opinion

"Welcome to the club, Osher. Now you know how women feel."

Osher Gunsberg is seriously pissed off. He’s feeling emotional and humiliated and angry. He’s also shocked. Because he’s been body shamed, and that’s not something that happens to blokes.

After paparazzi took unflattering photos of him on a beach in Bali and wrote mockingly about his ‘Bali belly’, one of the Mamamia team told me about it and I immediately texted him to send my love.

I adore Osher. He's one of the really really good guys. A feminist. A champion of women's rights. A fierce advocate for us. Always has been, as long as I've known him. He often sends me links to stories he sees on his Internet travels that he thinks could be of interest to Mamamia readers and he's always bang-on.

I assumed he'd seen the story and the photos. He hadn't. "What story?" he texted me back. Ugh.

I knew it was going to cause him pain to see them. I know he's struggled with his weight in the past and has also struggled with mental health issues around anxiety. I've certainly been there. Having nasty stories about you in the media certainly doesn't help with anxiety, as you may imagine.

Osher speaks to Mia Freedman on No Filter. (Post continues after audio.)

But that's not the crux of the issue here. This is about body shaming, how rarely it happens to men and how shocking it is when it does.

Osher made some great points when he spoke about it openly and emotionally on the radio yesterday.

"I’ve never been paid to be the hot guy. There’s a reason I didn’t sing on Idol and a reason I don’t have my shirt off on The Bachelor," he said.

What he was saying was this: my body is not my currency. I'm not a model or someone who has ever traded of his abs. So how dare you mock me for how I look.

Damn straight.

This is a slap-down women in the public eye face every time they leave the house and it's not just models and actresses. Female singers. Female newsreaders. Female politicians. Even the wives and girlfriends of famous men are routinely objectified and diminished to the sum of their body parts or how good they look in a frock on a red carpet.

Their bodies aren't their currency either. And yet parts of society insist that a woman's value is indexed directly to her hotness. It's unfair and humiliating and outrageous and it's bullshit.(Post continues after gallery.)

Samantha Armytage is photographed every time she leaves her house and those images are published online and in women's magazine with lurid captions deconstructing her body with adjectives both cruel and condescending.

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Julia Morris is followed to the beach and photos of her with her children are published with commentary on how she looks in a swimsuit.

Carrie Bickmore and Fifi Box have papparazzi waiting outside their houses and following them as they take their kids to school, hoping for a photo of them looking, you know, normal, which in that world is translated into passive aggressive insults like 'tired' or 'overwhelmed'.

And don't get me started about the media humiliations Chrissie Swan, Lena Dunham and Magda Szubanski must endure.

Chrissie Swan has been brutally attacked by the tabloids. Image via Getty.

If you alter your appearance - like Renee Zellweger or Ashley Judd or Chloe Latanzi or Nicole Kidman - you're mocked and ridiculed. If you don't, you're mocked and ridiculed for letting yourself go and, gasp, looking your age.

No matter what you do or what you're famous for, your body is commented on and criticised and categorised and objectified by a media machine that is heavily invested in humiliating people for the way they look.

I love that Osher pushed back after the camera and the smarm was aimed at him. I love that as a man and as a step-father, it has alerted him even more to the crap women have to put up with.

I love that he will now be an even more galvanised fighter in the battle for women - and men - to be allowed to be whatever shape, size, skin colour they happen to be without fear of ridicule.

The struggle is real.