It's not exactly progress to think that actors are starting to have it as bad as actresses when it comes to being body-shamed and told to lose weight. We live in an era of smooth-chested superheroes and shirtless TV heartthrobs, and the response from fans has led to more pressure on actors to live up to that physical ideal.
Sam Claflin is a handsome guy, but he told The Sydney Morning Herald he's "insecure" about his body, thanks to being judged by The Powers That be on set, and also probably by "Hunger Games" fans when he was cast as Finnick.
"I read in an interview recently and I think it's absolutely true: men have it just as bad," Claflin told the Sydney paper. "Well, not just as bad but they get it bad and it's never talked about. I remember doing one job when they literally made me pull my shirt up and were grabbing my fat and going 'you need to lose a bit of weight'. This other time they were slapping me. I felt like a piece of meat. I'm not saying it's anywhere near as bad as what women go through but I, as an actor approaching each job, am insecure – especially when I have to take my top off in it – and so nervous. I get really worked up to the point where I spend hours and hours in the gym and not eating for weeks to achieve what I think they're going for."
This is a modern trend, Claflin knows, adding:
"In the '50s and '60s, it was never an issue. James Bond never had a six pack. He had a hairy chest. Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire had an incredible body but he was by no means ripped to within an inch of his life. There's a filter on society that this is normal but actually it's anything but normal."
Yeah, that sounds like the world of most female stars -- you are the piece of meat who exists to be attractive to the viewer. Nowadays, studios recognize that straight men are not the only fans they can make money from, so that just means the male body now gets to be exploited as well. Huzzah?
"It really is and it's in the same way as it is for women. When an actor is seen only for her physical beauty, it can be quite offensive. Well, it's not just men that can be inappropriate sexually; women can be as well. I'm in a successful TV show in a kind of leading man way and it can sometimes feel like your art is being put to one side for your sex appeal. And I don't like that."
Entertainment Weekly dug up a photo on Claflin's Instagram, posted this past December, featuring a model many fans erroneously thought was him:
This picture has been following me around for some years, and well, there are many people I want to thank for it: Firstly, the person who dedicated a lot of time and hard work training and sculpting their body to within an inch of its life. Seriously, well done! Secondly, the person who dedicated a lot of time and effort into resizing and reshaping my face so it fits on that body. I can only assume it's no easy feat, so congratulations must go to you too - for making this look even remotely realistic. And lastly, to everyone who actually believed (if even for a second) that this could be me. Wow. Bless you. Like, really, really thank you. I'm flattered. But it isn't me. It never was me. Don't get me wrong, I have worked out before, and I really like it when I do, but to THIS extent? Not something I've done yet. Maybe one day, eh? Right now, I'm enjoying my work, and being a Dad for the first time, and it's getting way too close to Christmas for me to spend any free time I DO have in the gym. But bless you. #dadbod #imhappyasme #imhappyasmeandyoushouldbetoo #merrychristmas #photoshopphonies
Sam Claflin can next be seen in "My Cousin Rachel," which opens June 9.
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