Leonardo DiCaprio is looking a little rough these days, haven’t you noticed? Elaine Lui sure has. The gossip blogger recently wrote a post about his potbelly and shaggy appearance, comparing him to the Trivago spokesperson, “the guy who looks like his insides are rotting.”
To be fair, the pictures she’s referencing are pretty raw. DiCaprio was papped on the beach alongside his 22-year-old girlfriend-model Toni Garn, looking like her creepy uncle. His longish hair is held up in a John Belushi-esque topknot and he’s sporting a tummy to rival Mila Kunis’s baby bump.
It’s a funny, acidic post, Lainey’s stock-in-trade. But it may also mark the beginning of a sea change when it comes to how culture deals with male celebrities and their looks. For whatever reason, the boys are suddenly feeling the body-perfection heat and… we kinda like it.
Traditionally male celebs have escaped the body/aging police that dog female celebrities from cradle to grave. Jack Nicholson’s growing paunch barely registered over the years and didn’t affect his sex symbol status. In a weird way, his ‘I don’t care’ attitude burnished it, making him seem rebellious and cool instead of say, old, lazy and bald.
Female celebs have never enjoyed this kind of freedom. Jessica Simpson got pregnant (twice, the little minx!) and was basically frog-marched over to Weight Watchers from the delivery room both times.
Lui isn’t the only gossip holding male celebs under the microscope. Dlisted’s Michael K’s satiric post on Chris Pratt’s formerly chubby beach bod is a good example of his approach to fair and equal treatment of celebs. He has been similarly eviscerating of Jonah Hill, George Clooney and John Travolta, nastiness that’s kind of refreshing if you’re looking for sexual equality in your smut.
There are still miles to go, however, if we aim to hold famous men to the same pathological standards of perfection we do women. It’s only fair that there need to be whole issues of tabloids devoted to the worst male beach bodies, plus a People cover feature in which Leo shares his top belly-busting tips.
And if the idea of tabloids treating famous men like famous women seems unduly harsh, then there’s a solution to that too. Rewind the zeitgeist and treat famous women like famous men. Let them age, bloat, gain weight and date younger men with nary a ripple of dissent. To equality!