An illustration of a man looking at his reflection in glass that has been shattered by a lily.
Illustration: Eleanor Taylor

This Is Us

My Journey Toward Radical Body Positivity

Actor and activist Matt McGorry shares how he lost himself to diet culture — and what it took to come home

The social power afforded to me as I reached the ideal body type was undeniable. I was high on it all.

In taking extreme measures to “achieve” this deprived body, I was unknowingly complicit in inflating the standards of what is considered “normal.”

The ability to pummel my body into submission, to reach a valued place in the hierarchy of men’s bodies: this allowed me to feel superior…to the images I believed I was supposed to emulate.

It’s not enough to change the way we feel about ourselves as individuals; we have to change the way we feel about fatness as a whole.

Photos by Nick Onken

When a belief is already the cultural norm, it doesn’t take much to put the person questioning it back in their place: the slightest look or word carries a lifetime of inertia.

Afterword

Maker of feels and procurer of LOLs. Activist and intersectional feminist. Bennett on @OITNB and Asher on @HowToGetAwayABC Instagram: @MattMcGorry