Body talk

Have you ever been body shamed? How did you handle it?

Shirtless man pointing to his belly.

It used to be that women were the primary victims of society’s obsession with physical beauty, but in the spirit of equality, men too have become increasingly bombarded with images of masculine perfection.

For gay men, particularly, body image has always been a mounting source of concern, shame, pride, anger, dysmorphia and a host of other emotions tied almost exclusively to sexual identity.

Related: PHOTOS: See How This Photographer Turned His Body Image Issues Into Empowering Homoerotic Art

We recently asked our followers on Facebook whether they had ever been body shamed, and, if so, how they responded.

Check out what people said…

“Some guy told me two weeks ago I was a ‘fat f*cking whale’ and that I was disgusting,” one person writes. “I would have been more offended if he said I was a bad person. My weight is a result of thyroid complications and as much as it has affected my confidence, it’s made me a stronger person.”

“When I was younger I had low self esteem,” another person comments. “I was already slim but felt the need to lose some weight. I lost the weight, my waist was 28 inches, and my overweight partner told me I needed to lose more to be attractive. I internalized my lack of self worth caused by that comment.”

“I had someone ask me in a staff catering meeting whether I always went for the cooked breakfast,” a third guy says.

Related: How this husky guy overcame his body image issues and learned to embrace his size

But body shaming doesn’t only affect people perceived as overweight. Some folks said they struggle with feeling too skinny or underweight.

“‘I’ve been working out and eating like crazy to gain weight,” one person writes. “I’ve always been very lean. Female colleagues are constantly chastising me that I’m so lucky that it’s difficult to gain weight. People have different goals for their aesthetic. Mine is to gain weight.”

“I was too thin, too tall, not defined enough,” another person adds. “I found these sentiments in the LGBT community and at home from my family. I was called ‘Bones.’ I was so exited to gain 20 pounds.”

A third person comments: “As a kid a was very skinny and was bullied as a result. My mother alway said that beauty is skin deep, ugly is to the bone.”

Related: ‘You’re too skinny’: Body-shaming in the gay community works both ways

However, not everyone’s experiences have been quite so depressing…

“I’m a bear and I get body shamed all the time,” one guy writes. “It doesn’t really bother me though. Mostly body shaming is the last resort when you really have nothing to say.”

Another adds: “I was bullied in school because of my weight. When you reach a certain point you just don’t pay them any attention.”

“I use to let body shaming get to me,” a third person says. “But I’ve learnt you can’t be everyone’s cup of tea ??
And that most people who do body shame are the most insecure and clearly don’t deserve my attention!”

And then there is this:

All the way into my 40s I was compared to a Greek statue, now in my 70s, the body’s aged, but my sense of humor is still golden! When I get up and see my reflection in the mirror and Edward Scissorhands stares back, I’m just grateful I can still see!!!

Amen!

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19 Comments

  • JaredMacBride

    Never allow anyone else’s opinions to determine how you feel about yourself. Every body type is appealing to someone. Being healthy is the key.

    • surreal33

      Thank you! well said.

    • stevetalbert

      You might know that now as an adult. But as a high school and college kid i internalized it and ended up going to the gym and pumping up. Best thing to hapoen. I got so many more dates and started me on a life of good health.

  • KaiserVonScheiss

    I’m not going to advocate rudeness, but there’s a difference between not being rude to people and actively pretending that it’s good and healthy to be obese. This article is nothing more than thinly veiled ‘body positivity’ nonsense.

    I’m glad I didn’t listen to these people. I’ve recently lost 130 pounds and almost three shirt sizes. These body positivity people would still have me wearing a 4X and feeling like shit. I used to have problems with hypoglycemia, but I started going away after I started exercising. Eventually, it went away completely. Then I went on a diet and started losing weight.

    Again, I’m not going to advocate rudeness, but I know from personal experience what it’s like to be massively overweight. It’s not good, and it’s not healthy. You feel tired, slow, depressed.

    • Ander

      In no manner at all did this article advocate being “massively overweight,” or oppose maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Projecting something this article didn’t state has led you to miss the point entirely.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      @Ander: Well, except maybe for the guy quoted who was called a “fat f*cking whale.” But – of course – he has one of those imaginary “thyroid problems” that somehow weren’t prevalent 40 years ago.

      @Kaiser: Shame on you – you shouldn’t have exercised, you should have blamed The Gay Community for… um, I always lose track of what we’re supposed to blame them for. Pretty much everything I guess. (I’m surprised I’m agreeing with you of all people about… well, anything, but your comment is very good!)

    • dre_brown

      Something tells me that KaiserVonScheiss is one of those obnoxious former “fatties” who was body shamed and now that he’s lost the weight has no problem body shaming others.

      The WORST.

    • KaiserVonScheiss

      @dre_brown

      Au contraire, mon ami. What part of “I’m not going to advocate rudeness” didst thou not understand?

    • Ander

      Heywood, no, not even him.

  • crowebobby

    Why would anyone criticize my Adonis-like body?!

  • onaquest

    I get tired of hearing that men have it easier. It has never been my experience. I was the fat kid growing up, and have always struggled with body image. Yes, I have been shamed at every stage of my life so far. I am in my 40s and I have lost and gained weight back several times. I am currently on my way back down. However, this time, I am trying to be very body positive throughout the journey and not as focused on creating some ideal. I don’t think being body positive is the same is promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. I think it is about realizing that I don’t have to continue to hate myself through the process. I have good days and bad days. Unfortunately, it is always on my mind.

  • surreal33

    Gay men spend too much precious time mired in superficial bullshit. Love yourself and I guarantee you regardless of body type you will be loved, desired and respected.

  • robertkalin

    It certainly does not help that Queerty is obsessed with displaying men with ripped bodies and calling them “hot”. Your constant photo spreads only contribute to this shaming issue.

    • Heywood Jablowme

      LOL. (I assume you’re joking?)

      It certainly didn’t help that Michelangelo was so obsessed with making those homoerotic, ripped statues that are supposed to be “hot.” Ever since 1504, gay men who don’t have abs like “David” have been too demoralized to do much of anything. We just sit around the house eating pizza. Five hundred years of fat-shaming!

    • orfunnyhaha

      Truly. Queerty is Tiger Beat. Those who aren’t familiar with it are, well…

  • Luna1979

    I’ve never been body shamed. Idk why not, since people love getting up in everyone’s business these days. But no. I have absolute confidence in myself and my abilities. I really think people can see it in how you carry yourself and don’t bother. I would also probably knock them out if they tried.

  • abachooklas

    Body [more-specifically fat] shaming simply works. I used to be overweight; couldn’t breathe easily, blamed everybody else around and pretended to be happy with myself. Wrong. Totally not the case. I lost weight because my friends and family caused all these microagressions about me having a 36 inch waist. And let me tell you, it was very difficult, but easily one of the best damn things I have ever done for myself. Fat is not beautiful. There is math, data, and science to prove it all. Nothing about being fat is beautiful; the thought is only delusion. What’s beautiful about dying early, type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, clogged arteries, not being able to breathe, skeletal failure, crushing your organs, costing taxpayers more than illegal immigration, contributing to climate change [fat people consume more fuel and are responsible for greater greenhouse gas emissions], and wearing down our roads? Absolutely nothing. Body shaming is simply tough love.

  • Paganzak

    In my comments, I’m trying to avoid violating the Queerty Comment Policy. The title of this article is “Have you ever been body shamed? How did you handle it?”

    I’m a 60 year-old, medically disabled, overweight man. I’m 5’10” and weigh about 250 pounds, plus I have white hair and beard. I’m trying to lose some more weight, but having a disability makes it more than just difficult!

    I really completely disagree with @abachooklas, in the comments, above, that body shaming is “simply tough love”! It’s ok that he feels that way for himself, but to project it onto others is absolutely wrong! My weight issues are my own issues to deal with and, quite frankly, aren’t any of your damn business. If you like me, that’s great! If I ask for your assistance at any point in time, you can choose to help me or not! If you think for a moment that you’re allowed to try to shame me for any reason whatsoever then F U and the ugly horse you rode in on! Get out of my face!

    Recently, on one of the gay social apps especially targeted for a “larger audience”, a young, athletic man checked out my photo and then asked to see my private photos. I told him that, sure, I would probably share my private photos with him once we got to know each other better.

    Here’s our conversation from that point:
    Him: “How old are you?”
    Me: “60”
    Him: “Very Old Good Luck”
    Me: “I’m sorry that my age is such a problem for you. Good luck, you’re going to need it!”
    Him: “Lol go die old man”
    Me: “LOL! You are an angry little man! Probably trying to overcompensate for your shortcomings and failures in bed!”
    Him: “Ugly old man”
    Me: “ROFLMAO”
    Him: “fatty nasty old bitch”
    Me: “Most people, I would laugh with them. You, however, I’m laughing directly at you!”
    Him: “In this age you should go directly to the cemetery and die” *Note: I think he meant “At this age….”
    Me: “If you are only looking for a friendship like your profile claims, why do you care how old your friends are? Why do you care what their private photos look like?”

    I suppose I should have been nicer to him! He has that enormous attitude handicapping him through life! I don’t quite know what he expected to find when he cruises on a social app for larger men, or when he checked out a man with white hair???

    Do I feel shamed for having attained this wonderful age of mine; for being overweight; for being disabled; for having white hair; or anything that my young friend and others have tried to cast aspersions on?

    NOT FOR ONE MOMENT!

    • abachooklas

      He wished you well by starting with “good luck”, you were the one who had a microagression over it and somehow chose to take that as an insult and then you go on to insult him and call him a little man? You are the body shamer there. You are an awful person.

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