Jonah Hill’s Latest Instagram Is a Refreshingly Honest Take on Male Body Shaming
The 37-year-old actor knows what it feels like to be the kid with a T-shirt on at the pool party
Last week, the Daily Mail did a typical Daily Mail thing, posting intrusive beach paparazzi photos of actor Jonah Hill surfing in Malibu. There are images of him catching waves, wiping out and changing out of his wetsuit into a sweatshirt. That last bit, in the Daily Mail‘s estimation at least, seemed to be the collection’s calling card — they describe a “clinging black wetsuit” and a “sprawl of tattoos as he went shirtless.”
The subtext is pretty clear: gather ’round and get a look at the body of a famous person who has openly struggled with his weight for years.
That might’ve been the end of the story. Instead, Hill took a screen grab of the article and posted it to Instagram over the weekend with a long, thoughtful caption. See it for yourself here:
Every single pool party I went to in my youth, there was a kid swimming in a T-shirt or rash guard. Everyone there knew why — even way back in elementary school — and usually, at least a couple kids made a point to make it a thing. For most kids, that sort of body scrutiny might lessen or change as they get older. But for Hill, it only intensified; he points out that those “childhood insecurities” were only exacerbated by the press.
If any adult entity can hold a candle to the crass, self-serving cruelty of a pre-pubescent pool party, it would be tabloid media. Good for Hill for pointing out this fact. Plus, as of late, there’s a special dose of hypocrisy to the whole arrangement. Publications like the Daily Mail post revealing photos one day, then champion the surging body-positivity movement the next. (On the same page of the Hill “article,” there’s a link to a video where Lizzo tells women they should feel okay about eating doughnuts.)
Hill’s Instagram is another important reminder too that men are just as likely to struggle with bodily insecurities as women. This can arrive in various forms. Men worry about hair loss, penis size, muscle growth, and yes, taking their shirts off at the pool or beach. The more we talk about it, the better chance there is of men knowing that they’re not alone, that their feelings are normal, and that being made to feel bad about these insecurities — thanks to a fellow 14-year-old or a 40-year-old editor-in-chief — is absolutely unacceptable.
Rock on, Jonah.
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