In a roundtable conversation with Tiffany Haddish, Elle Fanning, Jane Levy, Robin Thede, and Amy Sedaris for The Hollywood Reporter in 2020, Jameela Jamil spoke about often being offered “very sexual roles,” which she said she wouldn’t have a problem with if it wasn’t one of the only ways that female characters are given depth. “I am either the sexy girlfriend or the annoying girlfriend who derails the male protagonist’s life, and I’m so tired of that always being the case,” Jamil said.
The actor is also aware that it’s not just the movies in which she’s offered a role that have a problem with the way they portray women — it’s a whole lot of movies, period. “I’ve been watching so many films during lockdown and realizing how often that storyline comes up, that a woman is there to instigate difficulty for a man and she doesn’t really get to be the great comedian,” Jamil added. “I don’t want to be someone’s sidekick and I don’t want to just be someone’s f*** toy in a film. I want more complex and nuanced roles, especially within comedy for women.”
Jamil has also publicly called out the need for much greater diversity in casting generally, saying that there is still a lot of progress left to be made. Tacked to a video of her explaining why she created I Weigh, Jamil wrote, “Take some f***ing risks and hire on screen to reflect what we see off screen.” Very well said.