If you spend a lot of time on Instagram or in the general world, you’ve probably noticed that there’s a major problem with the way we talk about diet, weight loss, and “wellness” in general. This isn’t one simple problem, but rather an entire culture that needs to shift. (If you want more details, try listening to our entire Diet Starts Tomorrow podcast.) But one of the biggest issues on Instagram is the way that influencers promote diet and weight loss products with no regard for what actually works, and what messages could be harmful to their audience. Well, Jameela Jamil is working with Instagram to make some important changes.
Jameela Jamil has long been a crusader for more honest practices around wellness products, particularly on social media. She’s repeatedly called out people like the Kardashians for misleading ads and comments glorifying unhealthy weight loss tactics. Earlier this year, she launched a change.org petition to Instagram to “Stop celebrities promoting toxic diet products on social media,” and she got over 200,000 signatures.
View this post on Instagram
THIS IS HUGE NEWS. @i_weigh are changing the world together. After a bunch of shouting, screaming, and petitioning… we have managed to get the attention of the people at the top, and they have heard us and want to protect us. And this is just the beginning of our efforts. As of now, if you’re under 18, you will no longer be exposed to any diet/detox products, and for all other ages; all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report. I’ve been working with Instagram all year towards this, who were amazing to deal with, and they expressed that they passionately care about creating a safer space for us all online. This happened so much faster than I expected and I’m so proud and happy and relieved. WELL DONE to the many people who have been working towards this huge change. This is a mass effort. This is an extraordinary win that is going to make a big difference. Influencers have to be more responsible. ❤️
Instagram saw the same issues as Jameela Jamil, so they’ve now worked with her to institute two new policies dealing with diet products.
-“If a post promotes a weight loss product or cosmetic procedure and has a price tag fixed to it, users who are younger than 18-years-old will be prohibited from viewing the post.”
-“Any content that makes a ‘miraculous claim’ about diet or weight loss products . So, for example, if an influencer posts a picture of themselves sipping diet tea, promoting their discount code, and telling their followers how they managed to lose 10lbs rapidly solely due to the tea, it will be removed for violating the new community guidelines.”
Before I get into anything else, let me just state the obvious: both of these are great policies, and it’s an important step toward creating a better culture. I just have some questions, and I’ll be honest that I’m a little skeptical of how well these rules will actually work.
I’m extremely happy that Instagram is specifically taking measures to shield teens and kids from the harmful messages of weight loss posts. From increasingly young ages, people in our world are taught to feel bad about their bodies, and it needs to stop. Even recently, we’ve seen huge controversy over WW’s decision to launch a weight loss app aimed at kids. The sentiment behind the 18-and-under policy is great, but it sounds like the only way they’re going about this is through posts that use the shopping feature (hence the “price tag” language). I invite you to scroll through the feeds of some influencers and look at their weight loss ads. None of them use the price tag feature. You have to start somewhere, but I have my doubts that this rule is actually going to do anything. Sadly, companies that want to target minors will just get smarter about their specific tactics to skirt the guidelines.
View this post on Instagram
#ad Ok you guys… I’ve been putting in work, adding in @flattummyco meal replacement shakes and I’m seriously feeling so good. My energy is up, my cravings are controlled and I actually feel like I’m a total tummy knockout. You need to go check them out while their 30% OFF sale is on. Ps: how CUTE is this shaker bottle?!
For example, here’s an ad that Khloé Kardashian (Jameela Jamil’s enemy #1) recently did for Flat Tummy Tea. It’s obviously an ad, but she doesn’t use the shopping/price tag feature, though she uses #ad, which adheres with FCC guidelines. Does the 18-and-under rule even apply to this?
While I’m really unsure about the implementation of the first new policy, the second one has its own set of concerns. According to Jameela’s own words, “all fad products that have bogus, unrealistic claims will be taken down and easy to report.” Again, an excellent goal, but the implementation is where it gets tricky. From Instagram’s wording, I gather that they’ve just updated the community guidelines to make these things technically against the rules, so there are grounds to report these posts. There’s no Instagram bot that’s going to automatically detect these posts and remove them, because that would be basically impossible. How do you quantify a “fad” product? Flat Tummy Tea is an easy one, but what about chunky dad sneakers? I mean, those are a fad, just saying.
Despite all the problematic effects of posts making false claims about weight loss, censorship is a slippery slope. The nature of weight loss and dieting is that everything works differently for different people, so there’s a fine line between a claim that seems unlikely and something that is categorically false. While I’m not buying that Khloé got a whole new body by sipping diarrhea tea, I can’t say with 100% certainty that it didn’t do anything for her. With this in mind, it’s probably for the best that Instagram’s new policy will rely on self-reporting, so people can judge for themselves what crosses the line.
Overall, I’m excited about the changes that Instagram is making, because we shouldn’t have to live in a world of fake weight loss products and Photoshop fails forever. But as with anything, change takes time, and I’m looking forward to seeing Jameela Jamil continue to work with Instagram to tweak and expand these rules to address the full breadth of the issues. Someday, we might actually be in the good place.
Images: Shutterstock; jameelajamilofficial, khloekardashian / Instagram
As I sit in my flannel, jeans, and black ankle boots, I can happily confirm that the fall season is upon us. True, it’s still mid-70s and I’m only dressed this way because there was a tick advisory for my workplace today (working in TV is all glamour, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise). But I’m sure we can all agree that it feels like fall. In other words, it’s time to curl up in front of your TV and forget the words “crop top” for another nine months. While you probably spent all summer bingeing Office reruns (same), fall is the time for new, highly anticipated TV. In order of when they come out, here are the new and returning TV shows that will dominate your life for the next few months. Please set your DVR accordingly.
‘You’ – September 9, Lifetime
I should qualify at the start of this list that not every show will be what’s traditionally considered “good.” For example, most of the dialogue in this particular show makes me want to throw myself through a window. But like, in the BEST way. This show is about Penn Badgley playing a stalker freak who becomes obsessed with a slightly vapid blond and immediately starts doing psycho sh*t like
writing about her on an anonymous website breaking into her apartment and messing with her life. So basically, a dark yet accurate glimpse into Dan’s future. (Extremely self-aware of Penn Badgley to take this role.) This is my new favorite guilty pleasure show, and if you’re a fan of Lifetime at all, I can’t recommend it enough.
The first of many red flags he displays in this show:
‘Maniac’ – September 21, Netflix
Okay so polar opposite of the last show, but also about mental health. Can’t imagine why that’s trendy right now when we have such a stable genius in the White House! Anyway. This whole season dropped on 9/21, and it stars Jonah Hill and Emma Stone. Even in this ~Golden Age~ of television, that’s a pretty high-end cast. I won’t tell you much about the plot beyond the fact that they both have a sh*t-ton of baggage and sign up for a pharmaceutical trial. The plot is less important than the vibe, which so far is like every episode of Black Mirror smushed into one world. This show is good for an all-day binge when you’re up for actually thinking about what you’re watching. Invite over your artiest friend so they force you to pay attention through the first 3 episodes, it’s kind of slow to start up.
‘Dancing With The Stars’ – September 24, ABC
Have I ever watched this show before? No, and I probably won’t again. But who could resist seeing Grocery Store Joe flit across the stage! I give you permission to stop watching as soon as he’s cut.
‘This Is Us’ – September 25, NBC
You all know what this one is for. This is the show you come to when you need a really good cry, or when you want to ignore all your problems and pretend Mandy Moore is your mom for a while. Also, to get your weekly Sterling K. Brown fix, which is right up there in terms of importance with drinking water and getting enough sleep. It’s just a fact of life. This season, we’re going back to Jack and Rebecca’s first date—and Randall’s daughter, Tess, all grown up. Few things are as pure as my love for this show.
Anyone else need to watch this on repeat to cleanse from this week’s news cycle?
‘Modern Family’ – September 26, ABC
Did we all kind of get over Modern Family five years ago when it won every award? Yeah, maybe. But this is likely the final season, and they’ve been teasing a “significant death,” so I’m planning on riding out the show until the end. It’s the least you can do for something that gave you a few good years, like when you loyally wear your favorite black leggings until they’re completely sheer in the crotch. Watch out of loyalty, watch because Phil is still funny AF, or watch because you’re hungover and it comes on next on Hulu. Up to you.
‘The Good Place’ – September 27, NBC
Very few shows like The Good Place have come around in the past few years, and I’m deeply grateful when they do. It’s from the creator of Parks & Rec, and has the same soothing effect of all your fave 25-minute comedies. Kristen Bell has spent the first two seasons figuring out that she’s in (SPOILERS) Hell, aka the Bad Place. Season 3 opens up with her and her 3 companions having been redeposited on Earth to give things another try. Will they f*ck it up in a largely similar way to the first time? Probably, their memories were erased so IDK why they wouldn’t. But it’ll be fun to watch them try to fight their baser instincts for a while.
‘How To Get Away With Murder’ – September 27, ABC
This is another show that’s sadly nowhere near as good as it used to be. But at its best it was so iconic that I still can’t look away. No matter how ridiculous the rest of it gets, Annalise is still the epitome of boss b*tch goals, and Laurel still has an annoyingly good lingerie collection for someone with such a terrible personality.
‘Riverdale’ – October 10, CW
Of course the show I’m most excited for doesn’t come back until October 10th. OF COURSE. Season 3 of Riverdale is about to be f*cking lit. We’re dealing with the aftermath of Archie’s arrest, an all-out war with Hiram, more screen time for Cheryl and Toni, and some weird cult stuff with Betty’s sister. The promo shows Archie shirtless, more milkshakes at Pop’s, and what appears to be a ritual sacrifice of two babies. Exactly what you’d expect and get more than you dared hope, in classic Riverdale fashion. And obviously we’ll be recapping it.
Me all season:
The best part of these fall shows? Since they’re all newly released, you’re basically engaging in a cultural activity with every binge. Some people go to museums; you binge artful new storytelling techniques. Or at least that’s what you’ll tell yourself as you order Seamless the sixth time that week. Happy watching!
Images: The CW; Giphy (4)