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 are 19 times famous men called out the body standards in Hollywood:
Some entries contain mentions of eating disorders and body dysmorphia.
1. Though Zac Efron was shamed when his body changed from his Baywatch physique, he no longer wants to take the extreme measures it required to look that way and doubts it was "really attainable." He told Men's Health, "There’s just too little water in the skin...And that required Lasix, powerful diuretics, to achieve. So I don’t need to do that. I much prefer to have an extra, you know, 2 to 3 percent body fat."
The process also impacted his mental health. He said, "I started to develop insomnia, and I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time recentering. Ultimately they chalked it up to taking way too many diuretics for way too long, and it messed something up."
2. When Kelly Clarkson showed Channing Tatum a shirtless picture of himself in Magic Mike XXL, he said, "That might be the reason why I didn't want to do a third one, is I have to look like that."
He told The Kelly Clarkson Show, "I don't know how people that work a 9–5 actually stay in shape, because it's my full-time job and I can barely do it...It takes two months to get really lean, but in three days you can lose it."
3. After 50 Cent's surprise appearance during the Super Bowl halftime show, a lot of viewers posted derogatory comments about his body on social media. In response to a New York Post article alleging he was using the attention from the "fat-shaming" to promote his new merch, the rapper said, "Fat shaming only applies when you're ashamed of your fat."
Sharing a screenshot of the headline on Instagram, he said, "I call this teasing me. They’re just teasing me because they know I can drop the weight. That’s why I laugh with them."
Of course, not wanting to or not being able to lose weight is also valid!
4. After Ty Pennington was body-shamed over a silly, shirtless dancing video he shared on Instagram, he said, "No, I don't have a six pack anymore or a luscious head of hair...but what I do have is wisdom, empathy, life lessons and at 57 years old, I've TRULY never been happier!"
On Instagram, he continued, "I’m human and I have feelings. Yes, I am older but I think it’s pretty cool...I have wrinkles and sunspots and grey hair but that’s okay."
5. 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."
6. 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.’"
7. 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.”
8. 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."
9. 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."
10. 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."
11. 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."
12. Jonah Hill kindly asked fans not to "comment on my body" because "it's not helpful and doesn't feel good."
13. 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."
14. 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."
15. 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."
16. 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 humor, 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."
17. After people criticized 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."
18. 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."
19. 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."
The National Eating Disorders Association helpline is 1-800-931-2237; for 24/7 crisis support, text “NEDA” to 741741.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness is 1-888-950-6264 (NAMI) and provides information and referral services; GoodTherapy.org is an association of mental health professionals from more than 25 countries who support efforts to reduce harm in therapy.