The words’ self-love‘ sound simple but ponder a minute longer, and one might start to wonder, where does it begin, and when does it constitute being selfish. Mental health issues are more prevalent than ever, and as loud as messages about accepting your body as it is (healthy, that is), so are the blatant ideas that beauty is skinny is flawless. It’s a vicious cycle.
One such notable name in the market is The Body Shop, the first beauty brand to talk about self-esteem—since 1997. Founder Anita Roddick believed that beauty is an outward expression of everything you like about yourself. The iconic 1997 campaign featured the slogan: “There are three billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only eight who do.”
The brand continues to promote this, especially with the recent launch of their campaign, Rise Up with Self-Love. Joining this movement is Jameela Jamil and Sara Kuburic (also popularly known as The Millennial Therapist on Instagram).
You might know Jamil from the show The Good Place or as a passionate advocate and creator of I Weigh, a platform/community that encourages radical inclusivity in all forms. The multi-hyphenate star is well known for her brutal honesty matched with fantastic humour. Kuburic’s Instagram handle isn’t just a catchy-cool username. She is a real-life existential therapist, writer, life coach and mental health advocate—and has a clinic that operates worldwide.
We joined them in an exclusive panel discussion on the topic of self-love, hosted by The Body Shop, and it was a powerful conversation by women, amongst women, for women. Here are some of our favourite quotes.
Saying no to her images being Photoshopped during her modelling days
Jameela Jamil: “I knew I felt terrible about myself because I couldn’t help but compare myself to a digitally-enhanced image. When we edit our own photographs, we’re setting ourselves up for failure. Human beings are trying to live up to impossible standards set by technology. When you scroll through the Explore page on Instagram, it’s the same beauty look. It’s not even Angelina Jolie specifically. It’s the big lips but a tiny nose, the big eyes and thin-but-beautiful face—all of that at the same time. Everyone’s very contoured and altering images so much that I think it sets you up for sadness in the mirror.
“I don’t want airbrushing or Photoshop because it makes me feel bad about myself. I need to get used to seeing my pores and wrinkles, and I think women aren’t encouraged to find those beautiful. Women are inherently gorgeous in our own special way, and I want us to feel better about things like lines or a lack of symmetry. As an ethnic minority, I don’t want my skin lightened. I don’t want my nose to be made smaller or to look more Euro-centric. I want to look like where I’m from, and I want to look that way with pride. So, it just means a lot to me. I’m not doing it for attention, but it’s something I’m doing to protect myself.”
How to truly embrace that self-worth transcends social media presence
Sara Kuburic: “Focus on the relationship with yourself versus how other people relate to you. Change the conversation and think what a massive shift it would be if we put as much effort into the relationship we have with ourselves as we do with other people. It would change the way we present ourselves on social media too because most of that is us wanting attention, acknowledgement and appreciation. None of those things is wrong but social media can be set up in a way that makes us try to get it—and that is quite harmful to us.”
Their thoughts on certain challenges (e.g. Earphones Waist Challenge) on social media platforms that can negatively affect young women and their self-esteem or body image
Jameela Jamil: “We need to start a revolution against it. I’m upset to see so many adverts to young women about weight loss products slotted in between videos of extremely thin—and often edited—young girls. A lot of whom are struggling with their own self-image and eating disorders in order to stay thin enough to be, well, appreciated on social media. The fact that these challenges are allowed and how these adverts are specifically targeting teenage girls too. The men that I follow do not get targeted by diet adverts, but I do based on the algorithm. I would sit with my friends, and we’ll see what comes up for us, and it’s completely different. That is sexist, inappropriate, and it is literally killing people. Eating disorders are the number one cause of death in any mental illness. We need to start taking that seriously—an eating disorder is not a vanity problem for a teenage girl where she’s just consumed with her own self-image. It is severe and deadly.”
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