Noel Fielding told the Sunday Times earlier this week that he “can’t put on weight” because he gets more work when he’s thinner.
He later clarified his comments but the new Great British Bake Off host had lifted the lid on a big issue.
The beauty standards imposed on women in media are nothing new, but the experiences of their male counterparts have often been overlooked.
In recent years, more male stars have spoken out about their struggles.
This week, Blue singer and stage actor Antony Costa spoke about the fat-shaming abuse he faced on social media and explained the pressures of showbusiness.
“Me as a bloke being in this business, it’s hard because you’ve got to keep up with the Joneses, you’ve got to been seen to have the six pack.” he told ITV’s Lorraine.
In a 2016 survey of more than 1,000 boys aged between eight and 18, 55% said they would consider changing their diet to look better and 23% said they believed there was “a perfect male body to strive for”.
The survey also found that the four biggest sources of pressure on secondary school boys to look good were:
- Friends (68%)
- Social media (57%)
- Advertising (53%)
- Celebrities (49%)
Despite the relentless pressure that young men can feel from the media, the survey found that more than half of the boys (56%) would find it difficult to talk to a teacher about their confidence and nearly one-third (29%) would find it difficult talking to their parents about it.
Here are nine male celebrities who have spoken out about body image and are calling on the media to change their attitudes.
After losing almost 50lb in a year, singer Sam Smith told NME magazine in October 2015 that negative body image has been something he has struggled with since childhood.
“I still feel pressured to look a certain way,” he said. “For women, the pressure in this industry is horrendous and it’s got to stop. But it’s the same for guys, even though they won’t speak about it.”
He continued: “I want to be a voice for that: just because I’ve lost weight doesn’t mean that I’m happy and content with my body. Because of the media, and because of what I feel I should look like, it’s always going to be a battle in my head.”
Yes, you read that right! Actor Chris Pratt – who plays the gun-toting, butt-kicking, ripped Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy – has struggled with body image, too.
In a press conference for the film in 2014, he said: “I’m sure I can’t relate to what females go through in Hollywood. I’m sure I can’t. But, I do know what it feels like to eat emotionally, and… to be sad and make yourself happy with food.
“And then to be almost immediately sad again and now ashamed and then to try to hide those feelings with more food. I know what that’s like. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s a very real thing.”
In an interview with Rolling Stone in 2016, talk show host James Corden opened up about how he dealt with his confidence in school.
He explained: “If you’re big at school, you’ve really got two choices. You’re going to be a target. If you go to school and you’re me, you go, ‘Right, I’m just going to make myself a bigger target. My confidence, it will terrify them.’ That’s how I felt in school.”
Corden also touched on his frustrations on the way Hollywood represents larger people.
He said: “I could never understand when I watch romantic comedies. The notion that for some reason unattractive or heavy people don’t fall in love.
“If they do, it’s in some odd, kooky, roundabout way – and it’s not. It’s exactly the same.”
Prison Break actor Wentworth Miller opened up about his depression after being the subject of an internet meme joke by The Lad Bible in 2016.
Miller wrote in a Facebook post: “In 2010, at the lowest point in my adult life, I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food.”
He continued: “It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through”.
Alex Sharp starred alongside Lily Collins in Netflix drama To The Bone, which follows a girl’s treatment for anorexia.
When Collins’ character is admitted into a recovery home with six other patients, she meets Luke (played by Sharp), the only male patient in the house.
Talking to Broadway World about portraying a man struggling with an eating disorder, Sharp said: “It happens a lot and I think sometimes – because it is under-discussed and a taboo subject generally – when it is discussed it tends to be more about the female experience, because it is more prevalent, numerically.
“There had never been a representation of that in a feature-length movie. So that was something I was very interested in doing.”
Iron Man 3 star Ashley Hamilton told People in 2013 that he had suffered from bulimia and anorexia since he was a teenager and that he used drugs and alcohol to control his food addiction.
“I’ve been free from bulimia for years but I still struggle with food, restricting or overeating. That’s been the hardest for me in sobriety,” he admitted.
He continued: “It’s almost like drug addiction is totally acceptable to talk about in Hollywood. But food addiction? Nobody wants to talk about that. It’s really shameful as a man to have that.”
The chart-topping singer told Planet Radio in a 2014 interview: “I was never really happy with my image and then I realised it was because I was eating fried food and drinking beer every day. You don’t have to kill yourself by getting into shape. Just eat right and don’t drink every day.”
Commenting on body image pressures in the music industry, Sheeran said: “There’s enough fat people in the industry and there’s enough skinny people in the industry and there’s enough ginger people in the industry.
“There’s enough of everyone in the industry, and usually the ones that aren’t attractive are the ones that do the best.”
Before starring in Orange is the new Black and How to Get Away With Murder, Matt McGorry used to be a personal trainer and competitive bodybuilder, which actually made him more critical of his body.
When asked what we could do to change the conversation around male body issues he told US TV show Today: “When we lock our boys away from these feelings, not only are they more likely to hurt themselves but they’re also more likely to hurt others and to be the ones who are policing masculinity amongst other men.”
Despite being nominated as one of the world’s “sexiest men alive” in 2009, Twilight star Robert Pattinson has still admitted to feeling insecure.
In an interview with Australia’s Sunday Style magazine in 2013, the Twilight actor revealed he suffers from body dysmorphia – an anxiety disorder that causes a person to have a distorted view of how they look.
“I don’t have a six-pack and I hate going to the gym. I’ve been like that my whole life. I never want to take my shirt off,” he said.
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