Matt McGorry Nailed the Men's Body Issue No One Talks About

September 1st 2015

It's no secret that famous and non-famous women alike face body image issues everyday, but men struggle with the same insecurities themselves. "Orange is the New Black" star Matt McGorry brought this often overlooked reality to light in a new interview with Yahoo Health.

Speaking to the publication, the former bodybuilder revealed feeling self-conscious about filming a shirtless scene for the Netflix series.

"I remember the first shirtless scene I ever did on Orange, I was obsessively dieting, and when I saw that scene before the show ever came out, I thought I had blown it. I was like, 'Oh no! I didn't get as lean as I could've.' But then the show came out, and no one said anything negative about it, and it's funny because from one perspective you could say, 'Oh, he's letting himself go,' but from another perspective, I just don't need that validation I once did."

McGorry added that he got into bodybuilding as a result of being "un-athletic" growing up in New York City. When he decided to pursue acting, he knew he'd have to shift his priorities and focus. He still exercises, but his eating and workout routines are different now. He enjoys going for hikes in Los Angeles, lifting weights, and boxing, among other things. While it remains important to him to be fit, he also knows his sanity matters most.

"After the world of bodybuilding and power lifting, where you’re coming out of one meal and thinking about the next one, I like the idea of just having two or three decent-size meals over the span of eight to 12 hours, and maybe a snack or two, instead of it being an all-day thing," he said. "I still love working out, and I think it’s good for my health, and I feel good doing it... But I think with mental health, allowing myself to be who I am naturally in terms of my body, I think that’s sort of practicing more self-love that way."

Earlier this year, McGorry's co-star Dascha Polanco opened up to the Huffington Post about her lifelong body image issues. As a woman in the public eye, she said it's important to use her power to help others dealing with the same struggles.

"I think it’s very important [to talk about it] when you’re in a position of where you are looked upon or onto as a role model or inspiration," she told the publication. "Young girls and women, we all need that sense of security and that empowerment, so it’s very important for me to display that. I think that I’m learning how to not make the insecurities a reason for me to not achieve my goals or go for my dreams, aspire to bigger things. I think that I still have those qualities but I am embracing them more and I’m learning to make those differences unique qualities as opposed to negative obstacles or thoughts. Weight has been an issue in my life."

Male body image issues at large

McGorry is far from the only male to experience body image issues. Last month, the Huffington Post published an article titled "I'm A Man, And I've Spent My Life Ashamed Of My Body" by senior editor Tyler Kingkade, and the piece went viral for drawing attention to this quiet but pervasive cultural problem.

"It shouldn't be extraordinary for men to talk about their bodies," Kingkade wrote. "We shouldn't need a goofy term like 'dad bod' to admit we aren't in perfect shape. Men don't face the same unrealistic expectations as women, but they still feel pressure to look better, and they're behind where women are in discussing insecurities. All it takes to change that is one guy opening up to his friends."

Male body image issuesHuffington Post -

Male body image issuesHuffington Post -

Earlier this year, "Jurassic Park" actor Chris Pratt told Men's Health U.K. that he battled body image issues during his days as Andy on "Parks and Rec." Pratt's character on the NBC show is a dopey but kind-hearted young man, and at one point off-camera Pratt told the showrunners that he wanted to be chubby for the role. It started off as fun, but he when he began eating four cheeseburgers during table reads and reached nearly 300 pounds, feelings of insecurity and hopelessness set in.

"I announced [my weight gain plan] to the whole cast, and then it became a bit of a game: how fat can I get and how fast can I get that fat," he said. "I had real health issues that were affecting me in a major way. It's bad for your heart, your skin, your system, your spirit... When I was fat and unhappy, the only moments of respite I got were when I was eating. I felt great shovelling [sic] food down my neck and totally negative in between. Now mealtimes are sometimes lame, because that's the way it can be when you're eating healthily. But all the time between meals, I feel great."

Pratt got back into shape in preparation for his "Guardians of the Galaxy" part:

Share your opinion

Do you think our society discusses male body image issues enough?

Yes 3%No 97%