Savage Criticism Of Austin Butler Exposes Hollywood’s Absurd Male Body Standards

Steroids are the new normal.

Savage Criticism Of Austin Butler Exposes Hollywood’s Absurd Male Body Standards


Gaining as much muscle as humanly possible has effectively become a rite of passage for anyone who wants to become a leading man in Hollywood; from Chris Hemsworth’s ludicrous pump-up for his many turns as Thor to Zac Efron’s dangerously effective bulk for The Iron Claw, it’s safe to say that the bar for what constitutes an A-list physique has changed hugely over the past decade or so.

Never has that been clearer than in the unexpected and unsolicited backlash that Elvis star Austin Butler has received in the wake of Masters of the Air that was released via Apple TV earlier this year. Specifically, it was after a post detailing his undeniably intense and impressive training regime for the show landed on social media earlier this month that the vitriol came pouring out.

WATCH: Zac Efron & Jeremy Allen White Look Absolutely Ripped In ‘The Iron Claw’ First Trailer

Having trained under the guidance of decorated veteran and consultant to the stars Captain Dale Dye, Butler and his co-stars undertook a training egimen that centred around a lot of classic army-style body weight movements like push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, and, more sursiingly, a lot of baseball. The result is a version of Butler that is leaner and undoubtedly fitter than we’ve ever seen him before.

However, what Butler did decidedly not do was hit the squat rack and gobble down calories until he bulked up like a prize bull. This would have been historically inaccurate, resulted in a character totally detached from the WWII reality — where not only were resources incredibly scarce but the culture around health and fitness was unrecognisable compared to today — and also put Butler’s body under a unnecessary amount of pressure.

And yet… when publications released their pieces on the workout regimen — adorned with headlines like “How Callum Turner & Austin Butler Got Shredded For ‘Masters of The Air'” — they were met, quite simply, with ridicule in the comments: “Is ‘shredded’ in the room with us now?”, quipped one, “Did they get shredded?”, asked another, and “Shredded has left the chat” joked a third. All of these comments receive hundreds of likes apiece.

Butler looks great, he just doesn’t look juiced… but apparently, that’s a problem now. Image: Apple TV

People are entitled to their opinions, of course, but for me, this is a sign of how Hollywood’s increasingly absurd body standards, in combination with a massively profitable social media fitness machine, have come to totally warp what we consider to be a fit, healthy, male body. Naturally, I think this applies to women too — and arguably has done for much longer with much more stringent standards — but for men, this is a fairly new phenomenon.

The problem is not rising standards in and of themselves; the problem is that the bodies taken as a benchmark for this standard — think Hemsworth or Chris Bumstead — are not naturally created physiques. Rather, they are physiues subjected to a relentless, expensive, and widely inaccessible fitness regime funded by Hollywood studios and — even worse — topped up with Hollywod’s secret ingredient: Vitamin T.

In a recent DMARGE article, we reviewed Joel Kinnaman’s discussion of this topic on the Rich Roll podcast:

“What’s the reality of Hollywood trainer culture?”, asks Rich. Saying straight away that “in reality, nobody could look like that from just training in your garage”, Kinnaman undermines much of what we think we know about gym culture — that training hard, hitting the right workouts, and lifting heavy weights is the key to building muscle — in the following, brutally true sentence:

“It’s mostly diet and ‘Vitamin T’”

Joel Kinnaman

What exactly is the fabled ‘Vitamin T’? Well, anyone who follows fitness culture even remotely closely will probably guess correctly that Kinnaman is talking about testosterone.

Butler is being savaged online for not buying into this expectation. Whether he did this for the hsiotricla accuracy of his portrayal or because he has a moral objection to it is unknown and, frankly, doesn’t matter. Regardless, it shows that the bar for male bodies is getting dangerously high, and men’s mental health will inevitably suffer as a result.