Jameela Jamil Sparked an Internet Debate Over Her Comments About the Kardashians

Julyssa Lopez
"We trust you, and we think you’re on our side, but you are selling us something that really doesn't make us feel good."

Update 3/21/19:

Jameela Jamil is continuing her mission to speak frankly about societal issues surrounding women and body image, this time calling out Khloé Kardashian, specifically, for a sponsored post on her Instagram touting Flat Tummy's meal-replacement shakes. "Loving how my tummy looks right now you guys!" Kardashian wrote. "I brought @flattummyco’s meal replacement shakes into my routine about 2 weeks ago, and the progress is undeniable✨P.S the shakes are 20% off today and you can get Flat Tummy Tea at a really good deal too. Go check it out!"

Jamil replied with a lengthy comment stating why she thought the post was "irresponsible."

"If you're too irresponsible to: a) own up to the fact that you have a personal trainer, nutritionist, probable chef, and a surgeon to achieve your aesthetic, rather than this laxative product...And b) tell them the side effects of this NON-FDA approved product, that most doctors are saying [isn't] healthy. Side effects such as: Possible Flat Tummy Tea side effects are cramping, stomach pains, diarrhea and dehydration... Then I guess I have to. It's incredibly awful that this industry bullied you until you became this fixated on your appearance. That's the media's fault. But now please don't put that back into the world, and hurt other girls, the way you have been hurt.

"You're a smart woman," she concluded. "Be smarter than this."

The comments on Kardashian's original post are exploding with support for Jamil's clap-back—and echoing her message. "U guys this is diet and exercise and genetics... not some stupid tea. I love u Khloe but come on!" one user wrote.

Kardashian has yet to respond.

Original Story:

The Good Place actress Jameela Jamil has never shied away from tackling society's obsession with dictating and policing how women "should" look. Earlier this year she launched an Instagram account called I Weigh that seeks to measure women by "achievements and experiences, not pounds and kilograms" and later poured her feelings into a powerful piece for Glamour.com: "Our culture is obsessed with women’s appearances, and it’s holding us back as a gender."

Now she's back in the spotlight for taking on these issues again. She went on a podcast from the U.K.'s Channel 4 late last week and talked specifically about the Kardashians, whom she has called out in the past for promoting unrealistic standards of beauty to young girls. After Kim Kardashian posted an ad promoting an appetite-suppressant lollipop in May, Jamil had taken a screenshot of the images and written on Twitter, "No. Fuck off. No. You terrible and toxic influence on young girls,” she wrote on Twitter. “I admire their mother’s branding capabilities; she is an exploitative but innovative genius. However, this family makes me feel actual despair over what women are reduced to.”

On the Channel 4 podcast, hosted by Krishnan Guru-Murthy, Jamil elaborated on why she called the Kardashians toxic—and how she feels their influence embodies the idea of a "double agent for the patriarchy."

"The double agent for the patriarchy is basically just a woman who perhaps unknowingly is putting the patriarchal narrative out into the world," Jamil said, adding later: "But it’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing: Just because you look like a woman, we trust you and we think you’re on our side, but you are selling us something that really doesn't make us feel good…. You're selling us self-consciousness.”

Watch the full interview here:

While many people embraced Jamil's criticism as constructive, the Internet was quickly divided. Some pointed out that in the past Jamil has made comments about the sexuality of artists like Beyoncé and Miley Cyrus. "Jameela Jamil has history for policing/shaming women for ~using their sexuality~ & it’s so tedious," one Twitter user wrote.

In the Guardian on Sunday, Frances Ryan had a different take than Jamil.

Ryan wrote about why calling Kardashian "a double agent for the patriarchy" can be problematic but also argued that Jamil made an important point worth exploring: "Still, blaming other women for misogyny has always felt uncomfortable—like you are doing patriarchy’s job by turning on women pressured to conform to sexism, rather than critiquing the male-dominated structures that got us here. But Jamil is surely speaking out about a side to sexism that is worth confronting."

There are more than a few sides to sexism and misogyny worth confronting, and whether or not you agree with Jamil, it's worth considering the mixed messages the Kardashians send under the guise of being feminist—and figuring out how they fit into how you define (and live out) the concept.