What do gay and bisexual celebs think about body image and issues? Here are some quotes to find out.
There is a problem with body image in popular culture and gay culture. Whether it’s in clubs, magazines, web sites, movies, Instagram, and more, muscular men are often praised in mainstream/gay spaces.
Then last week, I wrote about a study that suggested men inherently see other guys with muscular bodies as objectively attractive. For that study, the focus was on straight men and their underlying connection with masculinity and muscles. They unconsciously subscribe to the idea that a “real man” is big and muscular. Unfortunately, the same can be said about a lot of gay/bi men too.
But again, I realize that a big part of the problem comes from news sources like Instinct promoting this constant narrative that muscular bodies are attractive over all else. From “Instagram Hotty” posts to stories about superhero shirtless scenes. It seems that this muscle mentality is everyone. As such, this article one way that I will try to correct that.
Men of different and varying bodies are not praised enough in gay and mainstream culture. So as a way to start, let’s find out what some gay artists/creators think about the issue of body issues.
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My MFA thesis was on how photography is therapy. I did a TEDx talk on how photography is therapy. I feel so lucky to have met the people I have in my career & even luckier to create meaningful connections after working with people. @samsmith thank you for trusting me to facilitate photographs that empower your ownership of your body and mind. I honestly wish everyone relinquished themselves to the experience like you did. An experience that has brought us closer together & I look forward to creating with you through the years. All the love. Xoxo
Back in February of this year, Sam Smith announced that they wanted to reclaim their body and fight off the idea of having to look perfect.
“In the past if I have ever done a photo shoot with so much as a t-shirt on, I have starved myself for weeks in advance and then picked and prodded at every picture and then normally taken the picture down. Yesterday I decided to fight the fuck back. Reclaim my body and stop trying to change this chest and these hips and these curves that my mum and dad made and love so unconditionally. Some may take this as narcissistic and showing off but if you knew how much courage it took to do this and the body trauma I have experienced as a kid you wouldn’t think those things. Thank you for helping me celebrate my body AS IT IS @ryanpfluger I have never felt safer than I did with you. I’ll always be at war with this bloody mirror but this shoot and this day was a step in the right fucking direction.”
Since then, Smith has tried to be more open about their struggle with their own body image.
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A few months ago, I sat down with @jameelajamilofficial and spoke with her for her incredible @i_weigh movement. I know this sounds dramatic but this interview completely changed my life. Being able to talk so openly about my body issues and feeling so safe whilst doing it was truly liberating. I am so thankful to Jameela and her team for this opportunity and being so respectful and kind to me. It took a lot for me to do this and I was so nervous, so please be kind haha. I really hope this can make someone else who feels like me, a little less lonely and a little less alien xx
Live backstage with Years & Years' Olly Alexander in conversation with BuzzFeed’s Patrick Strudwick at Wembley Arena.
Posted by BuzzFeed UK on Saturday, April 9, 2016
For Years & Years frontman and actor Olly Alexander, getting over his body issues was hard. As he told Buzzfeed in 2016, he once tried to starve himself because of his mental state.
“I was stuck between this place of being really, really, really skinny and hating it – because I wanted to be muscly like other boys – but at the same time didn’t want to put on weight because that was bad as well,” he explained, during the Facebook Live event. “I struggled with it for a really long time actually.”
“It was the first time I was starting to have an awareness of my body and strength and (thought), ‘Older boys, they’re really muscly and they could do things that I couldn’t do’,” he then added. “I started to have body issues and not eating, like I wouldn’t eat.”
— Katie|JamFest ATL (@basicspice) October 28, 2018
Seen this shit on tumblr w like 60k notes. Lemme know when you guys learn that it’s weird to talk about someone else’s body/learn to love my body as much as i do 🤷🏼♂️ https://t.co/7JABkxNuu1
— troye (@troyesivan) October 27, 2018
If i seem pressed i swear I’m not bc i really do love my body and i have been hearing stuff like that my whole life but i DO want the retweets so i replied
— troye (@troyesivan) October 27, 2018
Sivan touched on the topic of body image and self-love back in 2018 when he came across a social media post commenting on his body. The post first shows Sivan in a white undershirt with the caption, “Why is this b****?? Suddenly a muscle daddy?!!!!! What the f***.” But then the post shows a followup comment saying, “Cindy, this a skeleton. This is bones.”
Sivan then responded to the post on Twitter by saying, “Seen this s**t on tumblr w like 60k notes,” he tweeted: “Lemme know when you guys learn that it’s weird to talk about someone else’s body/learn to love my body as much as I do.”
He then followed up with the words, “If i seem pressed i swear I’m not bc i really do love my body and i have been hearing stuff like that my whole life but i DO want the retweets so i replied.”
As for YouTuber Michael Henry, it seems a lot of his career has been centered on fighting against gay culture’s constant obsession with muscles. Not only does he frequently comment on the topic through his sketches, but he created a short series around the topic of finding self-love.
“This is the show for people that have ever felt out of place, misunderstood, or less than,” wrote Henry while describing the short series. “For gay people who feel underrepresented and for people who are trying to navigate where they belong in the landscape of their own community.”
He then elaborated further while talking to Instinct Magazine:
“It’s not an autobiography per se, he explained. “But a lot of it is autobiographical. I’ve always had a hard time feeling like I fit into the gay community so I thought what if I made a character that just decided to change everything about himself to try and be apart of that community.”
“This series is about trying to navigate where you belong in the landscape of your own community,” he concluded.
You can watch the entire series by clicking above or clicking this link.
Note: The first section of this article is the opinion of one Instinct Magazine contributor and does not reflect the views of Instinct Magazine itself or fellow contributors.