WHEN I worked with Jameela Jamil in 2013 for a Barclays Life Skills event, she struck me as a very switched-on person who really knows her own mind.
So I’m not surprised that in the five years since then, the 32-year-old actress has become such a brave voice when it comes to speaking up about the pressure women are under to look a certain way — and the lies they are being told about how to achieve that.
There is just too much emphasis on women’s weight and looks, and the impossible task (for some of us) of being thin.
So well done to Jameela for using her not inconsiderable social media following to point out the hypocrisy of women who endorse weight loss products.
She also called the Kardashians “double agents for the patriarchy”, saying that just because they are women it doesn’t mean they don’t reinforce harmful ideas of what women should be and how they should behave and look.
And on Monday she called out Iggy Azalea on Twitter — where she has 406,000 followers — for promoting weight loss drinks.
“Another double agent for the patriarchy bites the dust,” she tweeted. “When will these women who are covered in plastic surgery stop telling their followers to drink a laxative to look like them?’”
On Tuesday she took it a stage further when she posted a parody video clip on Twitter titled: “If celebs and influencers were actually honest with us about some of these diet/detox products . . . ”
You should watch it, but let’s just say that she spends quite a lot of the video on the loo because of the laxative effect of the shake she says she is drinking to lose weight.
Jameela, who has been a model and a radio presenter, now has a thriving Hollywood career, currently starring in the successful Ted Danson comedy The Good Place.
Most Hollywood actresses prefer not to rock the boat while they are still working there — so she’s extra brave to do so.
But for her, it’s personal.
In the past she has discussed her own struggle with weight loss and said that as a teenager she “starved herself for years” and previously used “miracle cures and laxatives”.
She went on to reveal she has since been left with “digestion and metabolism problems for life . . . I damaged my fertility, I was consumed and mentally ill. I was obsessed and didn’t eat a meal for over three years as a growing teen.”
And that is why she is “not going to stop coming after all the people, men and women, who perpetuate this gross culture of forcing women to remain small and doll-like in order to be accepted by society.”
No wonder she is so doggedly determined to call out things that many of us now see as normal, namely celebrities endorsing products designed to make women thin — and encourage disordered eating.
She doesn’t need to speak up about this stuff.
But given the impact the pressure to look a certain way has had on her life, you can see why she wants to prevent it ruining other people’s.
Anyone who has ever wanted to lose weight probably knows how tempting it is to get swept up in the hype and propaganda of “miracle” products that will give you the body of a goddess.
Losing weight is bloody hard and we want an easy, no-effort way to do it. Unfortunately, there isn’t one.
We all know the principle of weight loss — eat less, move more.
So instead of buying weight-loss shakes and lollipops you could just do that.
But here’s a thought — how about accepting yourself the way you are, rather than shrinking yourself and being utterly miserable?
A Channel 5 show this week about curvy women featured several beautiful models who are, gasp, size 14 or 16.
They all love the lifestyle that modelling has given them but, more than that, they like being unapologetic poster girls for looking different from the accepted norms of beauty (thin, small, often malnourished) and being themselves.
What a great reminder that it’s OK to look different, and that we all come in different shapes and sizes.
Here’s a smear campaign I support
COULD it be that we are all too preoccupied with Brexit to look after our health?
Apparently, the number of cervical cancer screenings in Britain has fallen to an all-time low, with nearly five million women overdue for testing.
Nearly a third of women ignored their latest invitation for an appointment, putting them at risk after they have gone several years without a smear test.
Participation in the cervical screening programme in England is at its lowest level since records began 23 years ago. If you are one of these women, please read this.
When I was a teenager, I had a smear test and it came back with a note about abnormal cells.
Since I had no idea what that meant, I left it for years before I went back.
By the time I did, those abnormal cells – normally the size of a pin head – had multiplied to the size of the doctor’s thumb.
He gave me a colposcopy – snipping off a bit of my cervix – there and then on the table, with just an aspirin and no anaesthetic. Ouch! Then he operated on me the following day to remove those cells.
I was, touch wood, lucky.
After that, I was completely fine and went on to have children.
So my advice, ladies, is to please get your smear tests done when they are due.
They are free, take just seconds and are painless – and could save your life.
Please don’t delay, book yourself in as soon as possible.
Jean was V good
I’VE so enjoyed reading the obituaries for Jean Trumpington, who died this week aged 96.
What a woman she was – one of the most recognisable and best-known members of the House of Lords, and also one of the most outspoken – famous for flicking the V-sign at Lord King of Bridgwater when he called her old.
Irreverent, mischievous – and an absolutely lovely person.
She was an inspiration and will be much missed.
It's not really Christmas… yet
I KNOW it’s now December but I, for one, am really not ready to declare the festive season open.
I know my kids will insist on a tree. But they’re not the ones who have to put it up, decorate it, sweep up after it, take it down, dispose of it and pack away the baubles.
So, call me Scrooge, but I’m putting it off until the week before Christmas.
Lotto pair are true winners
I REALLY love this week’s story about the couple who won an £18million Lotto fortune – only for their lives to stay exactly the same.
Well, almost the same.
Dennis Banfield, 87, and his wife Shirley, 83, did treat themselves to a refurbishment of the property they’ve lived in for 57 years, staying in a £66-a-night budget hotel nearby while the work was done.
They also gave a large slice of their winnings to local projects and charitable causes, and also to their daughters, Tina and Karen.
Other than that, the money has not changed their life.
I guess that shows they are happy with each other and with what they have already – true love by the sounds of things.
And we all know money can’t buy that.
Liz has son-thing special
GOSH! The resemblance between Liz Hurley and her 16-year-old son, Damian, is pretty striking.
They are almost identical.
But to me, the more remarkable thing about Liz and Damian is how close they seem to be.
If I had asked my son, at Damian’s age, to hang about at parties with me – not to mention take photos of me in my bikini – he’d probably say something like: “I was just a bit sick in my mouth, Mum”.
In fact, in my experience, you have to do a deal with most teenagers to even get then to leave the house, let alone be seen out with you.
So either Damian is an unusual teenager – or Liz has really come up trumps on the old bribery front.