On Tuesday, paparazzi photos of Leonardo DiCaprio were published in major outlets including BuzzFeed, People, Daily Mail, Page Six and more. He’s seen walking on the beach with friend Emile Hirsch in Malibu, Calif., both of them shirtless.
DiCaprio, who is 46, was described by multiple publications as having a “dad bod,” defined by Urban Dictionary as a male body type that is best described as “softly round,” and commenters called him “pudgy,” “flabby,” and said that while he’s “still handsome” it might be time to “invest in some bigger shorts.”
Celebrities being subjected to body-shaming is all too common. However, typically, it’s female stars who face the brunt of internet trolling online, as actresses’ figures have been scrutinized, criticized and mocked for decades.
But the response to DiCaprio’s beach body demonstrates that body-shaming is definitely a reality for male celebrities as well. And the Titanic actor is hardly the only famous dude to get treated in such a negative way — just ask Ben Affleck, Chris Pratt, James Corden, and, yes, even Jason Momoa.
Melissa J. Pereau, MD, a medical director and psychiatrist at Loma Linda University Behavioral Medicine Center, has noted that body-shaming happens to every type of person and regardless of their race, gender or sexual orientation, being the victim can have a severe effect on your mental health.
“The truth is this: anyone can be affected by an eating disorder — any gender, race or socioeconomic background,” Pereau said. “Teasing someone for their weight is never acceptable. If people knew the long-term impact bullying has, I hope they would think twice about their words,”
For men specifically, insecurity about their bodies is all-too-common (43 percent of men feel dissatisfaction towards their bodies) but, similar to their mental health, men often do not feel comfortable opening up about their vulnerabilities about their physical appearance. The results can be depression, anxiety, or even body dysmorphia and eating disorders.
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “Men and boys are often reluctant to reveal their symptoms [for body dysmorphia or eating disorders] because of embarrassment and shame, and they typically do not recognize that their beliefs about their appearance are inaccurate and due to a psychiatric disorder.”
So while it may feel harmless and fun to fire off a tweet about a celebrity like DiCaprio packing on a few pounds, you may want to think twice, as you could unknowingly be contributing to someone feeling insecure about their body, which can have negative effects on their self-esteem and mental health.
And this goes even more so for the people in your life, whether it be your friends, family, co-workers or whoever you else you cross paths with. As even commenting on another person’s weight is typically a bad idea, since you have no idea what effect even the most off-handed observation could have on another person.