The Good Place‘s Jameela Jamil and Victoria’s Secret model Sara Sampaio had a lengthy and very public back and forth about the ripple effects of the modeling industry. Both made valid points: Sampaio on why it’s unfair to characterize all runway models as struggling with eating disorders, drug abuse, or body image, and Jamil on how the fashion industry’s homogenous aesthetic is detrimental to all women.
The Twitter argument began when Sampaio called out Jamil for characterizing traditional runway models as “long-starved terrified teenager[s].” Jamil had originally shared footage of a runway show that featured women of all sizes dancing. “Oh my god, this looks like the most fun, and not a long-starved terrified teenager in sight. Beautiful,” Jamil wrote.
Sampaio responded, “How about celebrating someone without bringing other people down? Calling runway models ‘long-starved terrified teenager’ is extremely offensive. From someone that is always preaching for body positivity this just screams hypocrisy.”
Jamil retweeted her, writing, “I didn’t say all models in my tweet so try to calm down. But I will say there is a *vast* majority issue with young girls starving themselves, and using drugs and cocaine to control their weight, to meet the very small sample sizes. If you don’t see that, then you are in a bubble. I also don’t preach ‘body positivity,'” Jamil continued. “I talk about moving away from all talk of body, in order to combat our current pervasive issue of eating disorder culture, which is in NO small way perpetuated by the extreme thinness demanded of girls by the high fashion powers that be.”
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“You didn’t say all models, sure, but you still chose to attack girls just so you can celebrate others,” Sampaio fired back. “Eating disorders, drugs and cocaine use aren’t a exclusive problem of models, it’s a huge problem is society as a whole. And when you talk like you know for sure majority of [sic].”
“Sara, respectfully, I don’t think this is the hill to die on,” Jamil responded. “This industry is unlike other industries in that it makes professionals out of children, and informs culture and society, and is a standard set for young people everywhere. Fashion is a dangerous industry for too many.”
Jamil continued: “This idea that you should just be cute and not call out what is wrong Incase it offends people… is why change doesn’t happen faster. We have to call out what is societally wrong/dangerous, however, whenever, we can, regardless of whether or not it is appropriate or comfortable.”
Sampaio stressed she took offense to the sweeping eating disorders and drug problems accusation, that Jamil was suggesting all models “have eating disorders and drug problems, when that’s not the case,” she wrote. “And about modeling I can for sure talk with more certainty than you. Sure that happens but it’s for sure not a vast majority. The point of my tweet though, wasn’t that one! And you know!”
Jamil responded back that she worked in the industry, too. “Um I was a model, and a model agent and a lot of my friends are still models and agents,” she wrote. “Who are all struggling with ongoing unrealistic standards of this industry you benefit from, which is why you are fiercely defending it, and asking me to not call out its devastating wrongs.”
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Sampaio responded she ought to broaden her body image argument to the entire entertainment industry too, “As is the all entertainment industry. And yet we don’t go around and say all actors/singer/ etc are on drugs do we? The point of my tweet was never this one! I didn’t think it was necessary to add those Diminishing words when you were so amazingly celebrating something so awesome.”
And Jamil wrote back: “I *constantly* call out the problems with the entire entertainment industry. It’s literally half my career, advocating against eating disorder culture promoted to women. Perhaps you’re new to my work. Your beloved industry is highly toxic and you’re on the wrong side here.”
Sampaio replied, “With all due respect right now it just feels like I’m talking about apples and your talking about pears! I think I’ve been very clear in what I meant.”
And Jamil then suggested Sampaio find another cause to fight. “I think you’re using your platform to defend something that is overwhelmingly negative for girls,” she wrote. “That’s the only thing that is clear to me. Find a better cause to fight for, because this ain’t it. You can do more than this, you’re smart. Help girls, don’t normalize this.”
The argument came to a close with one final exchange. Sampaio wrote, “How is saying to not deminish [sic] other people to celebrate others negative for girls? Cause that was the point of my tweet! Period! I never said there wasn’t a problem with the industry, so don’t go around and put words in my mouth! Be better than that!”
And Jamil responded, “Don’t police how I choose to celebrate something or call out something problematic. I was celebrating that it’s a refreshing change, compared to the toxic fashion show norm. I’m an activist. My words aren’t cute, or easy, or inoffensive. Change doesn’t come from being polite.”
The women both wrote more tweets clarifying their side of the argument to their followers. Neither backed down from their position. Jamil stressed that “I was calling out the shows and the industry. Not the kids.”
This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar US.