15 Famous Men Who Opened Up About The Unrealistic Body Standards Hollywood Creates - Men's Health Magazine Australia

15 Famous Men Who Opened Up About The Unrealistic Body Standards Hollywood Creates

Shirtless scenes, body-shaming and more.

Few body transformations are as striking as that of Hollywood’s leading men. One season they’ll be cast as big-hearted wimp, and the next, expected to transform into a broad-chested warrior. But for these men, you could say it comes with the job: personal trainers, nutrition programs, and supplements to their heart’s desire.

Sure, looking as much as they can like their superhero characters is definitely easier for them than it will ever be for us – but that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing.

Body standards exist for people of all genders, and they’re partially influenced by the kinds of bodies we see on screen. Those expectations of perceived perfection can make it more challenging for people who don’t fit them to find opportunities in the entertainment industry.

Here, we’ve rounded up 15 times famous men called out the body standards in Hollywood.

1. The Rock

A few years into his career as an actor, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was told that he should lose weight, change his eating habits, and reduce his time at the gym in order to “separate” himself from the world of professional wrestling. However, he decided to stay true to himself and “see what happens.”

He told Vanity Fair, “I think in that authenticity moment…a funny thing happened in the world of professional wrestling, and a funny thing happened in the world of Hollywood. Both industries conformed to my authenticity and allowed me to be me.”

2. Richard Madden

Richard Madden refuses to film “gratuitous nudity” scenes because “we’re projecting a very unrealistic body image.”

He told Vogue, “I find myself with actor friends — after we’ve done a kind of barely eating, working-out-twice-a-day, no-carbing thing for these scenes — looking at each other going: ‘We’re just feeding this same shit that we’re against.’”

3. Wentworth Miller

When LADbible turned pictures of him into a body-shaming meme, Wentworth Miller used it as an opportunity to open up about his mental health, saying, “In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food…And I put on weight. Big f—ing deal.”

On Facebook, he continued, “The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe. But as with everything in life, I get to assign meaning. And the meaning I assign to this/my image is Strength. Healing. Forgiveness. Of myself and others.”

4. John Boyega

With his production company, John Boyega wants to create films that are inclusive of people of different body types because “why do leads always have to be muscular and ripped?”

He told Hypebeast, “It’s about rebranding the way in which we are fed a false narrative of perfection.”

5. Jacob Batalon

Jacob Batalon said that he felt like he wasn’t able to work out because he was cast as “not a leading man type.”

He told Wired, “I feel like I was working hard consistently and all that stuff, but work got in the way.”

6. Jacob Elordi

Jacob Elordi said that he’s hyperaware of the way his body is perceived because “you learn quickly that what people take away from those movies is your stature and your figure.”

He told Men’s Health, “You have all sorts of aged people around the world only talking about what you look like. … I don’t think it’s really a conversation that people have in regards to men.”

7. Kumail Nanjiani

Describing the critical feedback he received after undergoing a physical transformation to play Kingo in Eternals, Kumail Nanjiani said, “To hear a bunch of people reaffirming my own darkest thoughts about myself was very difficult.”

He told Vulture, “It’s very easy to get obsessed with that number on the scale. … It’s a tough thing. It’s deceiving. You become obsessed with it. I certainly have, and for me, it’s not great to weigh myself every day.”

8. Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill kindly asked fans not to “comment on my body” because “it’s not helpful and doesn’t feel good.”

On Instagram, he said, “I know you mean well…Much respect.”

9. Ben James

Model and TikTok star Ben James said, “If we take a bigger framed guy and we put him in this ‘plus size’ category — that in itself is detrimental. … The real progress has to be made by putting those people in the front of house campaigns along with the ‘normal’ guys, the mid range guys.”

He told The Book of Man, “They should be seen together, bonding together. If we have a plus size campaign and a main range campaign, we don’t connect the dots, we think there’s separate places.”

10. Charlie Puth

After he was body-shamed over a paparazzi picture of him leaving the gym shirtless that went viral, Charlie Puth tweeted, “Just a very quick reminder that it’s not cool to body shame anyone.”

He continued, “Not entirely sure what the purpose of it is.”

11. Jason Momoa

After Jason Momoa was body-shamed for not having abs, TMZ asked him if he was hurt by the comments. He replied, “Not at all…Tell TMZ I’ll show you my dad bod soon.”

12. Simu Liu

After Simu Liu was cast as the lead in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, he was harassed by online trolls who’d “leave Chinese comments on my page…like, ‘Your face looks like a dog’s anus, you don’t deserve this role.’” However, he focused on disconnecting his self-worth from his perceived attractiveness, and he “probably became the most self-assured and self-confident version of myself.”

He told Men’s Health, “I have days where I really feel sexy and on top of the world, and I have days where I don’t. But more than everything, I can be at peace with who I am as a whole — my charisma, my humour, my soul. … What started to click for me is that I wasn’t chosen [for the role] because of my looks or my martial arts ability or anything other than my ability to inhabit a character.”

13. Grant Gustin

After people criticised him for appearing “too thin” in a leaked picture of his new The Flash costume, Grant Gustin said that body-shaming “pisses me off” because “I’ve had 20+ years of kids and adults telling me or my parents I was too thin.”

14. Justin Baldoni

Justin Baldoni, who spoke about his experience with body dysmorphia in a TED Talk, said that filming shirtless scenes “became a part of my identity,” which became a struggle because “I’d always felt like I had so much more to offer, but that was how I was seen, and that was also how I was making my money.”

He told Cosmopolitan, “Because I have my insecurities with my physique, because of my history, I’d put a lot of pressure on myself before I had to do these scenes. So I would get anxiety around it. This last season [of Jane the Virgin], I really didn’t get to work out that much. … I don’t think I personally looked as good as I did in previous seasons, but I think emotionally and mentally, I was a lot happier.”

15. Matt McGorry

And finally, Matt McGorry, who struggled with his body image after quitting bodybuilding competitions, said, “When I had my first shirtless scene in Orange Is the New Black, those same ideas crept into my mind again. I did some unhealthy crash dieting. And now, I look back and I think that’s really sad.”

In an essay for Today, he continued, “For me, it has required some loud self-narrating to challenge my own ideas of body image and to remind myself of those things at times. … I hope that discussions of body issues and self-criticism will become more of a conversation among men.”

By Nikolina Ilic

Nikolina is the former Digital Editor at Men's Health Australia, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she has written for Women's Health, esquire, GQ and Vogue magazine.

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