It has become difficult to analyze what is more powerful: our own evolving self-loathing, or having Hadid sisters constantly pushed in our faces to make us buy things that promise to correct our grotesque shortcomings. But the effect is the same, we are all in an endless battle with our own bodies. No matter how many dressy infographics there are, Instagramable reminds you that “You are stardust; “ their subsequent media posts indicate that said stardust is more valuable if it has a six-pack. One place that always seems to have had more of a gray area, however, is the varying impact of these images depending on gender. While, thankfully, we are in a society that is (slowly) becoming plugged into the fact that gender is a social construct, female body image in relation to male is a somewhat archaic concept – but Hollywood itself. is an archaic kingdom. Kumail Nanjiani in a vulnerable confession of his triumphs and related struggles within this world seems to have perfectly exposed the nuance of gender bias in body image stereotypes.

All it takes is witnessing an overlooked Adam Sandler or gentle Seth Rogan being cast as romantic protagonists opposite Jennifer Aniston and Katherine Heigl, respectively, to realize that body image standards are largely overwhelming. distorted in entertainment. Much work has been devoted to rebelling against these patriarchal hypocrisies and nefarious norms, but it remains a reality no matter how many Women In Hollywood lunches attempt to tackle the problem. For everyday women, it is possible to achieve a more loving, body-positive society, but when it comes to our modern gods on the big screen, insidious fitness standards only help. part of the job. Hollywood stars are incredibly wealthy, beloved, and seem to have everything we mere mortals desire; it’s kind of in their job descriptions to play the part of being incredibly sexy because everything they do and have seems just as impossible.

It is in this context that the crossing with the male body image occurs. This is the ideology that permeated Kumail Nanjiani’s mind when he was finally cast into a dream role as a Marvel superhero. Enough to he says to the vulture, his casting in The Eternals sparked an obsession with becoming handsome – not just for the role, but also to claim a new place in Hollywood for himself.

It’s kind of crazy that a 2001 Jack Black comedy vehicle could be wise or prophetic, but it’s kind of like Shallow Hal—except instead of being magically seen as torn and physically perfect, Nanjiani spent over a year becoming IRL like this. And just like Gwyneth Paltrow was in the movie, Nanjiani is now being treated differently. He gets better and bigger roles – ironically as the average guy, but the titular average guys in blockbuster movies rather than the nerdy, ironic friend he often played before. He is complimented and flattered by the waiters. He’s calibrated at the gym. People look at it from top to bottom like meat candy in a way that a kid who grew up being called “chicken shoulders” didn’t expect to be. His candid revelations about his transformative experience sadly prove something we all know inside our carb lover’s guts: It’s rewarding to be super fit, and if you want to top the ranking of funny guys in Hollywood, you have to. watch the role.

It is also a lifestyle that has not only a Sisyphean quality, but a consumer quality. From what Nanjiani says, becoming a superhero was a physical as well as a mental process. He tells writer E. Alex Jung around an egg white omelet: “I know exactly what I weigh every day, and if I could change something, I wish I didn’t have to think about it. ” He describes never giving himself a day off at the gym, and in an Instagram post which was sort of a hotness announcement from the set of The Eternals, he thanks so many people for helping him shape his physique that it recalls the slogan “we need a village” usually reserved for the education of children.

But it is a cautious point that he tries to emphasize. He is a very poignant reminder to fans that his transformation would not have been possible without an expensive team of experts, paid for by a huge film studio, supported by a Hollywood coach already for six years to create the base from which build a safe body. . It’s a complex double message: on the one hand, he says, “Hey, normie, it’s good to be a little mushy. You’re just not famous, ”and on the other hand, he sort of insinuates that it would be impossible for anyone to get ripped off without privilege. It’s an empathetic way to announce your new status, but also a way to deny how much body image confuses our psyche, as normal people get in shape all the time, albeit without the help of a team.

The most upsetting part of Nanjiani’s outburst, however, is that people were bowled over by it to begin with. Entire discussion threads on Reddit were devoted to discussing whether or not he had used steroids. The trolls took advantage of the comment sections of his social media. And while internet trolls have become the new tree to fall in the woods, the number of them throwing hatred at Nanjiani contrasts with when other funny ones like Chris Pratt and Paul Rudd got in shape. for the camera and have become deep wells for those thirsty to drink from. “Generally speaking, a lot of the attribution of things that happens is sometimes that it filters the world, and brown Asian men are completely deexualized,” Nanjiani said. Vulture. He was talking about how his character was called ugly on Silicon Valley, but the same principle applies here when it got hot was kind of shocking to people. And that’s an unfortunate truth in the matter: the rude, racist reflex of suburban white America to a dark-haired man being attractive. His wife Emily V. Gordon added another perspective, which was that Nanjiani was the epitome of Nerd Revenge, a successful self-proclaimed nerd comic book. But by moving to the status of comic book hero, he got too big; he had betrayed them.

There is a thriving toxic masculinity in the story of Kumail Nanjiani’s body – a journey that should have been private but has become famous, the very reason he started training is fodder for everything. the world. It’s a Catch-22 of manhood – men have to be super muscular to be masculine, but that vanity is inherently feminine. Add in the layer that is the suppression of feelings by men that then show up in the dark corners of the internet, and the horrible layer of racism and you have 101 things plaguing America. Fortunately, because Nanjiani is first an empathetic and insightful comic, then a Hollywood superhero, he pulls out those contradictions and sticking points in a way that hopefully is helpful in advancing Tinsel’s needle. Town towards inclusiveness. At the same time, he rightly admits: “It shouldn’t be one person’s job to turn an entire culture upside down. America has always done a horrible, obsessive job of responding to bodily transformations, in a way that denotes how fucked up we all are about bodies in general. But Nanjiani stands up for his divine right to be sexy if he wants to, and while having the privilege of being a Hollywood superhero, it’s a rebellious act in itself.