Jonah Hill on people commenting on his body: ‘It’s not helpful’

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I did not expect Jonah Hill to become the face of body positivity in the year of 2021 but here we are. Jonah is a good actor but he was always the side kick due to his shape. They also tended to style him as slovenly in films for the same reason. So Jonah started speaking out against such stereotypes. Earlier this year, Jonah posted a message about feeling good about himself after the media tried to photo shame him with some unflattering shots. The other day, Jonah posted another message to Instagram asking his fans to not to comment on his body at all – good or bad, stating that any comments on his physique were simply “not helpful.”

[From Instagram via Yahoo]

Many of Jonah’s famous friends and fans commented with hearts or applause. A few simply told him they loved him. I agree with Jonah on his body messaging. It’s the last two points that are the most important: it is not helpful and it doesn’t feel good. That’s hard to grasp because to a person without body issues, it would seem as though anyone would want to be told how good they look. But there’s a reason we use the term “struggle” with certain things. I believe that people who are complimentary about weight are usually trying to be kind. But when a person struggles with weight or their appearance, those comments get twisted in the mind. Of course, I can’t speak for Jonah, but I think I’m speaking for some, at least. So I applaud Jonah’s comments and I hope folks hear them as they are intended. Because I’m sure everyone telling Jonah how great he looks thinks they are making his day. There are other ways to compliment him.

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Photo credit: Instagram

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98 Responses to “Jonah Hill on people commenting on his body: ‘It’s not helpful’”

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  1. Lauren R says:

    I think it’s a great message coming from a male actor as well. Clearly he struggles with this and since he is on film everyone gets to witness his struggle in real time. Must be tough. I also always forget that Beanie Feldstein is his sister and she is also not your typical actress shape so it’s a genetic thing. Side note I think Beanie is pretty great in “Impeachment” playing Monica Lewinsky. But also they make her out to be more “slovenly” then Monica ever was.

    • North of Boston says:

      Beanie Feldstein is his sister? I had no idea!

    • Wiglet Watcher says:

      Monica has the cute figure of what college and an internship does to young people. As in you never have time to eat well and there’s never time to work out. Along with 90s styling I think there’s nothing intentionally slovenly about their version of Monica.
      Monica also had extraordinary input for the show and I think she’s fine with how everyone gets depicted. Good or bad. Right or wrong.

      • Courtney B says:

        Beanie is heavier than Monica was but I think the important thing was to get a good actress, which she is. And to not then make her lose weight to be more accurate. Lord knows Monica got enough fat remarks at the time. I don’t know what Monica wore that infamous day she was questioned for hours but they definitely had her looking sloppy, even with the 90s white socks and sneakers, on the show.

    • NotSoSocialButterfly says:

      I love Beanie! Does anyone know her given name (assuming, perhaps wrongly that Beanie isn’t her given)- I did not know they were sibs but facially really resemble each other.

    • Ry says:

      Completely agree with him. Why care about people and their body? We all fluctuate. Big deal. It feels really worthless to do that. What’s the purpose? What is the end goal? I’ll never get it and I don’t want to.
      Let him and everyone do what they do and live their life. One can critique his body of work but why the actual body?
      What an earthly realm this world is. We should rise above that bullshit.

    • Ry says:

      Completely agree with him. Why care about people and their body? We all fluctuate. Big deal. It feels really worthless to do that. What’s the purpose? What is the end goal? I’ll never get it and I don’t want to.
      Let him and everyone do what they do and live their life. One can critique his body of work but why the actual body?
      What an earthly realm this world is. We should rise above that bullshit.
      People kill themselves over shit like this.
      Or destruct. No idea why this post cane up twice.

    • minx says:

      I never comment on someone’s body to them. How rude. The most I might say is“You’re looking good!”

      • Shelly says:

        I don’t comment either, but most people do. You rarely hear “you look nice” without it being followed by “have you lost weight?”. Which completely implies you’d only look good if you had lost weight!!

  2. Jillian says:

    Is that his dog? A+, that dog is adorable

  3. Snuffles says:

    I totally agree. There was a time when I lost a lot of weight and my family kept banging on about it (they thought they were being complimentary);and then it segued into asking me why I did it. Some asked if I had a secret boyfriend I was doing it for. Which was even more insulting.

    People constantly talking about their diets and workouts is a pet peeve of mind. I can’t stand it. Like, what are they trying to prove? Who are they trying to impress? And I didn’t ask you in the first place so why are you telling me? Just do it for yourself.

    • SarahCS says:

      I once had a meeting with a supplier who commented on my weight loss since we had last met (already ???? boundaries?????). I’m at the lower end of the average range in the real world and it’s not like I had been through some massive transformation. Anyway, her face when I explained that I’d had gastroenteritis over Christmas and it was the sickest I’ve been in a long time (I couldn’t even stay standing for more than a minute or so), was a picture.

      • Robyn says:

        I had a school mum congratulate my pregnancy, to which I replied “I’m not pregnant, just fat.” The look on her face was so satisfying and now she avoids me like the plague.

      • Arpeggi says:

        I lost a lot of weight quickly due to depression. I got tired of people commenting about it so I started to tell them the truth. Seeing the discomfort on their face was pretty funny

    • Andie says:

      Same. I hate it when people comment on my body even in a complimentary way, I always have. It makes me feel super self-conscious.

    • Christina says:

      I just lost 25 lbs in 4 months because of depression. I look better than I have in years. Feel physically better than I have in years. But the people in my life know why (stalker, contentious custody battle with stalker, mom just died of cancer and dementia at my house, blah blah blah…. All of the woman stuff that we sometimes get…). My issues are out.

      Let’s see: be happy and fat or skinny with suicidal ideation? I chose the former, but currently live in the latter.

      Proud of Jonah Hill for saying, “please, just stop it.”

      • AlpineWitch says:

        I hear you, Christina. I struggled 10 years with anorexia in my twenties and people remarks about how good I looked ended up reinforcing my issues with weight to the point I nearly died of starvation and was hospitalised because my internal organs almost stopped working. 25 years later I am fat and happy. People are the worst.

      • tealily says:

        I’m sorry you’re going through all that, Christina. I had a similar experience! I never got as many compliments on my appearance as when I was too sick with depression to eat. It’s f-ed up. I hope things start getting better for you.

  4. Robyn says:

    He’s absolutely right about this – bodies are not for commenting on, regardless of intent. Losing weight, just like gaining weight, can be the result of illness or trauma. Thinness is not (and should never be) the goal. There are a multitude of other things to compliment or remark on that are not a person’s body.

    • Size Does Matter says:

      I have a personal story illustrating your very good point. When my mom died from breast cancer 11 years ago I starting seeing a grief counselor. After regular sessions for a year or two I stopped and later started again. One of the issues we had discussed was my husband’s obesity and my own issues with eating. When we resumed he had lost quite a bit of weight and I commented on it, assuming he had made diet/exercise changes. Turned out he had terminal cancer himself and later died. I didn’t know he was sick until I read his obituary and feel horrible to this day for making that comment.

      • BothSidesNow says:

        @ Size Does Matter, I am incredibly sorry for you loss and the circumstances that played out. Please allow yourself forgiveness as you had no idea, as well as the fact he kept this hidden from you. But on another note, I am incredibly sorry for the losses you have had to endure. Losing a parent is expected but not a spouse, until a certain age.

      • Robyn says:

        I’m so sorry for your loss – it never truly goes away. Please don’t be too hard on yourself about your comment. When we know better, we do better. Much love to you.

      • Christina says:

        Oh, honey!

        Sending you a big hug!! Please don’t feel bad about something you could not have known. He should have told you, but he didn’t. That is not your fault. You have suffered so much loss.

      • Nicole r says:

        The grief counselor died from cancer, not the husband.

    • myjobistoprincess says:

      You’re absolutely right. I always kept my mouth shut about people’s bodyweight, and I dont want people to comment on my kids’ weight and it triggers me to hear people commenting on children’s weight in general. I’ve also understood that shouldnt ask people if they want to have kids. From what my childrenfree friends have confided in me, it can make them sad, and feel the same way Jonah talks about his weight. Those questions, comments, advice, are not helping and it doesnt make them feel good.

  5. Tris says:

    Whenever I lose a lot of weight, it is because I’m sick. I hate it when people start “complimenting” me — as if the healthy me is not attractive because I’m a few pounds overweight. Glad he’s speaking up.

  6. Wiglet Watcher says:

    Only when weight is a serious health concern should it be addressed with that person directly.

    • OriginalLala says:

      If a person’s weight is out of control, they don’t need you to comment on it, they’re aware.

      What they do need is a caring and empathetic friend who is there for them in case they want to discuss it with you, but unless you’re their MD, you don’t need to ever “address” someone’s weight – it never comes off as concern, only condescension.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Unless you are that person’s MD and they’ve asked you about it, there’s no reason to mention weight.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      Years ago I gained weight after going on anti-depressants. I couldn’t afford to buy a fridge for like a year. I also have a bad back. People made comments about it and it wasn’t helpful.
      What was helpful was when someone gave me a fridge and years later when my GP helped me find an affordable physiotherapist.
      Weight isn’t the only indicator of health and you don’t know the what factors impact a persons weight. Being kind and caring and make someone feel loved does way more for their well being than commenting on their weight.

    • Izzy says:

      Only when you are that person’s treating physician should their weight be addressed directly with them. There, I fixed it for you.

  7. OriginalLala says:

    “Never Comment On Someone’s Body” – this is a good mantra to learn, for everyone.

  8. L84Tea says:

    I agree with him 100%. I have had my ups and downs with weight loss, sometimes having lost quite a lot. One might think that you’re dying to hear “you look so great!” all the time, but for me personally, it does nothing but make me cringe. It’s one of those reminders that people might have thought you looked terrible before, at least that’s how it feels in my head. It also makes me hyper-aware that I’m being looked at or examined. NOT a good feeling at all. I know people usually mean it as a compliment and aren’t trying to be offensive, but yeah, sometimes it’s better to simply not comment on peoples’ bodies, period. For people who struggle with weight and weight loss, there’s A LOT happening inside that people never see.

    • Marion says:

      This exactly!!
      I lost quite a bit of weight and got my share of “You look so great now” which was pretty hurtful because of all that is implied in those kind of remarks. Because, even though you lose weight, you’re still the same person inside and I was still this insecure woman, with or without the weight. It really hurt to get the feeling I was “more interesting” to people now that I’d lost weight and to be considered just as a body and not a real person.

  9. Michelle says:

    Holy hell finally! I’ve had to have this conversation with family members repeatedly. Commenting not only doesn’t help, it encourages me to self sabotage. Yes, I understand I have elements to work on. But also yes, those around me can assist by keeping their comments to themselves.

  10. stephka says:

    I agree with the not commenting on people’s bodies but why is he posting those full-length mirror shots? Perhaps to show off his shirts? It’s a bit confusing.

    • Robyn says:

      This comment is a bit confusing. He can take a picture of his entire body and post it simply because it’s his and he wants to.

      • Cindy says:

        More specifically he’s taking pictures of his body and posting them on a platform whos soul purpose is to allow others to comment. Do you get it now?

      • Robyn says:

        @cindy It still is not an invitation and does not mean he should be okay with unsolicited comments about his body. That is the entire point of his comments about this. Do you get it now?

      • stephka says:

        I meant what Cindy explained. Social media seems to be all about commenting on others’ appearances. It just causes some cognitive dissonance.

      • Emma says:

        He’s posting to say hi to his followers, and give them a glimpse into his day. He’s not posting to invite bullying or rude comments. Social media is about conversation and interaction, not “please tell me how fat you think I am” just because he shares a selfie.

    • L84Tea says:

      So because his whole body happens to be in the photo it’s automatically all about his body?? You don’t think it might be the outfit/clothes?

  11. Eating Popcorn says:

    I had no idea Jonah Hill had so much ink…

    • BothSidesNow says:

      Neither did I!! That they was what I noticed, so when I was reading the post, I didn’t realize he had lost weight either as I don’t follow him no is he in my top 10.

  12. Maggie says:

    I feel like he’s been intentionally inviting these comments because he’s created the narrative and given interviews regarding his body changes. But he rubs me the wrong way anyway.

    • L84Tea says:

      Intentionally inviting these comments? I’ve seen him simply minding his own business and happened to be losing weight along the way. It got mentioned in interviews because people asked him about it. Just because we all noticed doesn’t mean he invited it. You can’t blame HIM for other people choosing to use their words and say things to him about his body.

    • Robyn says:

      It’s always so interesting to me when folks deflect to the person being harmed for “creating the narrative” rather than examining their own role in perpetuating it. This is especially true of anti-fat bias.

      • L84Tea says:

        Exactly. This is NOT on him. People have to be responsible for what comes out of their own mouths. And if a person is telling you point blank “please don’t say those things to me because it’s harmful to me”, then it’s your job to zip your lip and respect their wishes. I’m not going to come back at them like “well you lost weight so you must WANT me to say something to you about it.” It’s ludicrous.

      • Same says:

        I can’t wait to see if we carry this same energy along on other threads.

      • Robyn says:

        @same I do, and depending on who it is, am either agreed with or eviscerated. Or, in recent one case, told that saying fat people can absolutely be healthy is the same as saying smoking is healthy. Lots of unexamined anti-fat bias everywhere, but at least some folks here are truly listening and learning.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        @Same: Good point. When immodest women try to say things like this, it’s called ‘playing teh victim1′, and the response is “that’s what they get for putting themselves out there.”

  13. Driver8 says:

    I have body dysmorphia, so any comment good or bad sends me into a weird spiral. I’m happy Jonah is speaking up. It’s an important discussion to have.

  14. MarcelMarcel says:

    I really appreciate this message! At this point in my life I basically wearing smock dresses and loose clothing because comments on my weight are stressful. Being told I’ve lost weight just me feels just as self conscious as being told I’ve gained weight.
    It’d be even more stressful to experience in the public eye like Jonah Hill has. I love how he’s creating healthy boundaries by posting this.

  15. Va Va Kaboom says:

    Nevermind

  16. Nudge says:

    I have a thyroid condition that causes my weight to yo-yo quite a bit that is outside of my control. And i really hate it when people praise me for losing weight because all it does it make me wonder what they’re thinking but not saying in times when I’m heavier. It makes me feel self-conscious, monitored, and judged.

    There are lots of ways to complement someone on things within their control! Their style, clothing, humor, etc.

  17. Bettyrose says:

    Seeing this online yesterday it was nice to see all the kind responses and genuine concern. But I think they were mostly from women. I suppose it’s good that if men have nothing nice to say they say nothing at all. But I couldn’t help but imagine the horrible comments that would have ensued from a woman making a similar statement. Not to detract from Jonah’s message. He’s an ally for body positivity and I have no doubt he supports women in similar struggles.

    • Same says:

      You’re not wrong. My guess is we would have had a much different reaction had it been a Kardashian or God forbid…a Middleton. Those types would definitely have “deserved” it because a, b, or c.

    • Scal says:

      This. What I hope men learn from this and from the comments about Kumali is that this is what women have to deal with ALL THE TIME. Esp female celebrities.

      Not that it makes the comments okay, but a lot of the same people out there (not so much on CB) cheer for Jonah and kumali are the same people that slag off on plus sized models or Lena Dunham or Angelina Jolie for being to thing or Adele for losing to much weight.

    • Otaku fairy says:

      Jonah Hill also has a problematic adult history. If he were a woman or young girl, almost any problematic behavior would be used to minimize any unhealthy and violating thing anybody wanted to say about the outside or inside of her body moving forward.

  18. Stacy Dresden says:

    He is one hell of an actor. I hope he maintains his health and well-being.

  19. Mimi says:

    As someone who struggles with weight issues I appreciate him saying this. It’s true. It isn’t helpful. It’s annoying, rude, and straight up mean tbh. I gained weight years ago that I haven’t been able to shed (due to anti depressants, depression, etc). DO NOT COMMENT ON PPLS’ weight.

  20. Ksweet says:

    Just to echo, when people, especially those I care about, congratulate me or tell me they’re proud of me when I’ve lost weight, all I can hear is how ashamed of me they must be when I’m heavy. How ugly and awful I must have looked, to get this much excitement from them. And eventually I am always heavy again.

    • L4frimaire says:

      Losing weight and gaining it back is so complicated, both mentally and physically. It’s almost like you’re in this holding pattern. The complements don’t always feel good and it does make you question how you were viewed before the weight loss. When you gain some or all of it back, it feels like a giant scarlet letter. You rarely hear from men like Hill about their issues with their bodies and weight, but a lot of tabloids have been going at him for a while, and it gets to people. Also, it affects his career and the types of roles he may get. Even Kumail Nanjiani, who got really muscled up and ripped for his Marvel role , has body issues.

    • Mimi says:

      Exactly. 💯 goes for me as well. It’s very discouraging and hurtful

  21. Jan90067 says:

    I thought that was a sun-bleached Matthew McConaughey! Totally surprised it was Jonah Hill.

    Thing that struck me was how this conversation is taken as “normal” when it’s a woman/actress; her body is examined left, right, and sideways (did she gain/loose? plastic surgery? fillers? Botox??), and it’s taken as “well, this is her business, to have a good body, if she’s putting the pic out, then it’s fair game to comment”.

    And yet, JH puts out a pic, it’s: “No one should comment on body/wt. loss. It *could* be about the CLOTHES”.

    But if he puts out PUBLIC pics on SM, it’s fair. Should we comment? Maybe not. But people WILL comment in a public place.

    Since it bothers him, let him make his personal SM private. Or better yet, on anything work related, SHUT OFF the comments.

    (An FYI: I am someone who’s been obese most of my life. 15 yrs ago I had gastric surgery. I took off 100 in 2 yrs, then an addition 40 over 5 yrs. and in the last 7 yrs. another 40. So I know ALL about the comments, pos. and neg. I’m just saying, people WILL comment, it’s human nature to notice change.)

    • Same says:

      apparently we like Jonah Hill — because we talk shit about people’s bodies, hair, botox, torso, legs, boobs, etc. all day, every day…

    • Robyn says:

      Some of us carry the same energy about people’s bodies and appearance across every thread – I think that’s the point here. Let’s examine why it’s “okay” to comment on some folks but not others.

  22. AmelieOriginal says:

    I haven’t paid attention to him in years so I had no idea he had lost weight. I don’t even recognize him, his face looks so different. He looks like a completely different person to me. Also his hair is a lot lighter (or maybe he’s just going gray?) and I remember him being cleanshaven, not this scraggly beard/hair look he’s got going on. If I passed by him on the street, I’d have no idea that was Jonah Hill! I understand not wanting to comment on his body, welcome to being a woman Jonah. It makes you feel so vulnerable and fragile when someone comments on your appearance that way. I lost a significant amount of weight in my early 20s due to depression and everyone thought I had an eating disorder (turns out being super depressed steals my appetite). But I think it’s human when someone looks so radically different, you don’t even recognize them to act surprised. It takes a second to adjust when you aren’t expecting someone to look drastically different.

  23. PPP says:

    There is a clip of a French talk show host being absolutely vicious to him in telling him how unattractive she finds him. And I think at that time there were a slew of moments like this for him, maybe during money all? I remember there being a compilation of interviewers being mean to him. I think people think because they are dudes it doesn’t hurt, but that French interview hurt ME it was so awful, and he is like struggling to respond politely/professionally. I’ve had a real “must protect” feeling towards him since then.

  24. Shawna says:

    When I went from a size 8/10 to a 4, my family kept complimenting me obsessively. It’s like, what were you thinking about me BEFORE if you think you have to say things like that constantly now? Now I’m back to an even bigger size than before, and they won’t comment on my body with a ten-foot pole, as it were. Lol. I can tell they’re horrified by my body now, just by their silence. My social excuse could be, “I had a baby,” but the reality is, it’s just stress-eating. But as other posters have said, no one wants to talk about the real issues here (in my case, post-partum anxiety disorder and then COVID isolation)… easier to compliment thinness, if it’s there.

  25. K says:

    I started with bulimia and anorexia at age 11. It has been 30 yrs. I can 100 % say I took ANY comment, whether positive or negative and used it to continue to hurt myself. I know exactly what JH means. It’s just hard for other people who don’t have these issues to understand. I wish so much that none of this mattered.

    • Molly says:

      A lot of people don’t understand the “don’t compliment me, either” aspect of it. Because how can complimenting someone be bad?

      You’ve explained that so well here, so thank you.

      I was out with a friend a few years ago and she ran into an acquaintance of hers. She did the “up-down”, eyes wide body survey and gasped, “Have you been dieting and working out? You look great! You have to tell us your secret.”

      She glanced at me, then back at my friend, took a shaky breath and said, “I have lung cancer and haven’t been able to stomach solid food in over a month.”

      It was unbelievably awkward, and my friend was actually sputtering mad about it, like, “HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW SHE HAD CANCER???” I said now you know: Don’t comment on peoples’ weight. Ever. Lesson learned.

    • Mustlovedogs says:

      @K totally agree and well said. As person with a history of an ED, now at almost 60, it still haunts me. What people don’t realise is that the internal dialogue of an ED/BDD about weight and appearance is even more judgemental, vicious and controlling than external comments from others could ever be. But that external commentary feeds and build the internal one (either by reinforcing the positive or negative perceptions of self) , making it all so much worse. ..

  26. Coco says:

    Is anyone interested in making a Richard Dreyfus biopic? Because Jonah Hill is clearly the star for it.

  27. Gubbinal says:

    He is absolutely correct. Comments on my body have never been helpful == not when I was young and slender and not when I was middle-aged and plump and not now that I am a happily fat geriatric. I try to remember to say to people; “It’s great to see you!” as opposed to “You are looking good”.

    Along the way I had about 500 alerts from people to inform me that I was gaining weight as if I had not noticed. Or all of the people who tell me that I COULD be pretty if I lost weight.

    Jonah Hill and Jamie Lee Curtis have done a lot to make me feel better about “society” lately.

  28. Molly says:

    My personal rule is to never, ever, EVER comment on someone’s weight. Gain, loss, or otherwise.

    Back when she was in 8th grade, my daughter caught a vicious tummy bug that just would not let go. In the span of about 10 days, she dropped about 12 pounds. I got worried — that was a big percentage of her body weight at the time! — and took her to her pediatrician.

    Her doc did the “eh, she’s fine” thing, but then made a production of pointing out how my daughter was now in a “better” percentile, growth chart-wise.

    The first teacher she saw when she returned to school gasped and gushed, “You lost some weight, you look so GOOD!”

    Even professionals who should damn well know better respond in utterly horrifying ways to weight loss…

  29. Nicole says:

    Wear sunscreen.

  30. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Everyone here knows if you post on social media, you will receive social media comments. Good or bad. Percentages might coincide with the country’s temperature at that point as much as personal characteristics, integrity and purpose. It is what it is. Bringing attention to this very old and prolific problem is always a positive for decency and being a man is especially worth noting. Maybe he posted knowing damn well the comments he’d receive and he could make his point. If you really want quiet, however, social media posts aren’t the road to blissful silence and profound respect. It is known.

  31. PixiePaperdoll says:

    We can talk about sunscreen though, right? Goop gets dragged for it on every post. Dude has some damage going on.

  32. samipup says:

    PET PEEVE: I’m on the skinny end of the spectrum and I get extremely irritated at everyone who tells me I’m skinny or I look like I lost weight or, for example, to say “you need to gain weight”. Why is that acceptable but the opposite is not? To be clear; TALKING ABOUT ANYONE’s weight and what they “should” do is extremely RUDE!

  33. Zantasia says:

    My only comment on his appearance—his shirts are amazing in these pics!! Excellent choices

  34. jferber says:

    He’s a very funny actor. I like the pic of his dog’s paw on his shoulder. So cute.

  35. Ihatestupidpeople says:

    Yes!!! I cringe when places write articles when people lose weight. Leave peoples bodies alone! Stop writing about it. Let them lose or gain weight on their own terms without commentary.

  36. Bendy Windy says:

    Dude. I feel this so hard. I’m a naturally slender woman and my family have always “lovingly” teased me about my weight. I get envious comments a lot and it was hard to deal with. Recently I’ve had some medical issues and medication has made me lose weight and I’m technically still a healthy weight, but it’s definitely noticeable. When people see me, it’s either “you look great” or “you look sickly.” It’s a complete mindf—. Just don’t comment, folks. It’s my body. It is healthy as it can be. The rest is unnecessary.