Newsflash: Body-shaming sucks FOR EVERYONE.
Last night, actor and director Wentworth Miller took to Facebook to address a nasty meme attempting to make a joke about his apparent weight gain. Seriously. A meme. About his weight gain.
The Facebook page for The LAD Bible, a news and entertainment website, posted the meme attempting a joke I guess capitalizing on the actor’s starring role in the FOX drama Prison Break and his subsequent weight gain. Prison! McDonald’s! Get it?! It’s funny!
Miller wasn’t laughing when he took to his own Facebook page to address his shamers and let them know the story behind the photo:
BIG F—KING DEAL INDEED! Someone else’s weight is never your business! Sorry, Wentworth, I’ll let you finish:
He ended his post by linking to many mental health resources, including the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and The Trevor Project.
The LAD Bible responded this morning by issuing an apology on their Facebook page, linking to the same resources Miller referenced, and soberly promising that “mental health is no laughing matter.”
Mental health definitely isn’t a “laughing matter,” but they failed to apologize for what they actually did, which was make fun of his size. They’re not sorry they called him “fat,” they’re sorry they got caught! They’re sorry that they look like insensitive jerks for picking on someone who was suicidal. Will The LAD Bible continue to poke fun at people for gaining weight for reasons unrelated to mental health? Or have we learned a lesson that body-shaming is not to be tolerated? I hope so…
…Because we can’t ignore the obvious double standard at work here. A male celebrity is given the opportunity to defend his weight gain and his shamers apologize. Yet I can’t get out of my head images of tabloids depicting female celebrities’ weight gain, particularly, the media’s obsession with Kim Kardashian’s weight gain during both of her preganancies!
BOTH of them! You’d think after the first time they’d figure out that women gain weight during pregnancy? Gosh, apparently not.
The double standard is this: A man is given the benefit of the doubt to defend himself against body shame, but a woman’s body is still an object whose worth is lost when she becomes less fuckable. A woman who gains weight (for whatever reason) breaks a contract with society that she must remain desirable, or be subject to ruthless scrutiny.
I want to believe that the backlash against The LAD Bible’s hurtful meme and the support for Wentworth Miller is the first step towards a world where it’s outright unacceptable to make cruel jokes about someone’s weight. A world where we can be funny without being hurtful — gee, imagine! A world where we abide by my second-grade teacher Mrs. Driftmeyer’s urging, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”
I want to believe that…but I’m not so sure.
Top photo: Facebook/Wentworth Miller
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