Paving Platforms for Positivity

Over the past few years, female empowerment and the feminist movement have made great strides toward encouraging women to speak up, make their voices heard and be themselves without apologizing. The growth of the movement has also sparked an increase in advocates for body positivity. Celebrities throughout the industry have taken to various platforms to share the love they have for their bodies in its most natural form and encourage others to do the same. But, no one has made quite the impact that Jameela Jamil has with the start of her movement i_weigh.

In 2018, the British actress, best known for her current role on The Good Place, posted an Instagram story of a generic mirror photo of herself. Written across the photo were the words, “I weigh” followed by a list of characteristics such as “great friends” and “I speak out for women’s rights.” The one thing missing on this post? A number from a scale.

Earlier this year, Jamil tweeted that her original intention for this post was to protest the way women are valued in society. Outraged by an Instagram post of group of women with their weights plastered across the photo, Jamil decided to take action. She wanted to prove that women are worth more than just a number on a scale. Instead, she wants people to “weigh” themselves as all of the unique character traits that make up who they are inside.

After Jamil’s initial Instagram story, she created an Instagram account dedicated specifically to the i_weigh movement. Since its launch, the page has accumulated 647 thousand followers and over two thousand posts of people sharing what they weigh.

“I started this page so that the moments that these women fought back and took pride in their lives beyond their exterior can live on forever,” Jamil wrote in an Instagram story. “And so that we can inspire other women to do the same.”

Although this movement began with the intent to inspire women, i_weigh is not a narrow-minded initiative. Jamil and i_weigh’s supporters encourage empowerment for people of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities and sexualities. To celebrate its one year anniversary, i_weigh introduced a new interview series where other celebrities have the opportunity to share their stories. The interview series’ first collaborator was Sam Smith.

“This is the first time I’ve spoken about [body image]. My whole life, I struggled with my body and my relationship with it,” Smith said in his interview with Jamil. “… For the first time ever I just had a surge in me to fight against my issues instead of being a victim to them all the time.”

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As a senior studying magazine journalism at Ohio University and a passionate feminist, I created Freely Femme as a way to use my love for storytelling to highlight some of the most inspirational women in my personal life and beyond.

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