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Posted at 10:43 AM ET, 03/ 7/2007

Busting Hollywood's Double Standard Wide Open

By Liz Kelly

We spend a lot of time here talking about hair styles, fashion flubs, physical attributes and such. But, not surprisingly, when we get on the "What was X thinking?" trip, "X" usually equals a female celebrity. (For instance, this morning's links to some seriously gnarly pictures of Christina Aguilera and Sharon Stone.)

Jack Black bares his rack in 'Nacho Libre.' (Paramount Pictures)

If you're into this kind of entertainment (i.e. pointing and laughing at the expense of others with too much money and too little taste), you probably -- like me -- have a well-worn Go Fug Yourself bookmark, too. (If you're not familiar with it, Fug bloggers Heather and Jessica viciously, yet hilariously, rip fashion-challenged starlets to shreds daily). Again, though, a quick scan of the "Frequent Offenders" menu reveals categories for 25 women and zero men.

Not much of a revelation, I know, in a world where women are remade into clone-like blow-up dolls by shows like "The Swan" or picked apart by a panel of catty experts on "America's Next Top Model" (presided over by Tyra Banks, who should know better considering her own recent swimsuit scandal). Meanwhile, male plastic surgery is treated as a comedic aside on "Entourage" when Kevin Dillon's Johnny Drama character muses about calf implants. When it comes to what's attractive, what may not be good for the goose seems to be okay for the gander.

So, it is with some giddiness that I share today's instructive link to this straight-faced report about celebrities with "man boobs." Yes, man boobs.

The informative little ditty, posted on a site owned by a plastic surgery after-care product maker, names John Travolta, Jack Black and even Harrison Ford as some of Hollywood's more voluptuous men. Yet, rather than snarking at their need for a manssiere, they describe how the actors have embraced their new curves, citing this quote from Black:

"If my boobs were on a girl, guys would be going mad for them... but they are all mine, and that means I can enjoy them anytime I want. I don't need a woman for my squeezing needs anymore!"

Figures. Life gives Jack Black lemons and he makes lemonade.

Still, bodacious or not, let's come up with some good examples of some male stars who would never live up to the standards imposed on their female co-stars. Once compiled, we'll send it over to the Fug girls as a sort of most-wanted list. Share your candidates below and, where possible, try to include a link to a photo.

By Liz Kelly  | March 7, 2007; 10:43 AM ET
Categories:  Celebritology 101, Fashion, Hollyweird, Miscellaneous  
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David Spade
Jack Black
Rainn Wilson

And to stir controversy, Joaquin Phoenix. Hooray for him, he's a handsome man and a passable actor, but NO woman with an obvious harelip scar would have ever had a prayer in Hollywood.

Posted by: WDC | March 7, 2007 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Woody Allen
Will Farrell

And with that nose, would Owen Wilson ever have made it as a woman in Hollywood?

Posted by: ckf | March 7, 2007 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Hugh Grant - have you seen him with his shirt off, and those teeth! No woman could be that concavely scrawny with those teeth and make it in Hollywood.

Posted by: Bored at Work | March 7, 2007 11:14 AM | Report abuse

Robert Redford (What happen to his face!)
Jack Nicholson (If he was a woman, his career would have been over ten years ago)
Nicolas Cage (I read that a casting director called Naomi Watts scary looking. No, this man is scary and he still works).
Jim Carey (He looks crazy)
Jack Black (Forget the man-boobs, look at the pot-belly)
Owen Wilson (A drunken ugly chick as a man)

Posted by: Lisa | March 7, 2007 11:19 AM | Report abuse

For the longest time (like 30 whole minutes) all I could come up with was Jack Nicholson. He's not aging well, and you don't even hear about him being the chick magnet anymore.
Warren Beatty got married just when he realized that his shine was dulling. Robert Redford, so wrinkly. David Caruso. Michael Douglas. William Hurt. I feel bad for listing old dudes. Age happens.
Tobey Maguire, pasty and flabby when not working on Spiderman.
Wow, I really can't come up with too many guys. Does that say something about my double standard? I think so, men are allowed to be a little rough around the edges because they're not raised to spend so much time primping. While I expect a female star to always look presentable and/or camera ready, I think I'd joke about the masculinity of a man who always looks ready for his close-up. Brad, I'm staring right at your lovely mug (did he get his eyes done recently? They look nice and tight these days...).

See -- this is really why I stopped posting, once I get started, it just keeps coming!

Posted by: miss belle | March 7, 2007 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Jared Leto.

Posted by: sara | March 7, 2007 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Michael Douglas, hands down. What a disgusting frog.

Posted by: mtz | March 7, 2007 11:42 AM | Report abuse

We women don't seem to mind an interesting face. I know I have an aversion to pretty men.
But the Fug Girls pick on clothes! Okay, yes, we set the bar low for men dressing themselves, plus the get what is essentially a uniform. They only get fugged if the can't stick to the formula.
And, I assure you, there are funny looking women actresses getting work.
Also, Joaquin Phoenix is hot, with or without that lip scar.

Posted by: Other Liz | March 7, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I love that you mentioned the Fug Girls...they are so funny!

Phillip Seymour Hoffman--he looked hideous at the Oscars. Seriously, dude, take a shower!

Posted by: miss jaunty | March 7, 2007 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Alfred Molina in "Spiderman 2" was incredible. He played a loveable, intelligent schlub who got a raw deal in the comic book universe... and he has bigger breasts than my wife.

I like Tommy Lee Jones. I'd watch him in any movie, even if it was just of him waiting for his clothes in a laundrymat. I still have an incredible urge to play "Lunar Lander" with his face as a backdrop.

Posted by: Ken | March 7, 2007 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Ms. Kelly: you are such a tool.

Women enthusiastically reap the benefits of the fact that society values their looks--that is, when they are not simultaneously painting themselves as victims of the same preoccupation. I take that back: sometimes women take both positions simultaneously.

Sharon Stone, one of the links to your column, made her name by spreading her legs for the camera in 1992 in Basic Instinct. Does she have any reasonable ground for objecting to being held accountable for how she looks?

Now, as to double standards: when a male entertainment star flashes his penis and scrotum for all the world's photographers to see, and is MERELY considered lamentable trailer-trash (as our friend Britney)--as opposed to a psycho oppressor of women, one who cuts off their ability to venture forth into the public sphere without being visually attacked, bum ba bum ba bum--then you can talk.


Posted by: plaw04 | March 7, 2007 11:48 AM | Report abuse

This is a hard question to answer. Guys so frequently take the fashion middle road, nothing really out of the ordinary. So unless their facial or bodily features are fugly, we don't really have the material for a good flogging. It's just the way it is.

Posted by: DC Cubefarm | March 7, 2007 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Are people seriously naming Robert Redford? True, he didn't age well, but come on, he was good looking back in Sundance Kid days...

Diane Keaton still works. She looks like John Kerry.

Posted by: Matt | March 7, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

Sir Paul McCartney. If his eyebrows were any higher..he'd be "ready for his close-up, Mr Demille."

Al Pacino...umm...the surgery has worn off...again. All sag.

Posted by: The Water's Edge | March 7, 2007 12:26 PM | Report abuse

since this is going to the fug girls can someone PLEAE help johnny depp. yes, i know he is a hottie, i myself enjoy starting at his hotness, but can we not hire that man a stylist? imagine how sexy he would look in a normal tux! amazing!

Posted by: melissa | March 7, 2007 12:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm with miss belle. Where to even begin ... the list of flabby, crusty old men is just too long (but topped by Donald Trump and his dreadful hair and Mick Jagger, whose appeal I have NEVER understood), and there's some young ones that are head-scratchers too. I can think of only 2 famous women who are with men half their age, Barbara Hershey and Zsa Zsa Gabor -- and Hershey's man had a baby with another woman during their relationship and Zsa Zsa's husband, as we all know, came out as the possible father of ANS' baby. So there ya have it. None of the much-younger wives of crusty old men are doing this.

On another note, may I just say I think Sharon Stone looks a whole lot better au naturel? She's aging yes, but is a natural beauty and doesn't need that straw-fried hair color and all the makeup laid on with a garden trowel.

Posted by: Penny | March 7, 2007 1:09 PM | Report abuse

Nth-ing Jack Nicholson--the thought of him as a romantic interest, at any point in his life, absolutely makes my skin crawl.

Posted by: tamerlane | March 7, 2007 1:12 PM | Report abuse

Guilty by reason of arm candy: Ryan Philippe for Ashlee Simpson, Terrence Howard for Naomi Campbell. Which takes us back to women..

Posted by: snarf | March 7, 2007 1:39 PM | Report abuse

Um, seriously what is wrong with that pic of Christina Aguilera? Sure, she has some kind of leather jacket on with a dress, but her pose is BANGIN'. And I don't generally dig Aguilera.

Posted by: d. | March 7, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Tom Arnold, a talentless hack IMO.

By the way, one of my friends coined the term 'moobs' for man-boobs, I think it is pretty funny.

Posted by: CJB | March 7, 2007 1:44 PM | Report abuse

Really, now, how is it that SYLVESTER STALLONE's name has not yet appeared?? Yikes!

Posted by: doubLstandard | March 7, 2007 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Possibly off-topic, but another observation/question on the double standard after seeing that photo of Jack Black.

When stick-thin Hollywood celebrities get pregnant, they tend to (gasp) eat and look SO much healthier and better. Debra Messing, Jennifer Garner, Marcia Cross and Tori Spelling all come to mind. So is pregnancy the only acceptable way to look healthy and have some meat on their bones for Hollywood women?

Posted by: Penny | March 7, 2007 1:57 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: anon | March 7, 2007 1:58 PM | Report abuse

No Billy Bob Thornton? Seriously, he's pretty fugly. How he landed Angelina (if only for a short while) I'll never know.

Posted by: BF | March 7, 2007 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Every member of the Rolling Stones. Although they are more music than movies.

Alec Baldwin, he's got a Santa Claus tummy.

I must second Tobey MacGuire, Owen Wilson and Jack Nicholson.

Robert Redford, he has come a long painful way since his Hubble days and it shows.

Hugh Laurie, he is hilarious but not a looker at all.

Matthew Perry that man has huge sacks under his eyes and Adam Sandler I can't quite place my finger on it but he's not the belle of the ball either. However, I love Studio 60 and I've been a fan of Sandler's since "Lunch Lady".

Posted by: petal | March 7, 2007 2:09 PM | Report abuse

I sat in front of Robert Redford a couple years ago at the DC Vote for Change concert and while yes, he is pretty wrinkley, he still possesses a handsomeness that shines through. I think he's aging fine - wrinkles and all.

Posted by: voteforchange,DC | March 7, 2007 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Great actor but Forrest Whitaker...

Posted by: Scottishlass | March 7, 2007 2:14 PM | Report abuse


I gotta work that one into regular conversation @ some point!

To add to the list:
Jim Belushi (being John's brother gets you nothing in the looks or talent dept.)

The guy on The King Of Queens, John Goodman, & any other "fat husband" on a sitcom.

Posted by: Bored @ work | March 7, 2007 2:15 PM | Report abuse

As much as I love him - Eddie Izzard. The fashion editors crucified Melissa Ethridge on Oscar night for her tux - what would happen if Izzard came to an award show dressed in women's clothes?

Also as much as I love him - Steve Buscemi. Kick-@ss actor, but can you imagine a woman with a feminine version of his face getting any movie parts?

David Arquette. He wears weird clothes and he's considered funky. When a woman wears clothes like that they make fun of her.

Jonathan Frakes from Star Trek - he didn't get fat, but he was never as trim as he was after the first year. Do you think Jeri Ryan would have been as popular if she didn't pour into those cat suits like she did?

Posted by: Chasmosaur | March 7, 2007 2:25 PM | Report abuse

if we're talking fashion here. david arquette. seriously. courtney cox, please take him shopping.

Posted by: abc | March 7, 2007 2:47 PM | Report abuse

How interesting that there hasn't been a male equivalent to The Swan. Could it be because men's standards for their own appearance are more realistic than that of many women?

I agree with the comments of the person who said that many female celebritites look much healthier when they gain weight during pregnancy. This ultra-thin look has to stop. I don't care if a woman has some extra weight, as long as she's physically active, and enjoys getting out there and doing things.

Posted by: Mister Methane | March 7, 2007 2:48 PM | Report abuse

I'm going to agree with Bored @ Work. It's exactly the double standard on those sitcoms with the pretty, nip-tucked wives and the significantly less attractive husbands. Good for them all for landing a sitcom, but it's true the standards are markedly higher for the women than the men.

To the Fug Girls: I love you. Keep on fugging the men!
Nic Cage
Johnny Depp (although he could make a gorilla suit look sexy)
Chad Michael Murray
And since this is the Washington Post...
Tucker Carleson
George W. Bush (leisure clothes = fugly)
Larry King

Posted by: Mlle_M | March 7, 2007 2:56 PM | Report abuse

hey! hugh laurie is a hottie!

david caruso definitely makes the list...can you imagine a woman remaining employed when every character she played is monosyllabic? i for one wish they'd kill him off csi miami... his pith and posturing is so lame.

Posted by: b | March 7, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

CJB - sorry to break this to you, but the phrase moobs to refer to man boobs is very common. Not saying your friend stole it, but obviously he/she wasn't the only one to come up with it.

Posted by: dym | March 7, 2007 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Penny: Yes, if an actress wants to eat a decent meal in Hollywood, she must get pregnant; then go back to a starvation diet and exercise endlessly so that her next magazine interview she can say" Oh, the weight just came right off."

Though he's not ugly, but have you seen Will Smith's ears at Oscars? OMG, no actress would be allowed to walk the red-carpet with ears like that.

Posted by: BK | March 7, 2007 3:23 PM | Report abuse

petal - whoa! you're so wrong! how can you not think hugh l. is a looker????

Posted by: not bluto | March 7, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Bill Murray and David Arquette. No woman with a mug even remotely similar to Bill Murray*s would have been cast in a movie.

Posted by: TEL | March 7, 2007 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Seriously, no one has said sean penn yet? He's NASTY.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 7, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

Paul Giamatti. Good actor, but not good-looking. Re: Sideways, I remember reading an opinion piece in the Post slamming the film for portraying a hollywood double standard -- we make movies about male losers ending up with supermodels and they sell great, but have you ever seen a film about a slightly "fat" girl getting a hot man?

Posted by: Rita | March 7, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of Billy Bob: Why is Virginia Madsen playing his wife in the "Astronaut Farmer"? No way is that believable.

Posted by: Lisa | March 7, 2007 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to speak ill of the dead but John Belushi & Chris Farley.

If both had been women they wouldn't have had careers.

Though Farley did make a fairly decent looking hefty girl in those Gap girl sketches.

Posted by: Bored @ work | March 7, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

To voteforchangeDC, b and not bluto:

Robert and Hugh are great actors, Hugh is hilarious, don't know about Robert's sense of humor but I have to stick with my initial opinion on those two. I must respectfully agree to disagree with you.

Posted by: petal | March 7, 2007 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Penny -- I agree -- it's weird. Magazines start raving about people's "baby bumps" and I'm thinking...what bump? It looks like she ate a sandwich.

Posted by: Rita | March 7, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

I adore Hugh Laurie!
Guys, answer me this: Can a woman be sexy mainly becuase she's interesting or funny?

Posted by: Other liz | March 7, 2007 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Completely forgot Keanu Reeves. In the catergory of dressing not looks. He's dreamy.

When it comes to dressing that's another story, its like he picks up whatever is on the floor and tosses it together.

Posted by: petal | March 7, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

On the reverse side of the double standard however is this....

Would Tara Reid, Misha Barton, Anna Nichole Smith, etc... ever have become famous if they weren't "Hot" There isn't 2 grams of talent between all three. So while yes, maybe it is easier for men in Hollywood to be less attractive than women....It also seems to be true that Attractive women have a MUCH easier time than men getting work. Jack Black, Jack Nicholson and all the rest, love them or hate them all have their own brand of talent. How many brain dead pretty boys do you know that got as undeservedly famous as Tara Reid?

Posted by: cambel | March 7, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Jeff Goldblume is spooky!

Posted by: Sara | March 7, 2007 4:05 PM | Report abuse

I guess I don't expect perfection from a lot of guys because they have personality, sense of humor, and humility. Hugh Laurie, Ewan McGregor (although he is cute) Jack Black, and Paul Giamatti, for example. When I saw "Sideways" at first I was put off by the relationship that Paul's character had with this hot woman, but by the end of the movie, I thought he was very, very attractive! I mean, I would enjoy having any of the above and their families over for dinner.
As for "just don't get it" I'd have to say Adam Sandler, Will Farrel, Nicholas Cage, Will Smith, Eddie Murphy, Paul McCartney, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell.
Some guys got it, some don't.
And you know who still has got it?
Paul Newman!!

Posted by: Barb | March 7, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Without a doubt Tommy Lee Jones. Good actor though.

Posted by: Marie | March 7, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

"Guys, answer me this: Can a woman be sexy mainly becuase she's interesting or funny?"

Oh yes! Interesting and funny beat looks all the time! (both men and women)

Posted by: dmk | March 7, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

No mention of Robin Williams? So furry, so scary. Even cartoon Robin is ugly.

Mike Meyers - funny - yes; attractive - no.

Christian Slater.

Posted by: Ex Cap | March 7, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Jon Heder He's cute but goofy looking, and there's no way H'wood will let a woman get away with that. Any actress portraying a she-nerd better be a fox when the hair comes down and glasses are removed.

Posted by: Geeky | March 7, 2007 4:54 PM | Report abuse

"we make movies about male losers ending up with supermodels and they sell great, but have you ever seen a film about a slightly "fat" girl getting a hot man?"

Bridget Jones?

Posted by: Alexandria, VA | March 7, 2007 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Oops, and Circle of Friends. But, that's really only two I can think of ...

Posted by: Alexandria, VA | March 7, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

I, too, have adored Hugh Laurie for years. But his appeal lies in his charm, humor, and intelligence, not in his appearance.

Re men who get by on their looks, there are plenty of examples on TV. Case in point: Mario Lopez = Tara Reid.

On the other side of the coin, there are a few women in Steve Buscemi's league who have had careers with less discernable reason (Sandra Bernhart--is that her name, Madonna's former pal, Juliette Lewis--she looks brain damaged to me, as well as being fashion-challenged in the extreme).

Posted by: sen | March 7, 2007 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"we make movies about male losers ending up with supermodels and they sell great, but have you ever seen a film about a slightly "fat" girl getting a hot man?"

Besides Bridget Jones and Circle of Friends, you only see those kinds of movies on Lifetime.

Or the story changes and the "fat" women gets empowered and loses the weight for "herself" and when the cute guy who rejected her notices she dumps him for the best friend who is average looking.

Posted by: batgirl | March 7, 2007 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Although there were two great storylines on China Beach back in the day... One with a post-Hairspray/pre-talk show Riki Lake and another with an average looking singer and the cute lifeguard.

Does a bad haircut count as a bad fashion choice? If so, there are a lot of male "stars" out there with issues... Howard Stern - a mess, Nic Cage - plugs anyone?, Orlando Bloom - he looked better as a blonde, and don't get me started on the baldies!

Posted by: batgirl | March 7, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

we make movies about male losers ending up with supermodels and they sell great, but have you ever seen a film about a slightly "fat" girl getting a hot man?"

There was a movie starring the "fat chick" from that legal show, Camryn something, she played a interpreter for the deaf and a comedian (tho not funny; mostly fat jokes I think)but she got the guy in the end, I don't remember who he was, he may have been hot, I don't know.

Posted by: d | March 7, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

Bridget Jones and Circle of Friends -- 2 thin actresses who bulked up (and couldn't stop talking about it) for their roles, doesn't count. They immediately lost the weight (and poor puffy Renee lost too much, but that's what you get when you snort instead of exercise).
Even China Beach (I actually remember the Ricki Lake episode!) doesn't count, cuz wasn't he a soldier that went off and died?

Fat girls in Hollywood rarely love that lasts. Fat boys in Hollywood get love, tv shows and skinny wives. Just the way it goes. I want to see a movie where a girl is rejected for being too thin, or a tv show where a fit-n-trim guy has a fat GF that he adores.

Posted by: miss belle | March 7, 2007 6:45 PM | Report abuse

the camryn manheim movie was a tv movie. probably on lifetime or another equivalent network. the guy was tv cute. but it proves my tv movie theory!

the only show that tried to do something like this was Joan Cusack's sitcom. she was "average" with this hot guy (Kyle Chandler) that even she couldn't believe was with her. not a fat example, but the same slightly self-hating element. it was actually a decent show - critics liked it, etc. - but it got cancelled. like bonnie hunt's show. what a shame.

Posted by: batgirl | March 7, 2007 8:16 PM | Report abuse

Oh! I remember! Riki Lake's character ended up having an illegal abortion that almost killed her until the bald CB doc saved her. The prostitute helped her and McMurphy got all self righteos. I guess fat girls get punised for having sex!

Posted by: batgirl | March 7, 2007 8:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't see anything wrong with the Sharon Stone picture...she's just walking down the street. But what's up with Christina's orange glow? Its like she's radioactive.

Nic Cage is one of those actors who just isn't aging well and can't accept. Its sad.

Posted by: Laura G | March 8, 2007 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Wasn't there a storyline in the first season of Rescue Me where a studly young fireman dates an overweight woman on a dare and then discovers he adores her-- and she dumps him because he isn't smart enough for her?

Also, at the end of Muriel's Wedding, the hot swimmer offers to try to make the marriage work and she decides to leave.

Hmmm. . in both these cases, the relationship breaks up. What does *that* say?

Posted by: fixitgirl | March 8, 2007 10:52 AM | Report abuse

I am disgusted to see how vicious this has become. Jack Black has a belly - so what?

As for Sharon Stone pics, she was obviously being harrassed and was making faces to make sure the pics were useless.
But hey, she didn't count on all the losers who would want to mock her. The woman looks wonderful.

Posted by: lovey | March 9, 2007 11:33 AM | Report abuse

I know this is an old thread, but there was the question about slightly "fat" women and dreamboat husbands, but wasn't that the whole premise of "My Big Fat Greek Wedding"? Granted, there is a makeover where Nia Vardolous' character takes off the glasses, gets her hair done and has a wardrobe change, but I do remember that she wasn't Hollywodd-stick-thin either. I don't know if you would argue that this is disqualified because she wrote the part for herself, but that is nothing new for actors/actresses who have been denied a vehicle by Hollywood.

Posted by: Steve | March 13, 2007 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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