celebrity

"I asked Hughsey how he felt after being 'fat shamed'. Now he's my body confidence hero."

Yesterday, Dave Hughes posted an innocent photo on Instagram of himself seated in an armchair looking rather chuffed.

The comedian and KIIS FM radio host is pictured with his shirt lifted, showing off his tummy in all its pale Melburnian glory. (Seriously, under every white Melburnian’s top lies proof of how cold and rainy our spring has been.)

“Don’t know who positioned the mirror, but I took and posted this happy snap all on my own,” he captioned the photo.

Don't know who positioned mirror, but I took and posted this happy snap all on my own. #whysmile #cryforhelp

A photo posted by David Hughes (@dhughesy) on

The picture attracted a flurry of comments from his followers amused by the lighthearted post.

I challenge you to show me one single human being who can take a flattering photo from that exact angle. Even supermodel Adriana Lima would struggle.

The End.

… I wish. Remember, this is the internet and it is an unforgiving, unforgetting beast.

Nek minit, the very same picture was plastered on the Daily Mail with the headline, “Dave Hughes shows off his ballooning belly in a revealing selfie… months after the comedian celebrated his 9kg weight loss.”

Woah, woah, woah.

We haven’t seen this before. Twisting someone’s perfectly harmless social media post into fodder for a body shaming article? Who’da thunk it?

While any female celebrity – or in fact any woman with a semi-strong social media presence – would have seen it coming from 100 kilometres away, blindfolded, and the bottom of the ocean, Hughesy clearly wasn’t anticipating the news coverage. He tweeted this morning:

I was dying to know how he felt about it in more than 140 Twitter characters. It wasn’t long ago that one of Mamamia‘s favourite blokes, Bachie host and TV/radio personality Osher Gunsberg, was sniffed out by the charming papparazzi while in Indonesia and shamed for his “Bali belly”.

At the time, Gunsberg told Mamamia he was mighty pissed off. Men are rarely body shamed – especially the fellas whose appearance aren’t intrinsic to their careers – and Gunsberg was taken by complete shock.

So I gave Hughes a call.

And I was left stunned. His response couldn’t have been more different than I’d been expecting.

“I’m not angry. I’m just amused by it,” he told me.

Hughes said when his wife Holly showed him the story, he immediately laughed it off.

“I’m not in Osher’s camp of being humiliated by it, to be honest,” he said.

@dhughesy's wife, Holly read another instalment of her diary entry pre 2003 Logies. ✍

A photo posted by Hughesy and Kate (@hughesyandkate) on

“I can see how people would be humiliated but I haven’t been.”

In fact – so little did he care, he hadn’t even read the full article. He didn’t see the creative language that described his “shapely belly”.

He didn’t see the part that reminisced about his apparently former “slimmer figure”. He just did not give a flying fig.

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“I posted it (the photo) for fun. I think it’s fun to laugh at your shortcomings, to laugh at bodies that aren’t perfect,” Hughes said.

“Hopefully people having a ‘fat day’ can have a laugh with me.”

He pointed out his situation was slightly different because he posted the photo of his own volition – he wasn’t photographed unawares.

And he said, to a certain extent, it exposed him to the type of treatment his female colleagues are not only constantly afflicted by, but also constantly on the look-out for.

GOOD NEWS! Your faves are BACK tomorrow from 4PM! ???????????? xx

A photo posted by Hughesy and Kate (@hughesyandkate) on

“My co-host (Kate Langbroek) refuses to go to the beach at Bondi because she doesn’t want to papped,” he said.

He said news outlets “probably should call” and “be more careful” before publishing such articles because of the personal hurt it can cause.

But overall his position was clear: in his view, the whole tummy saga was extremely comical. His humorous post had transformed into an even sillier situation.

“It’s easy for me (to feel okay about it) because comedy is what I’m after,” he said.

When our conversation ended, it suddenly struck me Hughes had inadvertently just taught me a really valuable lesson: to laugh.

To giggle at your little ‘imperfections’. To take the piss out of the idiocy of anyone who thinks it’s okay to unfairly vilify another person.

Of course, this isn’t to say that we should stop calling out cruel and bullying conduct when it happens. We always should.

Hughesy isn’t the first celebrity to respond to being publicly body shamed. (Post continues after gallery.)

And Hughes didn’t certainly shy away from doing that – he was, after all, the first one to come out and say he’d been “fat shamed”by the Daily Mail for his harmless Instagram post.

But my goodness, wouldn’t it be so much easier on victims of the tabloids if they could then laugh off the non-stop scrutiny of every lump and stretch mark their body bears?

And wouldn’t it also help every other regular person who has ever felt insulted by a snide comment at a social gathering, at their workplace or on social media?

My feeling is that it’s a definitive ‘yes’.

Next time my mother’s friend tells me to stop cycling because “your thighs are looking bigger”, I’ll remember to chuckle at her foolishness and lack of common decency.

And it turns out, for that, I have Hughesy to thank. Yep, a famous, 46-year-old, father-of-three has become my new body confidence inspiration. And I’m more than okay with that.

…Oh, and in case you’re wondering what Hughes chose between the pancakes and the push-ups?

Pancakes. Duh.

Just another reason to practice what this bloke preaches.

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