After a picture leaked of Grant Gustin in a new suit for The Flash, people were quick to criticize the actor for being too thin, “unhealthy,” and not having an “accurate body type” for the superhero. Sigh.
In a rightfully heated post on Instagram, Gustin responded.
"So, here's the thing about this bullshit photo leak," he wrote. "It's a cool suit. That's a terrible photo that I was unaware was being taken, much less being posted. Some things need work and they will be worked on. We'll get there. As far as the body shaming. That's what pisses me off. Not even just for my sake. I've had 20+ years of kids and adults telling me or my parents I was too thin. I've had my own journey of accepting it. But there's a double standard where it's OK to talk shit about a dude's body."
Gustin went on to explain he's always struggled with his frame, especially because his body type makes it difficult to gain weight. He also admitted the stress of the limelight exacerbates the problem.
This isn’t the first time a star from the Arrow-verse has been forced to acknowledge body-shamers. In June 2017, after a poorly angled paparazzi photo was released of Arrow's Stephen Amell on vacation, people were quick to fat-shame the actor. Like Gustin, Amell fired back.
"So I take two months off after working non stop from July 2014 through April 2017," he wrote, "one photo shows up on the internet… And people take to my timeline to poke fun at my stomach from a long lens photo. Who the sweet (expletive) do you think you're tweeting at?!"
Both Gustin and Amell were criticized over photos that were taken without their knowledge and from terrible angles, but these facts shouldn't matter. We shouldn't be commenting on these actors' bodies in the first place.
Putting reality aside, Barry Allen is a speedster with a metabolism that’s so quick he needs to eat all the time so that he doesn't disappear entirely. In Season 1, there was an entire episode on Barry's calorie intake. He had to increase his consumption to stop passing out whenever he used his abilities. In other words, the comic book depictions of Barry with bulging biceps and a thick, muscular body are unrealistic considering the challenges Barry’s powers create. That's right: Gustin has the perfect body type to portray a speedster — or any other type of hero.
There’s no room for body-shaming in modern society, for women or men. In 2018, we're quick to condemn people who body-shame women (which is not a bad thing) but men are left to fend for themselves, which shouldn’t be the case. Men are also susceptible to body image issues and eating disorders, and it’s important that no person is criticized for their body and weight. The internet has allowed people to make hateful, anonymous comments about the appearances of strangers, which would never be normalized otherwise.
Let's put a stop to body-shaming of all kinds, now.