In response to a tweet criticizing the way she dressed, British actress Jameela Jamil, 33, responded with a powerful message: aging is a privilege that should be something women show off, not hide. As a cancer survivor, Jamil said she’s aware of the reality that a lot of people don’t get to grow old.
“I would just like to say, that as someone who has been chronically ill my whole life, and had cancer twice, I find it EXTREMELY offensive that there is a cultural taboo around aging,” Jamil posted in response to the male twitter troll, who originally commented, “You are too old to dress like that. Not a good look.”
That’s fine. I don’t care if you think I’m 78. Because I think aging is cool and I hope I’m lucky enough to be able to do that. Not everyone gets the luxury of getting older. And I think it’s a sacred thing that I cherish every day. My lines are my souvenirs. ❤️ https://t.co/314udDHVN7Read More— Jameela Jamil ???? (@jameelajamil) October 7, 2019
Jamil continued her push back in a thread of powerful tweets. “Those of us who fight for our lives and those who lost that fight young, deserve more respect,” she wrote. “It is a sickness of our society to look at aging as anything other than an achievement/privilege.”
I would just like to say, that as someone who has been chronically ill my whole life, and had cancer twice, I find it EXTREMELY offensive that there is a cultural taboo around aging. Those of us who fight for our lives and those who lost that fight young, deserve more respect. pic.twitter.com/5ulNSFAc4Y
— Jameela Jamil ???? (@jameelajamil) October 7, 2019
Jamil, who is known for playing the image-obsessed Tahani al-Jamil on the popular NBC sitcom, “The Good Place,” has become a vocal advocate for body positivity in recent years, garnering attention for calling out celebrities for airbrushing their imperfections and creating unrealistic images of beauty.
An example of Photoshop being weaponised against women: This is how we portray men in their 50s on magazine covers and women in their 50s. Look at the difference. Men who age are sexy in HD. Women mostly just shouldn’t dare age. Men can celebrate the inevitable, we must fear it. pic.twitter.com/XKykaZuiYf
— Jameela Jamil ???? (@jameelajamil) December 2, 2018
Jamil has been public about her life of chronic illness, including her celiac disease, food allergies, and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS), a painful disease that weakens the connective tissues of the body.
Jamil did not expand upon the two cancer journeys she referenced in her tweet, but she has shared in the past that two of her aunts and her grandmother died of breast cancer, and in 2015, she found a lump that she thought was cancerous.
“In the three or four days before the results revealed that the lump wasn’t cancerous, I did think – pardon the expression – that everything had gone tits up,” she told the British paper the Mirror in 2015.
“Will I Look Older After Breast Cancer Treatment?” Thinking Differently About Cancer and Ageing
Members of the SurvivorNet community often say that the effects of cancer and cancer treatment on their physical appearance is one of the most difficult aspects of a cancer journey. And Dr. Elizabeth Comen, a breast cancer oncologist and medical advisor to SurvivorNet, previously shared with us that one question she hears a lot from her patients is, “Will I look older after breast cancer treatment?”
“I think when women ask this question, it points to all these feelings that they may have about body image and what it feels like to go through therapy,” Dr. Comen said, adding that while many women feel that they look older during treatment because of the effects that chemotherapy or hormone treatment can have on the hair, skin, and nails.
A lot of the time, these effects are temporary, Dr. Comen explained. Hair grows back, and creams and medications can help restore the skin.
Wrinkles or no wrinkles, Jameela Jamil’s message — that growing old is a privilege that not everyone gets to do — is a powerful one, and one that women of all ages could benefit from hearing when they ask themselves the question, “am I too old to wear this?”