David Harbour on body image: ‘I’m totally tired of twigs’

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David Harbour sounds like a good guy to me. He’s fun and engaging in interviews and he’s still agreeing to Twitter challenges and honoring his end of the deal. David’s been around awhile but his popularity spiked with his role on Stranger Things. That role has also turned David into something of a sex symbol. David’s sexiness is for something that’s commonly referred to as a “Dad Bod.” Personally, I’m not a fan of that term, but it turns out David is. According to David, he doesn’t find “twigs” sexy anymore so he’s all for Dad Bods and any non-twig bod on screen.

David Harbour is proud of his “dad bod” and wants Hollywood to update its idea on what a leading man or woman should look like.

“I have a funny relationship with this dad bod thing,” Harbour reveals in the winter edition of CNET Magazine. “I sort of love it and the reason why I love it is actually very serious.”

“I do think that in a certain way, I’ve become a bit of a sex symbol for our time — there are articles about people digging Hopper. But I’m also a little big and a little chubby. I love the idea of real bodies on television. And I love the idea of making real people beautiful and loved.”

Harbour says he is “sick of these bodies on television that are impossibly thin” and that Hollywood sets “impossible standards” which he finds “narcissistic” and “cruel to culture.”

“I want people to feel good in their bodies, like I’m sick of twigs on both ends of the spectrum, men and women. I’m totally tired of twigs,” he says.

He concludes: “I want more big girls in leading roles. I want big guys in leading-man roles. I want them to be the hero.”

[From ET]

David’s mentioned this before, about wishing there were more realistic body types in the media. I agree. Not only do I want to see a variety of body types in a variety of roles, I’d like to see stories in which the fact that the leading man/woman was large was not the point of the story.

Oh and speaking of representing all bodies – here’s the first image of David’s Hellboy. I guess Mike Mignola wouldn’t sign off on a dad bod?

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Photo credit: WENN Photos and Twitter

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59 Responses to “David Harbour on body image: ‘I’m totally tired of twigs’”

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  1. Case says:

    I really like his sentiment and absolutely agree that ALL bodies should be represented on television. It can mean the world to someone to see themselves in a television character, truly. It makes a difference on how people view themselves and place value on themselves, and therefore is important.

    That said — eh, let’s just say that all body types should be represented and not call out the “twigs.” I know a lot of naturally thin people who were just blessed with a good metabolism, and don’t really like the idea of calling out one specific group for how they look.

    • Kitten says:

      Yup. Just say we need more diversity in terms of body type represented in media. Simple.

    • Spargel says:

      The “real body type” thing has to die now. I’m sad he hauled that out (and “twig”) in an otherwise cool statement.

  2. DiegoInSF says:

    Hmmm I’m not on board with the “twigs” thing. I’m naturally skinny and propping a group up doesn’t mean you have to put another one down.

    • OriginalLala says:

      Totally get what you are saying, but the pervasive focus on skinny body types as beautiful in fact props up one group whilst putting others down so while I don’t really love the term he used, I completely understand the frustration.

      He could have used a better term but he is talking about a system that has, for decades, perpetuated the belief that only small bodies are attractive at the expense of other body types.

    • Boodiba says:

      This is so true! There is always but always one or two groups that society feels is ok to disparage. I am not skinny but thin, however I lose weight when under a lot of stress. And it can take awhile to creep back. I remember being skinny shamed so badly once at a dinner I had to throw money down on a table and bolt. This from a woman who drank all through her pregnancy & had an autistic child!

      • frankly says:

        WTF does a person having an autistic child have to do with any of that?

      • Beth says:

        I’m not sure how she meant it @frankly, but I know drinking alcohol during pregnancy can cause a child to be born with autism

      • Lua says:

        …. drinking during pregnancy doesn’t cause autism any more than vaccines do….check your studies (not random websites, but peer reviewed studies) before you spread misinformation like that.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Drinking during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which can create physical deformities and mental impairment. Very different animal than autism, which has several factors contributing to it and isn’t fully understood yet.

    • Kitten says:

      Right. Also, thin was more in-style in the 90s. Nowadays, we see the hourglass figure–large booty and boobs–being the coveted body type. I’m fine with that, personally, but the bottom line is that without diversity, someone will always end up feeling left out; someone will always be coveting a body type that is entirely unattainable to them.

      There is so much variety in terms of body type–as a society, we should do our best to reflect that. No need to single out thin women IMO.

      • Veronica S. says:

        Thin is still in, IMO, but it’s definitely a much healthier thin (i.e. muscular) than the disturbingly bony, heroin chic of the 90s. We may have shifted away from the slim-hipped look, but the women with curves and breasts on television are still thin by most people’s standards. They may not have abs, but they don’t have rolls and they’re shapely.

        The problem isn’t thin women at the end of the day.
        The problem is that women always get judged first by looks and then everything else. They’ve just given enough ground to pretend that it’s “progressive,” while men have had to slightly up their game and remain otherwise unfettered by such feminine concerns as “sexual appeal.”

        (At least we’re getting past the model “moment,” though. It’s just grossly unrealistic. God knows, I’ll never forget being a very fit size 8 and being told by Nordstroms that I was still considered plus size. 9_9)

  3. Anners says:

    Yes yes yes to seeing a variety of bodies on tv and in media. I love British telly for that reason – the people are regular kinds of attractive and are allowed to have flaws, which I love.

    And hella yes to films with racial and physical diversity where it isn’t a freaking plot point. (Props to To All the Boys I’ve loved Before that seemed pretty diverse without making a big deal out of it – just like real life!)

    • nb says:

      I’ve noticed that too about British television! I love it. Personally it’s distracting for me when watching a TV show or movie that’s supposed to be about ‘real life’ when every single person is perfect looking. It makes it harder to lose yourself in it. I look around and I see my family, my friends, my coworkers and they are all beautiful to me but we don’t all look like models with perfect figures.

  4. OriginalLala says:

    Not a fan of the use of “twigs” but I also totally understand where he is coming from – I’m not skinny, not big either, but curvy and larger-framed and I have absolutely been body shamed my entire life for not being skinny and it’s so frustrating that the only acceptable body type for women is skinny

  5. Meg says:

    i have such a crush on him-love guys with that boxer physique. his super bowl ads were the best too!

  6. Veronica S. says:

    This post is just going to be filled with skinny people complaining about being called twigs, y’all realize? What he’s saying is true, but there are nicer ways of saying it.

    While I think the media portrayals are still pretty ridiculous, I do think it’s at least gotten better than it was in the late 90s/early 2000s. There was this period of just…creepily thin, almost anorexic-looking girls that was being pushed for awhile. That whole “heroin chic” look was in, and it was just gross. The new “exercise bod” isn’t much better, but at least it isn’t promoting starvation.

  7. Rose says:

    I don’t know the guy but I looked him up and all of his girlfriends have been very thin..
    I don’t know where I’m going with this but it seems he’s just saying this to look good ?

  8. Zee says:

    And yet, all these Hollywood men with dad bods who talk about body positivity for men always end up dating super skinny women…

  9. Kiera says:

    Personally I would love to see more women built like me. I’m not super skinny nor am I considered plus size. I range from an 8-12, have big boobs, and an hour glass figure. No abs to speak of but I’m super proud of my butt and my leg muscles. I used to be a competitive figure skater so they are super well developed still. Anywhos.

    I never see anyone with my build on tv/movies and I know there are lots of women like me out there. I can’t relate to super skinny people(damn your good metabolism) nor can I relate to plus size models like Ashley Graham. It would be great if we could show people who are in the middle.

    • nb says:

      I’m shaped just like you and I agree. It seems that most women on TV/in movies are either very thin or ‘plus sized’, not in between. I would love to see more people with our build!

    • SilverUnicorn says:

      Same as you Kiera, although no big boobies and I strangely have a flat stomach (always had that, despite having lots of ‘filling’ everywhere else).

      And I agree, I would like to see more representation for my body type too (found none at all, and I ‘devour’ a lot of movies per month)

  10. Incredulous says:

    Speaking as someone burly, I, too, could do with slightly less thin,borderline twinky dudes in things. Also chest hair, it’s there for traction, you know.

  11. Beth says:

    I’m naturally skinny, and I’m totally tired of being called insulting things like “twig.” He says he wants people to feel good in their bodies, but comments like his don’t make me feel that great. So, because I’m skinny, he wouldn’t find me sexy? Thanks, David. That makes me feel really good.

  12. Chingona says:

    I agree with the above poster about British television, I love that not everyone looks perfect, they could use more diversity though. I come from Mexico where I think it might be even worse than Hollywood on how beautiful the women are expected to be especially on the Soaps which are more like miniseries as they end. I would love for tv and movies to show all sizes and colors. To not make everyone look so perfect, like when the actress just wakes up and hair and makeup are flawless. Tell more real and relatable stories with real people, don’t just keep doing remakes or superhero movies, I love those movies but come up with new things please Hollywood.

  13. Electric Tuba says:

    Twig here. I’m tired of men and neck beards. Can’t help my body and I go to therapy to learn not to hate myself as a result of abuse. So I don’t know David, go eff yourself after you get all your precious “thoughts” out. You no range having doofus privileged white man actor.

  14. GreenQueen says:

    I guess the one thing I don’t get it is, the twig term seemed to have become popularized by the model Twiggy. That’s not her real name, it’s her nickname and people made her look, the Twiggy look, iconic and the standard that the rest of us were compared to. So maybe direct the anger at those in the fashion industry whom fetishisize the “twig” look instead of the rest of us whom have only been made to feel like fat and worthless POS’s because we don’t look like that.

    • cannibell says:

      Also, Twiggy (real name Lesley Hornby) was never able to gain weight. She wasn’t going for “a look,” she looked the way she did and the modeling agencies came for her.

  15. frankly says:

    I was super skinny all through high school when the ideal was Claudia Schiffer and Janet Jackson type bodies. Then I had a baby and was all, “Look at me! Boobs and butt! Yeah!” but by then the ideal had swapped over to Kate Moss. These shifts are all about commercialism and trying to keep 2/3 of the population insecure at all times so they buy clothes and makeup and luxury goods and anything else that is advertised as making make a person feel better about themselves. It’s gross.

    • TQB says:

      YES SO MUCH THIS – this is all about selling us shit. Whoever you are, whatever you look like, it’s wrong. Too fat, too thin, too dark, too light. They make up problems for which VOILA they can sell us a solution.

    • iabelle says:

      Yep I had the hourglass shape in the 90s. Big boobs, small waist, some butt and had insecurities about my body because flat and thin was the look. It honestly odd to me now my shape then is the desired body now desired now and women would get operations to attain it, yet I hated it at the time. I still have that same body but I’m older. So attract attention but its mostly younger men rather than older ones (think they were raised in that thin and petite is the ideal body). The media seriously f***s with ours heads when it comes to body image.

  16. Caitrin says:

    His intent here is good, but we definitely need to shy away from calling out a specific body type. Let’s instead celebrate the diversity of our shapes and forms.

  17. Betsy says:

    He’s not wrong. Exceptionallly thin women are still 95% of actresses on tv, and I am well aware that that’s a naturally occurring body type for some women, but I don’t buy that it’s the naturally occurring type for most actresses let alone most women, and in fact the very famous actresses seem not to eat much at all which suggests that for some women it’s neither natural nor easy. I’d be happy with the bar sliding to a slightly different midpoint.

    • ChillyWilly says:

      Exactly. And it’s easy to tell if someone is naturally thin as opposed to starving themselves.

      Most actresses and models are on a restrictive diet. The honest ones will admit that they have been hungry their entire career.

      • Spicecake38 says:

        The honest ones will tell but I’m always astounded at how many talk about their thinness being maintained by lots of water and enough sleep,and how they hate and refuse to exercise.(no snark to those who are naturally thin-I am in that category)I just don’t buy the Hollywood lies told by so many.

      • Spargel says:

        No, it isn’t. Not even doctors can always know the difference just by looking at someone.

  18. ChillyWilly says:

    Is that his wife in the silver dress? She looks pretty damn thin to me. I call BS, Hopper.

    • a reader says:

      It’s his girlfriend. They’ve been dating a little more than a year I think.

      She seems like a sweet woman so I won’t knock her. But having her on his arm does present quite the contrast to his comments, however well intentioned.

    • Julie says:

      That’s Alison Sudol…she used to have a music group or rather she was a music artist but I just googled her and it looks like she transitioned to acting. She doesn’t seem that thin in other photos but here she does. I do like her though! I had no idea she was acting these days!

  19. U.S and them says:

    I agree. It’s also weird when you have someone playing an alcoholic or addict and they look like they’ve spent the last five years in the gym.

  20. Kayzilla says:

    I wonder how his costars feel about that, since at least four of them (Ryder, Brown, Dyer, & Sink) are probably considered “twigs” by many people.

  21. Tai says:

    He talks a good line but he doesn’t walk it. The woman on his arm is a blond twig. The stereotypical actress/model type that actors always date. I remember seeing Freddie Prinz Jr on a talk show years ago speaking on dating hollywood actresses and how thin they were, how little they ate and how they always complained of being cold. He was really sweet and funny when talking about it. Yet he married the very slender Sarah Michelle Geller. Despite what these men say, they will not date ir marry a plus size woman because they are very aware of their image. As horrible as it is, they believe a heavy woman on their arm lessens them. Can you image Brad Pitt dating a plus size woman?

  22. Summer says:

    I like him, and I like what he says here. Is “twig” the best way to call out thin-centric Hollywood and media? Maybe not. But I feel this is a privilege thing. Like, sure, there are poor white women who can relate better to the black experience than rich white men. Still, their inherent privilege keeps them from full marginalization, and they don’t deserve the same sympathy. Same goes for skinny women. I’m sure some of you can’t help being thin and have been targets of body shaming/teasing. But you have no idea what it’s like to be naturally plump. Or morbidly obese. Not even close to the same thing and no amount of representation will change that. Fat is ugly to most people, period. To act like a super skinny woman gets the same reaction as a very plus-sized woman is pure fiction. I can name lots of “twigs” that are considered sex symbols, but very few “fatties.” So enough with your rage. Take a seat and listen. Comprehensive diversity is ideal but the marginalization of “fat bitches” is > “eat a hamburger.”

    • Claire says:

      Body shaming is body shaming no matter what your size. I’ve been called skinny my whole life by fat people who feel bad about being fat. Eat a hamburger? How about quit eating hamburgers and clogging up our healthcare system.

      • mel says:

        YASS Clair!! I am tired of people explaining to me how lifelong ridicule isn’t a real issue when it happens to a skinny person. Don’t tell someone what their experience has been. Being continuously made to feel like a freak from a very young age can cause lasting damage, no matter the reason, and no matter whether other people believe you have reason to be hurt. How about not competing over who “deserves” the most of sympathy. How about just not being a hypocrite. If it’s not ok to call someone a walrus/whale/cow then it’s not ok to call them a twig/stick figure/q-tip.

      • Spargel says:

        NO. I’ve been skinny and teased and shamed my whole life, too, but it’s NOT comparable to what larger people deal with. Society is GEARED towards slim people (jobs, acting roles, airplane seats, off the rack clothes, etc). Bigotry always hurts, but one is systemic and one is spite. Spite is easier for me to take, surely, than an entire system set against me based on my size. I have NEVER dealt with that and am thankful I never had to (and thankful as heck for my metabolism).

      • SilverUnicorn says:

        @Claire

        I get what you mean there but have you suffered of an eating disorder to get fatter than you were?
        I agree about body shaming (a couple of skinny ladies I used to be friends with complained they were abused because too thin), however as the poster above says ‘fat is ugly’ for society. There is no way around it. It is ingrained in us since childhood. I had my own grandmother taking food away from me as in her opinion I was too fat. In primary school I had stones thrown at me, ‘the fate of a fatty’. I had barely 2 friends at school because the cool crowd does not accept ‘fatties’ in their midst. I could go on forever. By the time I was 14 I had full blown anorexia, kept me company until I was in my late twenties when I got hospitalized and had to fight for life.
        At this day, despite my BMI is fine, I still see myself as a huge ‘fatty’.. However I am so old I don’t GAF anymore about being ugly, fat and unsexy.

        I agree Harbour should have worded his statement in another manner. However it is terribly true that if you are a size 4 you are fat by Hollywood standards for women. I wrote 2 screenplays; I can tell you that the casting calls for ladies end at size 4.

  23. Floatrn says:

    Just once I’d like to see a woman on tv with a little fupa. With some dimples;) I’m pretty sick of “ plus size “ models with a smooth skin belly. Sorry but Ashley Graham does t seem
    Plus size to me:/

  24. Spargel says:

    I long to see a greater variety of body types onscreen as well, but it must be said: there is no such thing as an “unreal” or “real” body type. Arg, stop with that! Unless you’re maybe that pathetic living Ken doll dude, human bodies are all real, and all types are valid. I understand what he means, but it’s a harmful message–erasure.

  25. Marianne says:

    *Sigh*Its kind of hypocritical to be preaching body positivity and then put down thin women.

    Yes, Hollywood should be embracing more sizes…but it doesnt mean skinny women are any less real.

  26. ladytron2000 says:

    So hard to try not to seizure from preventing the major eye roll at his earnestness. We get it, you’re a friend to fatties. Good for you. Whatever. We don’t really care nor do we need you to defend/explain/justify our existence.

    *does double take at his date* Wow. Hypocrite much, David?