Health

Instagram Diet Culture? Not If Jameela Jamil Can Help It

Swerve.....

Actress and activist Jameela Jamil has become the women’s champion. She’s opened a dialogue about harassment women face after turning men down and has been a staunch critic when it comes to unhealthy diet culture pushed online. Her biggest take down? The Kardashians.

Jameela has been all over posts in which non-FDA approved diet products are promoted. Most recently she criticized Kris Jenner for promoting Flat Tummy Co.’s meal replacement shakes.

Jameela screenshotted Jenner’s post and later shared it adding all the side effects the product may produce. Many influencers have chosen to leave out this vital information when pushing the product.

“Flat Tummy Co side effects are cramping, stomach pains, diarrhea and dehydration and it can impact contraception users. Eat fruit and veg to fill up and feel good kids. It’s cheaper and safer than a non-FDA approved powder over the internet.”

Flat Tummy Co. has been under fire for promoting unhealthy diet culture and using social media influencers to do its bidding. The brand uses supplements instead of drugs in their products which means they are largely unregulated when it comes to needing FDA approval before selling their product to the public.

Jameela has also criticized Kim Kardashian’s promotion of Flat Tummy Co.’s appetite suppressant lollipops and for Khloe Kardashian’s constant posts about losing weight.

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Tea, for lack of a better word. #CommentsByCelebs

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She’s gone as far as to say that their money comes from ‘the blood and tears of women who believe in them.’

That is what is truly scary. Kris, Khloe, Kim, Kylie, and Kourtney have all posted photos promoting Flat Tummy Co. Combined their posts are reaching 453.4 million people. An audience I think we can safely assume is heavily female.

Women have long been the target of unrealistic beauty standards and product pushing. Social media now amplifies this ten-fold, making it even easier to target younger audiences.

68% of all Instagram users are female and 72% of teenagers use the platform. Additionally, 59% of people ages 18-29 use Instagram.

These are the demographics being potentially being impacted by harmful diet posts pushed by not just the Kardashian’s but by mommy bloggers and other influencers.

At the time of writing this, there are 57 million posts on Instagram using #diet, one million using #dietplan, and 2.2 million posts using #dietfood.

This isn’t to say that all diet posts are negative. However  in the unregulated world that Instagram lives in, there is no way to police negative diet posts.

If you believe you need to lose weight or are searching for diet ideas, it’s understandable why you’d go to Instagram. It’s becoming a hub similar to Pinterest but with more of an interactive community you can connect with. But if you are choosing to do this, please remember that seeing isn’t believing.

Just because someone rants and raves about this super cool, new diet doesn’t mean they are actually doing it every day. We are not with these influencers 24/7. We have no way of knowing if they are actually practicing what they preach or relying on editing apps to fabricate results.

We will never match up to the influencers and celebrities promoting these various products because we don’t have the same resources as them. Not only are they receiving an abundance of free products but they also have the money to get top-tier help. Remember this next time you compare yourself to one of them. It’s easier said than done but it’s extremely important that you realize this.

Never feel ashamed for wanting to go on a diet. But make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and as safe as possible. Don’t feel as if you have to go on a diet or try the latest diet trend simply because your favorite celebrity is doing it. Chances are they’re only promoting the product for the money, not because of the insane results or to help others.

To go one step further, Jameela has started an Instagram page called i_weigh. It’s aimed at empowering everyone to feel valuable and recognize that their value does not lie in their looks or number on a scale.

Cover image via Zig.

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Davyn is a journalism student at Arizona State University. During her free...