We live in deeply conspiratorial times. Just look at our political systems for proof of that. It’s a sickness that has expanded into our everyday lives, from paranoid fantasies over the origins of the Coronavirus to labyrinthine fan theories about their favorite celebrities. As someone who has always been morbidly fascinated by weird tinhat theories about celebrities, their relationships, and the history of Hollywood, it’s been hard for me to overlook just how barmy things have gotten recently. Today’s creepy conspiracy to roll your eyes at? Let me explain.
The Good Place star Jameela Jamil is a divisive figure. I myself have already written about my issues with how she has talked over the voices of other marginalized women as part of her attempt to make herself the leading voice of the body positivity movement. She is clearly someone who has big ambitions and wants to mesh them with her activist desires, and, for better or worse, that’s gotten her a lot of publicity before she’s really ready for primetime.
So, instead of, you know, focusing on the eloquent and much-needed voices of activism who have offered concise and wide-reaching criticisms of Jamil’s particular brand of celebrity activism, the internet went f**king bonkers. Now the new conspiracy is that Jamil has Munchausen’s.
*extended beleaguered sigh*
Okay, let’s start from the beginning.
Munchausen syndrome, also known as ‘factitious disorder imposed on self’, is a condition wherein people feign serious illnesses, injury, disease and trauma as a means to get attention and sympathy from others. It’s a very controversial syndrome, one that a lot of medical professionals dispute, and it’s extremely difficult to diagnose. It’s also one of those things that pop culture loves to latch onto, especially Munchausen’s By Proxy, where a person imposes illness or fake sickness onto another.
Jamil has documented a lot of her experiences with illness and injury. These include her battles with an eating disorder and two car accidents. The Munchausen’s conspiracy kicked off thanks to one supposed journalist and writer, Tracie Egan Morrissey, who had entire Stories collections dedicated to the celebrities she theorized were faking their illnesses. As is befitting a creepy stalker liar, Morrissey, who is not a doctor, also claims that Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes, a condition Jamil suffers from, is a ‘red flag’ that further proves her Munchausen’s theory.
She also says that ehlers-danlos is always a red flag for munchausens when In fact many cases of ehlers-danlos are misdiagnosed as munchausens pic.twitter.com/9Np4IDm9qx— 🦇 Rachel 🦇 (@shutup__rachel) February 12, 2020
The internet kept spinning this yarn in the most ghoulish and ableist manner possible because they literally cannot help themselves. Jamil had to respond because, seriously, some things you just can’t and should not ignore.
1/2 Being gaslit over your health for entertainment is a very specific pain and trauma that a lot of people with Ehlers Danlos/invisible disability have to face every day from people who don’t understand our vastly under-researched condition. And to what end? Who wins? If I was— Jameela Jamil 🌈 (@jameelajamil) February 12, 2020
The whole conspiracy left a really nasty taste in my mouth. Chronically ill people, especially women, are constantly accused of making up or exaggerating their conditions by the world, and that doesn’t even get into how the systemic bias of the medical world often leads to lack of treatment, dismissal from doctors, and denial of much-needed medication. A lot of people with Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes don’t get proper diagnoses because their symptoms aren’t recognized by professionals or are sneered at as ‘proof’ of lying.
Who the hell thought this conspiracy was funny or in any way fair to people who suffer from chronic illness? It’s hilarious because ableism literally kills and apparently we don’t sh*t enough on the sick and disabled.
Remember, it’s OK not to tweet, world.
Header Image Source: YouTube // NBC