The actor best known for his DC role was recently spotted shirtless on vacation in Venice, and his current physique apparently came as a shock to onlookers. In an Instagram photo shared by Us Weekly, some dismayed commenters thought he was rocking what has been coined a “dad bod.”
Momoa was on a strict diet and exercise regime while filming for the 2018 DC movie, in order to achieve his ultra-fit “Aquaman” look. It’s not a sustainable routine, and it’s not surprising he would look a bit different — but still fit — on a family vacation. Still, the actor was on the receiving end of a steady stream of fat shaming.
Fans took to the internet to express their discontent with the body-shaming Momoa is facing.
If this all seems surprising, it may be because men are not often outwardly objectified for their bodies.
But online dating apps, which have begun asking users for their body types, are helping men get a taste of what it is like to be judged for their bodies. Are you “Athletic”? Are you “Average”?
“Dating apps cannot see beyond the superficial, so unless you want to explain your thyroid in your bio, you must select an option and hope for the best,” Justin Myers wrote in a GQ essay called “We’re Calling Bullshit on the Dad Bod.”
An increasing number of women are genuinely attracted to the “dad bod.” The bulkier physique is a result of lowered testosterone, which in turn strengthens immune systems and makes for healthier dads.
It also may seem counterintuitive that women who have been fighting against the systemic oppression of their bodies are jumping to ogle or admire male bodies. Some women say the difference is in the fact that men still hold the balance of power in most situations.
In an article about objectifying men’s bodies Kat Stoeffel from The Cut wrote, “‘Not being objectified’ is just one of the many advantages of being male. When we selectively revoke this freedom from body scrutiny, we don’t do anything to diminish the meaningful economic and reproductive advantages men enjoy.”
In other words, men don’t suffer any negative consequences from being “objectified.” Stoeffel argues that this role reversal isn’t about being unsympathetic or taking revenge on men, it’s simply about women forgetting about what men think and expressing their own desires. Women should be able to express their lust, even if it is counter-cultural.
But still, referring to a “dad bod” is a comment on someone’s weight. And shaming Momoa’s body is leaving others more self-conscious about their own.
Can we just let Momoa be on his beach vacation already?
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CORRECTION: A previous version of this story identified “Aquaman” as a Marvel character and film. He is obviously from the DC universe, and we hope we’re not now banished from Atlantis because of this error.