Jameela Jamil speaks to IRISH TATLER on the effect the past year has had on our self-esteem, the dangerous pressure to look good post-lockdown and the importance of self-love.
It all started a few weeks ago when the UK announced its roadmap for easing out of lockdown. June 21 was the date given to residents of the UK for when life as we once knew it would resume. Almost immediately, social media platforms were awash with memes and tweets on how to prepare for June 21.
Not to prepare biologically, with thousands of people rushing to book in their vaccines so they could mingle non-contagiously. Not even to prepare mentally for the anxiety of dealing with being in public again. No, what the internet was actually talking about was physical preparation, with people discussing the fact that they "needed" to unveil a post-lockdown body that they can be "proud" of.
And even though Ireland has no such roadmap to end lockdown, the feeling that we should all come out of lockdown with pandemic glow-ups still persists. Thankfully, there’s Jameela Jamil. The writer, actor, host and advocate for mental health and self-love is the face of The Body Shop's new campaign addressing global self-worth. Aptly named The Global Self Love Index, The Body Shop commissioned a global study to assess and improve self-worth, self-confidence, and wellbeing. The study revealed one in two women across the globe feel more self-doubt than self-love and that sixty per cent of those women wish they had more respect for themselves. Statistics that no doubt reflect the times we're living in and this new wave of social pressure women are feeling to have a post-lockdown glow-up.
Speaking to IRISH TATLER during a round table interview with fellow journalists, Jamil opined that lockdown has forced us to accept and love our true selves. "I think we've seen statistically that the pandemic has had a positive impact on the way that a lot of us look at ourselves. And I think that we've finally been reintroduced to our original faces," she explains.
We've realised that the world doesn't stop turning and we don't turn into a pumpkin without all of these incredibly expensive, sometimes painful ways to maintain the patriarchy's prescription of what we're supposed to look like.
"Now, we no longer just have five minutes in the morning where we see what we actually look like and then immediately cover ourselves in armour. We've realised that we don't need to always get our roots done, or our hair dyed, or our nails done, or go for skin facials. We've realised that the world doesn't stop turning and we don't turn into a pumpkin without all of these incredibly expensive, sometimes painful ways to maintain the patriarchy's prescription of what we're supposed to look like. And I think that's really great."
But despite all this, many of us are falling victim to returning to our old ways. "I do also think that after any step of progress comes backlash historically," says Jamil. "So now that we're seeing countries opening up again, the internet is full with memes of people talking about getting their post-pandemic body so that they're thin enough when June 21 arrives." And although it may seem harmless, this new narrative is a dangerous one. "So now this is the new rhetoric, diet companies, detox companies, beauty companies are panicking people or fear mongering people about what they look like and using a pandemic and the global crises to to manipulate people into needing aesthetic intervention. It is very disturbing," she explains. "I just hope that we can try to remind each other to stay strong and take those lessons of self-acceptance that we've learned this past year."
diet companies, detox companies, beauty companies are panicking people or fear mongering people about what they look like and using a pandemic and the global crises to to manipulate people into needing aesthetic intervention. It is very disturbing
It can be all too easy to fall into a downward spiral of negative thinking but it's on us to rally together, support and protect our friends and family from this pressure. "I don't wear foundation most of the time anymore now like I wear almost no makeup when I go outside just sunscreen and a bit of lipstick – well actually no, lipstick is dead because of masks but a little bit of eyeliner! I have become more accustomed to my own un-glammed face and I think so have all of my friends," tells Jamil. "And may we cling onto that with everything we've got because we are being doubled down on right now. We need to be very aware of the uptick in body shaming, face shaming, weight shaming, etc. that's resulted from this pandemic coming to an end."
Whether you’re embarking on socially distanced park runs, watching how to dye your own hair tutorials on Instagram or taking a day out to do nothing, let’s remember that having an appreciation for our bodies and the fact that we are alive and healthy is the ultimate goal for when we finally get out of this.
For more on The Body Shop's Self-Love movement, see bodyshop.com
Or Join our very own Tara Stewart and Fionnuala Jones tomorrow evening, March 27 on Instagram. The pair will be going live for The Body Shop at 7 pm to talk all about their own journey to self-love. There'll even be spot prizes for the best comments and questions.
Main image by @jameelajamilofficial on Instagram