Wentworth Miller taught us that body shaming doesn’t just affect women

He wrote a powerful open letter about suicide and depression


On Monday The LAD Bible posted a (now deleted) meme body shaming Prison Break star Wentworth Miller. Here’s the meme:

Classy

Classy

Miller responded with a powerful Facebook post in which he opened up about previous battles with suicide and depression.

He explained that the picture used in The LAD Bible’s meme was taken in 2010, when he was in what he described as “the lowest point in my adult life.”

“I was looking everywhere for relief/comfort/distraction. And I turned to food.”

He continued:

It could have been anything. Drugs. Alcohol. Sex. But eating became the one thing I could look forward to. Count on to get me through. There were stretches when the highlight of my week was a favorite meal and a new episode of TOP CHEF. Sometimes that was enough. Had to be.

And I put on weight. Big f–king deal.

Miller in 2008

Miller in 2008

Miller, who’s struggled with mental illness since the age of five, then appealed to readers with depression to contact the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

His post is important for two reasons. Firstly, it gives a painful insight into what it must be like, as a human being, to get dragged through the more hateful side of the internet’s unstoppable meme-making machine. Miller writes of discovering the existence of the LAD Bible photo: “The first time I saw this meme pop up in my social media feed, I have to admit, it hurt to breathe.” His post makes it much easier to imagine what that’s actually like, and frankly, how fucking shit it must be to conduct your own private, personal struggle with illness and then have it insensitively blown up and laughed at in public by a Facebook page thicker than the Royal Family.

Secondly, and more importantly, I think the original meme and Miller’s response to it may alter the way we look at fat-shaming: as something that affects both genders, not just women. It is impossible to argue that a culture like ours, where bodies are often solely valued by the demand they excite in others, isn’t worse for women. But by speaking out about the relationship between fat-shaming and mental health from a male perspective, Miller has broken taboos that usually prevent men from being open about their problems. That can’t be a bad thing.