Aside from the casting couch, body shaming is one of the most commonly seedy occurrences in Hollywood. There have long been worrying stories evidencing the problem and now, sadly, we have one more example. This time from Sam Claflin.
Talking with The Sydney Morning Herald, the British actor discussed his journey from struggling actor to leading man. Claflin might be best recognized for his stellar roles in the #TheHungerGames franchise and last year's weepy Me Before You, but there was a time when he had to endure some humiliating experiences on his rise to stardom. He revealed he has been the victim of body shaming on a number of occasions:
"I read in an interview recently and I think it's absolutely true: men have it just as bad. 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."
Claflin went on to clarify that while men don't go through the same extreme objectification that women have to face with alarming regularity, the things he endured did affect him.
The Toll That It Took On Him
Ever since those experiences, in a bid to meet filmmaker expectations, Claflin spends a large amount of time in the gym while cutting his calorie intake to get as lean as possible prior to auditions:
"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."
As he puts it, this is a new problem that has come from society's modern beauty standards. He recalled, for example, #JamesBond not having a perfect physique in his earliest film adventures.
"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."
This isn't the first time the actor has spoken about his body and his self-confidence. Last year he posted a photoshopped picture of himself on Instagram, which has been claimed to be his for many years:
In the caption, Claflin stated that the image was not him from the neck down, but assured everyone that he was comfortable with his body:
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.
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.
It's horrible to know Claflin had to endure that treatment during auditions, but it's great to know he's finally feeling comfortable within himself.
Keep in mind, his experience is a reminder of the struggles actors constantly have to go through while trying to land that role. While those horrible situations won't immediately go away, hopefully Claflin sharing his experiences –– alongside the countless others out there –– does make people understand that body shaming is not normal nor is it healthy and good.
What did you think about Sam Claflin's response to body shaming in Hollywood? Let us know in the comments below.