikini.
Yet, the sneakiest of them all belongs to the million dollar celeb endorsements of laxatives that of course, aren’t labelled as such. They’ve been re-branded in pretty packaging with words like ‘nutritious’ and ‘wellness’ and of course, ‘detox’, emblazoned on them. Drink them and you’ll look like Kim or Khloe Kardashian… only you won’t. Unless, of course, you have access to their trainers, their nutritionists and chefs. You’ll also need the cash and contacts for the best surgeons who’ll keep the work you’ve had done on the DL and of course, you’ll need some mad Photoshop skills.
For every one of us who have been around the block enough times to see through the blatant bullshit of these posts, there are millions who do not. So they buy the tea. They get sucked into the vicious cycle and learn to hate their bodies for not doing what the package – and their fave celebs – have told them it would.
That’s why women like Jameela Jamil are so important. Jameela is an actress and fierce body positivity advocate who has taken the next step in her fight against celebs and their faux weight loss endorsements. She has plenty of bite to her bark and is taking to this issue with all the ferocity needed to actually make a difference.
The latest step in Jameela’s fight is a petition called Stop Celebrities Promoting Toxic Diet Products on Social Media on Change.org and reads:
“In the last few years we have seen a scary rise in the marriage of celebrity and diet/detox endorsement. There’s little to no information about the side effects or main ingredients, the harm they may cause or any of the science behind how these products are supposed to work. They are instead, flogged in glossy paid adverts by celebrities and influences with no expertise or authority in nutrition/medicine/biology.”
Jameela also outlines the problematic health implications reported by medical professionals, who are also calling for these celeb endorsed dieting ads to be banned across all forms of social media. “Celebrities who promote and endorse weight loss aids for payment, do so because brands have realised how influential their posts are with young people. As reported by the BBC, top doctors are now asking that celebrity ads for diet aids be banned by social media companies.”
“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,” Jameela writes.
Jameela Jamil is indeed one of the good peeps she speaks of… and God knows we need more action-taking celebs like her who have the kind of pull to make people actually sit up and pay attention.
The bit that really grinds my goat is that these celebs have more coin in their bank accounts than most of us will see several lifetimes over, so it’s really hard to understand how, in good conscience, they can do what they’re doing, particularly to the impressionable young kids and teens who hang off their every word.
I’m not sure about you, but I’ll be signing this petition. Even if it makes one young girl think twice about hitting ‘buy now’ on a laxative that potentially could mess up her body AND body image forever, then I reckon it’s totally worth it.
The petition is currently sitting at 142,389 signatures at the time of writing, well on its way to hitting its aim of 150,000. You can sign the petition here. You can also check out Jameela’s I Weigh insta account here, which showcases people celebrating all the things that make them WHO they are, not what they look like.
Constance Hall spoke to us about her experience with an eating disorder in the podcast below. Listen in, then subscribe here for more chats with amazing Aussie women.