The Good Place star Jameela Jamil speaks out against Instagram influencers who use their platforms to advertise quick weight loss products such as detox teas that are both ineffective and dangerous. While celebrities paid by the brands they promote claim detox teas have helped them to achieve the bodies the public sees on their social media accounts, Jamil points out that these celebrities achieve their bodies through the privileged uses of personal trainers, chefs, surgeons, and professional photoshop edits. Jamil has repeatedly drawn attention to celebrity Khloe Kardashian’s problematic promotion of Flat Tummy Tea and Co. Responding to a recent Instagram post that credits Flat Tummy Tea and Co with Kardashian’s toned stomach, Jamil asks that all celebrities be mindful of the harmful effects that are caused by advertisements that bully users into purchasing products whose purpose is the attainment of unrealistic beauty standards.
The Lies Behind Detox Teas
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Reviews of detox teas report that, while users may experience weight loss upon consuming the tea, it is only from an increased loss of bodily fluids and not from any real loss of fat. Jamil cites other dangerous side effects of the product, including “cramping, stomach pains, diarrhea, and dehydration”. Users of detox teas have chimed in with reports of their own, citing the ubiquity of the sponsored posts and the desire to achieve the promoted weight loss as their reasons for purchasing the tea. Upon consuming the tea, users reported feeling ill, suffering from convulsions, cold sweats, nausea and needing to use the toilet several times a day.
Eating Disorder Awareness
Despite these painful and potentially life-threatening side effects, users reported feeling dependent on the tea for the weight loss results they still believed in. Jamil, an eating disorder survivor, worries that the false promises of the tea will interact with women’s societally driven desires to attain ever-elusive thinness and result in a proliferation of eating disordered behavior. A user who reported having pre-existing eating disorder symptoms stated that she used the detox tea as a laxative to purge food from her body, despite feeling increasingly sick from the onslaught of painful side effects. This user’s experience echoes an Instagram story of Kardashian’s that Jamil took issue with, the story read: “2 Things a Girl Wants: 1) Lose Weight. 2) Eat.” Jamil posted a screenshot of Kardashian’s story to Twitter, writing “this makes me sad. I hope my daughter grows up wanting more than this. I want more than this. Sending love to this poor woman. This industry did this to her. The media did it to her. They fat shamed her into a prison of self-critique. Dear girls, WANT MORE THAN THIS.”
This sentiment is what led Jamil to create “I Weigh” in March of 2018, a movement and Instagram account whose goal is to encourage people to want more than outward perfection. “I Weigh” reminds users that value is measured by more than weight or looks and provides a space in which users can measure their value based on their achievements and positive attributes. Begun in February 2019, Jamil has been garnering signatures for a petition that will prevent celebrity influencers from advertising diet aids on social media platforms including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Snapchat. Jamil asks of the public, “please help me take the first step in dismantling this nonsense new culture by stopping those with the most influence from being able to freely spread lies and irresponsible, ignorant nonsense, to their vulnerable young followers.”