Photos of Jonah Hill on the set of his new movie Arms and the Dudes surfaced this week, and instead of wondering about the curious title, the world seems to be focusing instead on Hill's "shocking weight gain." Though some outlets have tried to mask their rude discussions of the actor's appearance by engaging in debate about whether he gained the weight for his role or not, let's make no mistake about this: talking publicly about someone's weight is fat-shaming.
The photos, of course, have led to the discussion of Hill's change in appearance in comment sections of articles and the inevitable barrage of incredibly insensitive tweets about him.
It would appear that somebody has eaten Jonah Hill. You b*stard, you. pic.twitter.com/n31zCIQaLO— Michael Rayner (@MickyyRaynerr) April 30, 2015
Really, Page Six?
Fat-shaming has become an oft-used phrase that describes a person, or a group of people, calling into question another person's weight. It can be seemingly benign — for instance, an article wondering aloud to a group of people whether someone's "shocking" weight gain is for a role or not; or more overt, like pointing out a celeb's cellulite while they are trying to enjoy a private day on the beach. Fat-shaming, however, is usually associated with attacks on women, but men can be, and are, fat-shamed too. The handling of Hill's recent photos is a perfect example.
One commenter on an article written by Entertainment Tonight wrote, "Finally an article about a fat MAN instead of a woman." It's absolutely true that we as women have our bodies critiqued more often than men, and it's tempting to be encouraged when we see a person that's not a female being taken to task for their weight, but being cruel to a man about his weight is not helping our cause.
Yes, Hill's weight has fluctuated, but whose hasn't? Imagine having to read an article solely devoted to how fat you look and discussing all of the possible reasons for the alleged weight gain. Having someone bash your weight hurts, whether you're male or female and whether you put on the pounds for a role or not. It's easy to use the "he's famous, it's what he gets paid for" excuse, but famous people still have feelings. No one gets in the business for the world to talk about their weight.
There's also the trickle-down effect that comes with openly discussing Hill's, or any other male celeb's, weight. Men suffer from body issues just like women. Not many guys will be able to look like Channing Tatum or Ryan Reynolds no matter how hard they try, just like there aren't a lot of women who have the same body as Gisele Bündchen. We send a confusing, unhealthy precedent for everyone and risk damaging the self-esteem of average males and females when we openly critique a celeb's body.
There's also a good chance that lowering the self-esteem of the average male might make some of them more likely to lash out and attack a female's physique. Doesn't make it right in any way, shape or form, but it's something to think about.
Yes, we feel a little hypocritical for having to throw Hill's name into this discussion, but we often come to the defense of female celebs whose weight is being talked about, so why should this instance be any different because Hill is a man?
We're all fighting the same fight. We need to refrain from cruelty at all times and constantly think about how our words make other humans feel.
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