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Sarah Hyland Opened Up About Her Health Issues to Shut Down Bullying Body Shamers

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Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland posted a picture to Instagram yesterday wearing a shirt featuring her boyfriend Dom Sherwood’s face. Proceeds of the shirt’s sales go to the Anti-Bullying Alliance, making it a pretty cool cause for Hyland to support. And yet, even in a post about anti-bullying, a whole bunch of people still can’t resist, you guessed it, bullying.

Comments poured in criticizing Hyland’s weight, with predictable and hurtful suggestions to “eat a burger.” A sample-size frame is practically a job requirement for actresses, but celebrities, especially women celebrities, are also subjected to a cruel double standard. If you’re a few pounds over the “typical” look for TV stars, you’re shamed and criticized, and tabloids inevitably begin running stories with pregnancy speculations. But drop under that thinness requirement, and the judgment is just as strong.

On top of the usual impossible Hollywood standards, no one ever knows what personal circumstances strangers—celebrities included—are dealing with. Which is why Hyland, who’s usually famously private with personal information, decided to write a very lengthy response via note screenshots on Twitter, detailing the health issues that have contributed to the state and shape of her body.

“I’d like to address something that has not only been brought up on Twitter but has been heavily discussed by all of you in my Instagram comments,” Hyland writes. “That something is my weight. I normally don’t comment on things like this because it draws attention to those trying to spread negativity but I’m here to explain a few things and spread love. Here goes…I haven’t had the greatest year. Maybe one day I’ll talk about it but for now, I’d like my privacy. I will say this year has brought a lot of changes and with that, physical changes.”

She goes on to say that she’s been put on bedrest by her doctor, and has been on Prednisone, a drug used to treat (among other things), a number of autoimmune disorders, and which is known to have some severe side effects.

Hyland writes that being told she can’t exercise has been hard for her because “Strength is everything. Being strong has gotten me where I am. Both mentally and physically.” She says that in addition to the mental effects of not being able to keep her strength up, she’s lost a lot of muscle mass.

“I am not a fan of ‘being skinny’ which many of you have told me that I am too much of. ‘Eat a burger, your head is bigger than your body and that’s disgusting’ and you’re right! I should eat a burger! Cause they’re f–king delicious! But guess what. I do And again, you’re right. No one’s head should be bigger than their body but considering I’ve basically been on bed rest for the past few months, I’ve lost a lot of muscle mass. My circumstances have put me in a place where I’m not in control of what my body looks like.”

“I write this because I’ve been accused of promoting anorexia in, ironically enough, an anti-bullying post. And I want young girls to know that’s not my intention.” By photographing her body, she was not trying to glamorize her thinness, and she writes, “no one should aim to be in the weight I am now,” and that she’s fighting to not lose any more weight and muscle.

Still, she knows that she would be criticized no matter what she looked like. “My self confidence is not rendered from your comments. Because I will always be too fat. I will always be too skinny. I will never have enough curves to be called a woman. And I will always be a slut for wearing a push up bra.”

In the end, she has some pretty great advice for us: “Be the best version of yourself. Be healthy. … Smile. laugh. Love. Be happy. Support your peers. Love. Word hard. Be confident. Love. Adopt puppies! Tell your mum you appreciate her. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE.”

We are here for all of this. Not least of all the puppies.


(featured image: Shutterstock)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.

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