Jameela Jamil: A Modern Icon

A selfie of Jameela Jamil holding up her index finger with the word "courage" written down it.
Jameela’s Response to the United Nations’ campaign, #OneWord to change the world
Image taken from: https://www.instagram.com/jameelajamilofficial/

By Bailey Brockett

The Body Acceptance movement has taken many forms recently, and Jameela Jamil is a pioneer for them in so many ways. You may know her from portraying Tahani Al-Jamil in The Good Place, but she’s got quite the list of accomplishments behind her other than acting.

Her work in the body image and body acceptance movements are inspiring. Aside from her roles in film and television, she is perhaps most notorious for founding the “I Weigh” movement. In an interview with Conan O’Brien, she defines the movement as, “A mental health movement that really moves against shame, and changes the way that we look at ourselves, and teaches us to be grateful for our bodies, and for our minds.” In an interview with BUILD, she states that she was scrolling through the explore page of Instagram one day and she came across a picture of all the Kardashian women. Across each picture of the women was how much they weighed. She made the point that “You would never have a picture of a group of men, of businessmen, with their weight written across their body.” She proceeded to discuss how mortified she was by continuing to see pictures of successful women with their weight plastered across their faces instead of their accomplishments and their contribution to society. She said, “I realized that that’s still how we value women: Via how much flesh they have on their body and how much space they’re taking up in the world, physically. So, in response to this, she made the decision to say what she weighed on the internet which was her relationship, her financial independence, her friends, and her job. She implores people to realize that these are the types of things you will be thinking about on your deathbed, not your love-handles or whether or not you have a flat stomach. She received so many positive responses that she started a separate Instagram account for them all. It has encouraged thousands of people to post what they weigh, and, instead of a number on a scale, they choose to measure themselves by what brings them happiness. The “I Weigh” movement has given her opportunities to change policies on several social media platforms to protect impressionable minors from being exposed to detox and dieting products, and cosmetic surgery procedures. It has also allowed her to speak at the U.S Senate in an effort to pass two bills that would make this a priority and put it into practice. In her interview with Conan O’Brien, she said that she took products like those when she was younger and, “she’ll be damned if it’s gonna happen again.”

Jameela's response to a tweet of an article link about A Navy SEAL who is training K-9s to attack school shooters. Her response says, "Are these magical bulletproof dogs, or are we just trying to get children and dogs killed? We need gun control and a ban on assault weapons being sold to members of the public."
Another Recent Tweet
Image taken from: https://twitter.com/jameelajamil
Jameela's response to a tweet that says, "You're very hot when you're not talking." She responds with, "You will die alone."
Recent Tweet
Image taken from: https://twitter.com/jameelajamil

Jameela is also notorious for her witty and eloquent Twitter responses to ignorant, closed-minded people, and to articles that may not be seeing the full picture. Perhaps one of her most criticized and talked-about tweets was a thread she posted right after news about the plans for abortions bans in Georgia came out. She retweeted a news article regarding the bans and said, ” This anti-abortion law in Georgia is so upsetting, inhumane, and blatantly demonstrative of a hatred of women, a disregard for our rights, bodies, mental health, and essentially a punishment for rape victims, forcing to carry the baby of their rapist.” She then proceeded to discuss her own experience getting an abortion, ” I had an abortion when I was young, and it was the best decision I have ever made. Both for me, and for the baby I didn’t want, and wasn’t ready for, emotionally, psychologically and financially.” When she is not making excellent points like these, she is shutting down know-it-alls who don’t actually know it all.

A tweet from Jameela. It says, "Today is World Mental Health day. This month, 6 years ago, I tried to take my own life. I'm so lucky that I survived, and went on to use EMDR to treat my severe PTSD. I urge you to hang on just a bit longer and ask if you need it. Because things can turn around. I promise."
Tweet on World Mental Health Day
Image taken from: https://twitter.com/jameelajamil

She also happens to be an advocate for mental health awareness. In a recent tweet, she mentioned her struggles with mental illness, and how they caused her to try and take her own life. She is also very open about struggling with eating disorders, and the emotional and physical pain it has caused her. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she said, “I didn’t fully understand my shame, I just knew that I felt embarrassed about having a little seven-year-old tummy. By the time I was about eleven or twelve, I have very, very bad body-shame because I wanted to look like all of the anorexic models in my magazines, and I was fully anorexic by the time I was about thirteen.” In response to how she later felt about her disorder, and how she managed to cope with it, she stated, “I was very sad to see what I had done and how I had wasted the last couple of years of my life, and so I stopped starving myself and became healthier on what I would put into my body, but I still had an anorexic mentality until I was about twenty-eight.” Mental health is a process, and one that Jameela embodies perfectly.

To pay our respects to this incredible, inspiring woman, I ask you to consider posting what you truly weigh!

Coping With a Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

Image of a girl all in black with a donut covering her face
Food on my Mind
Image taken from: Creative Commons

By Bailey Brockett

My first semester of college was, for lack of a better term, a sh*t show. I was in an unfamiliar place without any friends, and the very thought of leaving my sweltering dorm room made me sick to my stomach. I began to find comfort in food. Mind you it was not nutritious food. It was vending machine food, Hostess cupcakes, Easy Cheese straight out of the can, and a surplus of dining hall cheeseburgers. I drowned myself in coffee and cherry coke, both of which started to become meals on their own. I started associating the only positive feelings I was able to have with food and, as a result, gained the most weight I ever have. The positive feelings never remained for long, and so I would replenish them with more over-processed junk, and the cycle thus continued. When doctors would ask if I had any eating disorders, I said no. How could you have an eating disorder if you weren’t starving yourself? And I certainly wasn’t starving myself. That was always what we were taught in school. Anorexia and bulimia were the eating disorders. Gorging yourself with food was just frowned upon.

Binge eating disorder (BED) is a type of eating disorder where one uncontrollably eats large portions of food at one time. This is called a binge, and it is often followed with feelings of extreme stress or guilt. Symptoms of BED include but are not limited to: Eating faster than normal, eating uncontrollably until you are sick, eating large portions even when you are not hungry, or eating alone due to embarrassment. Many studies suggest that it is caused by extreme feelings, such as stress, sadness, boredom, or anger.

There are many ways to cope with BED. One or the other may or may not work for you. In my personal experience, I have found that a combination of the following have helped.

1. Therapy

Talking to a therapist can help to uncover the actual feelings that are causing you to binge eat, and to notice and understand these feelings when they arise. They can help you ask yourself important questions. Do you typically binge eat when you are feeling depressed or angry? Why are you actually feeling depressed or angry? What can you do instead of eating to combat these feelings?

2. Nutritional Counseling

Perhaps you don’t actually know much about food, and how it can actually be used as a tool to improve your health. Dietitians can help with this process. They can offer you advice on what foods to eat and when, according to your tastes. Proper nutrition can help you feel more energized, strengthen your immune system, and countless other benefits.

3. Medication

Maybe you will find that binge eating is a result of another mental illness such as depression, or anxiety. Talking to a psychiatrist about medications for this may be exactly what you need, but consult your doctor or therapist before making any decisions.

4. Eat Breakfast

Many think that skipping breakfast is a decent way to cut your calories intake, but in reality prolonging the time between your next meal can cause you to overeat. Eating breakfast has numerous benefits as well. It can allow you to properly portion the rest of your meals throughout the day, and it can boost your metabolism.

5. Do not partake in fad diets

Fad diets are tempting. Who doesn’t want to lose x amount of weight in 30 days? However, many of them can be dangerous. Often times, they don’t provide the results you want which can trigger the binge eating cycle to start again.

6. Eat With a Purpose

If you open the fridge because you are bored, you aren’t eating with a purpose. Try to eat when your body tells you to. I know this can be difficult it you are struggling with an eating disorder, so perhaps try making a meal schedule. Put in reminders on your phone to eat at specific times, and do your best to stick to this schedule so your body becomes used to it.

7. Tell Someone

Simply letting a friend or family member know of your struggles can take so much weight off of your shoulders. They can help you be mindful of you eating habits and remind you to stay on track of your goals.

8. Avoid Temptation

Doing your best to avoid the temptation of binge eating can be difficult. The simplest way can be not storing foods you know will bring on guilty or depressing feelings by consuming them. If you know you will be tempted to eat out for lunch, pack your lunch the night before. Meal prepping can also be incredibly helpful.

I still struggle with BED, and I know it won’t go away instantly. I combat any negative feelings that come about with fast food, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever be able to stop eating Hostess cupcakes. However, now that I’m aware that this is a serious problem, and that so many others experience it, I am finding ways to cope and encouraging others to do so. Just like any other disorder or illness, you do not have to let it control you. Do your research, set goals for yourself, and know that you are not alone in this struggle.

How to Make your Instagram a Positivity Haven

A design depicting drawings of nude, female bodies in all shapes, sizes and colors.
All Bodies are Beautiful
Image taken from: Creative Commons

By Bailey Brockett

When I cut my hair, I spent a solid hour trying to take a picture of it with one goal in mind: Instagram. I needed the likes and comments to validate essentially everything, or at least temporarily remind me that I had friends. I eventually, and quite reluctantly, gave up due to several thoughts passing through my brain, the first being that my new haircut made my face look much rounder than it used to. You could clearly see the Jimmy John’s sandwich sticking out in the overalls I was wearing, which led to the certainty that if I posted this picture, everyone would know that I was the kid that got fat after high school. My relationship with Instagram has always been similar to this process, and I realized then that maybe it wasn’t healthy for me to be partaking in it, or social media in general. It is safe to say that Instagram is one of the first platforms to pop into our heads when we think about social media, and while it can negatively impact our mental health, I also believe it can be used as a tool to remind us that we are all human. Here are five ways to make your Instagram a positivity haven.

1. Unfollow People

I know this is the one that you hear constantly, but you hear it for a reason. It works. Unfollow the people from high school whose posts bring nothing but annoyance or jealousy. It doesn’t matter if they always leave nice comments on your posts. Unfollow accounts and celebrities who endorse unhealthy dieting products, or who make you feel insecure. Unless you are truly serious about fitness, unfollow those accounts as well, especially if seeing their posts makes you feel guilty rather than inspired. Go through the list of people you follow and take time to make a truly honest purge.

2. Follow Accounts that Inspire You

What hobbies or activities bring you joy? What would you like to learn more about? Science, art, poetry, aligning your chakras? There are accounts for everything! Follow accounts that add value to your day by teaching you or inspiring you. Follow accounts that make you laugh or post encouraging quotes. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. The Awkward Yeti – A comic artist who humorously personifies body parts.
  2. Introvert Doodles – A comic artist who portrays the struggles and benefits of being an introvert.
  3. Heikala – A relaxing watercolor artist.
  4. Feminist – Inspiring and informative posts related to women and feminism.
  5. The Just Girl Project – An account dedicated to inspiring women.
  6. Reveal Mission – Chad Estes is a photographer whose photos tell stories of women and their body image journey.
  7. Artwork Paradise – An account that shares a variety of artwork from artists globally.
  8. Period Movement – A non-profit organization dedicated to ending period poverty, and the stigma surrounding menstruation.
  9. Strange Planet – A comic artist who portrays aliens experiencing mundane, human tasks.
  10. Michael James Schneider – A balloon artist, but not in the way that you would expect.

3. Follow People Who Inspire You

Following celebrities on Instagram certainly has its perks. Followers can feel a closer connection with their favorite musicians, actors, etc. However, sometimes we follow celebrities simply because they are just that, a celebrity. Ask yourself: Does this person bring any value to my scrolling? Do I feel insecure after having seen this post? If so, unfollow them and find people who you feel represent you in the media. Here are some of my favorites:

  1. Jameela JamilThe Good Place actor and body acceptance advocate
  2. Megan Jayne Crabbe (bodyposipanda) – feminist, author, and body positivity influencer
  3. Lizzo – Singer and body positivity advocate
  4. Ashley Graham – Plus size model
  5. Greta Thunberg – A young climate activist
  6. Abi’s Blog – A fashion and lifestyle blogger who refers to herself as “midsize”
  7. Charlotte Price – Fashion, travel, and body positivity vlogger
  8. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – New York Congresswoman
  9. Lucy Wood – YouTuber who runs a series called #averagegirlsize
  10. Jazzmyne – Buzzfeed producer and body confidence promoter

4. Take Breaks

Something I’m starting to see consistently is people posting on their stories that they are taking a break for a week or two and I always think to myself that it’s a fantastic idea. There are countless benefits from taking a few weeks off from Instagram. Social media inevitably leads us to compare aspects of ourselves with others, many of whom have a job to post and look fantastic. This allows for even more insecurity to wreak havoc in our lives, which, honestly, who has time for? A break from social media would also allow individuals to have authentic human interaction, which can lead to new friendships and healthier relationships!

5. Make Sure Your Posts are Also Contributing to the Positive Atmosphere

When you are posting a picture, make sure you ask yourself the reasons for doing so. Don’t do the, “Felt cute, might delete later.” If you feel cute, post it and be confident! If you don’t, don’t post it simply for the purpose of receiving compliments from others. Don’t post pictures or videos that may be offensive to particular groups of people or make passive aggressive comments toward others. Post your art, writing, poetry, photography, and don’t worry about what the response you may receive. Create a platform of what inspires you and brings you joy. Put into social what you want you get out of it.

Sexual Assualt

 

IMG_1116
Screenshot of SOS on iPhone

By Beatrice Santiago 

 

Sexual Assault is real, people, and unfortunately, it happens everywhere. Including here.

As a college student, I walk to campus all the time. (Even at times where it can be very scary.) I can’t even tell you the times I have checked my surroundings, over and over again while going home, after a late night at the library. From wanting to listen to my music as I walk, but having to put only one headphone in, just in case. From taking classes to learn how to defend myself, because women, unfortunately, get put in danger more than men do. I must take an extra step and extra precautions, just because I am a woman. I always try to look for resources that can help me if a predator decided to attack me by surprise.

Not long ago, my sister told me a capability I was not aware of. On Iphones, you click the power button five times in a row and the image above will pop up. By sliding the SOS button on your IPhone, this will send your location to the nearest police station. I also have learned how to carry my keys between my thumbs. I even learned about a bra with a sensor in it that can alert the police if your heart rate is too high over a long period of time. (Signaling the police.) I must do this and many more things to feel safe. Even the way I act and dress. I always have to have an extra layer of protection before I can go outside because I am not sure what could happen. I should not have to live like this!! All women should have the ability to do whatever they desire.

My question is: Why do I find myself needing to do this? (Right, because I am a woman and because men don’t have to worry about these things. Right.) Also, in order to not get assaulted or raped I need to dress a certain way. I should not provoke him. Because, then it’s my fault. HELL NO! I shouldn’t have to do these things, to feel safe at night. A societal stereotype says, “It’s the victim’s fault for getting drunk and getting raped!” Why? Just why do I have to do this and not men? I don’t think this is fair to me and my peers.

Women should especially not have to conform or give up certain ways of dressing, or acting, to feel like we will not be raped or assaulted. It gets me angry that almost all of men don’t have to do this to feel safe. They do what they want. They act how they want. Because, society says that they are the dominant gender.

Continue reading “Sexual Assualt”

Gender inclusive housing

By Kali Nelson

A brick building meant for students to live at on a college campus.
A side photo of dorms building on a college campus.

When you think about it, housing options are a small thing in the larger scheme of going to college. In between filling out my FAFSA for the first headache inducing time to finding a decent packing list that didn’t cost upwards of $100, I didn’t think about where I would live. I knew for sure it would be on campus because freshmen are required to live on campus at the University of Idaho, and I went in knowing no one, so off campus wasn’t an option.

But as a straight cis-identifying woman, I didn’t think about if I would be comfortable with my new roommate, because I knew it would be another female like myself. Continue reading “Gender inclusive housing”

It’s Hard: How to Deal with Anxiety

Womxn in a ponytail meditating in a field with the sun shinning behind her.
There are many preventative measures for people who struggle with anxiety.

By Rosemary Anderson

Red light. You’re dying. You must be dying. You never thought you’d die in a Volkswagen.

Green light. Your heart beats uncontrollably. So loudly you can hear it over Katy Perry on the radio. Your chest throbs as if she also hit you in the torso with a baseball bat.

Left turn. Your legs and arms go numb, making it hard to grip the wheel. You start singing every church song you can remember from Sunday school.

Red light. You can’t see. You check your phone to call 911 but you can’t see the numbers. Everything is blurry–the lights, the cars, your mind. You’re on the verge of passing out.

Left turn. Breathing becomes painful. You take a breath as if your car is floating under water, your mind floating somewhere above your car.  

Red light. Your body begins to shake uncontrollably. You see a police car at the next intersection. You begin to formulate a plan to flag him down and tell him you’re dying. But you don’t know how to do this, so you keep driving home.

Continue reading “It’s Hard: How to Deal with Anxiety”

My Old Pals, Ana & Mia.

National Eating Disorder Awareness week, NEDA for short, was from February 26th to March 4th, and aimed to spotlight eating disorders and provide life-saving resources to those who need it. It’s time to talk about eating disorders and the many gripping holds it has on people’s lives.

From excessively counting calories or straight up purging yourself, eating disorders are terrifying and quickly overwhelm your life. Health should come from within.
Continue reading “My Old Pals, Ana & Mia.”