Handsome Jonny Karl hits back at those who took exception his recent Instagram post in which he described himself as ‘chunky’.
Last week, Brighton-based cutie Jonny Wade posted a striking picture of himself on Instagram with the accompanying words: “For many years I was told that posting ‘naked’ pictures was “thirsty” and “cheapening”. Only recently have I embraced my chunkiness, and that MY body is MINE to love. So FU to the judgemental rhetoric. If you feel good, let them know it.”
While they were no doubt inspiring words, they also provoked a strong reaction from some who criticised him for describing himself as chunky when they considered him to be anything but.
Intrigued by this reaction and Jonny’s decision to speak so openly about his body, we hooked up with the fella to find out more about his own body image and how he felt about the reactions to his post!
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For many years I was told that posting ‘naked’ pictures was “thirsty” and “cheapening”. Only recently have I embraced my chunkiness, and that MY body is MINE to love. So FU to the judgemental rhetoric. If you feel good, let them know it. . #loveyourbody #instagay #beard #gay #nojudgement
What has been the reaction to the pic you posted?
Some good, some bad. I have been hugely mocked for it. Because as said previously. People’s criteria of a “chunky” body don’t apply to me. If you don’t see me as chunky, then that’s ok. But I do. So please don’t dictate how I should feel about my own body just because you disagree So please don’t dictate how I should feel about my own body just because you disagree.
So why had you been so reticent before about posting pics like the one you did?
I’ve never been a shy person. More anxious. Sometimes I’ve been way more embarrassed about how tiny and almost “ugly” I’ve made myself feel. When you let it all go and stop thinking about what you think other people are thinking, it’s liberating!
From what we can see, you don’t look plus sized chunky – you actually look pretty amazing! What’s made you feel uncomfortable about your body?
I’ve had a lot of people tell me that I’m not chunky, and that I look “amazing”. For some reason I can’t accept the compliments because, I do see myself looking very differently to what other people do. In comparison with everyone else, I see the chunk, I guess my build helps it blend in better?
So when you look in the mirror what do you see?
It completely depends on my mood. Sometimes I see a complete monster with no attractive qualities, some days I see and feel confidence and acceptance. I believe your perception of your body image changes depending on your state of mind. I think that’s the most important part of how you see your own body… how you feel about everything else in your life at that present time.
Do other people’s opinions bother you?
Like I’ve said, my opinion and perception of myself is exactly that. Although I accept people have different definitions of body types, it’s ultimately how you feel that matters. Telling people they’re not what they think they are causes so much confusion and kind of influences their perception of themselves. I mean… as long as its not drastic, like believing you’re a fridge or something.
Has having these body insecurities made it hard for you to meet guys?
I’ve always had a problem with my belly. Although it’s not really visible in pictures, when interacting with sexual partners, it’s the biggest insecurity of mine. It’s like you’re willingly letting people see the insecurities, but trying to cover them up simultaneously. I get very nervous when meeting guys, just in case they notice what I‘m trying to cover up.
Do you find yourself comparing yourself to other guys online?
Comparing yourself to other people online is so easy now. In both negative and positive ways. I think body dysmorphia is comes from those people who take their body image ‘too seriously’. But I think perfection is now old news, and people are starting to love seeing REAL people; with bellies and not edited, rather than a pristine, toned, ‘I have everything’ image. Slowly but surely people are starting to enjoy and appreciate that there are body shapes and types that are easier to relate to without feeling bad about how they look.
Were you ever tempted to tone up and go muscle crazy – is it a look you like?
I’ve always been a built guy, the muscle has never drawn me in. Given the chance, I could go to the gym every day and yes, probably get extremely toned. I have good genes for the gym. The truth is, I have no body goal with the gym, so I go mainly for my mental health, so that I can contribute to feeling good about my life and everything in it.
You look very comfortable showing off your body – what is your mindset now?
After being in a long term relationship with an element of control over my social media usage, I developed a state of unworthiness. My posts were monitored and controlled, my body was hidden away. But the more it happened, the more I rebelled. Which didn’t do the relationship any favours. I grew to highly dislike myself and when we split up, I had no restrictions and I was able to post whatever I wanted to post. My state of mind changed, I was unhappy with the situation at the time, and being free from it released time for me, and how I felt. I loved my body again, because my mental health was in a good place. So fuck it, let me show you how good I feel.
A lot of gay guys happily show off their wares on Instagram – why do you think they do?
Let’s be honest, we live in a world of thirst. When I post a slightly revealing picture, I’m not completely oblivious to the “thirsty” undertones. I just hope people post honestly. If you want to be thirsty, own it. If you want to be inspiring, own that too. But always be honest with yourself as to why and what you’re posting, and the reasons behind it.
Do you think they’re self obsessed or super vain?
I feel that most of these guys are insecure, and they turn to social media to ultimately gain the validation from strangers. Which makes perfect sense. You want people to look at you when you walk down the street? And you want people’s jaws to drop when you enter a bar or restaurant… it’s the same as social media. If strangers like you, in your mind, you’re winning. But there’s a shallowness to it all. The more emphasis is placed on how you look, who you are becomes neglected, and you find it hard to breakaway from just the looks. People don’t wanna talk, they just wanna look. Which is a little saddening. I don’t think being vain or self obsessed starts with the person in question. Society assists in how we perceive them too.
A lot of guys are doing Only Fans – is that some thing you’d do or is it morally questionable to you?
I’ve never considered it and I won’t ever consider it. I have no issues in showing my private bits, or sending nudes privately to someone, but opening my body publicly seems very drastic, and for what? A little bit of extra cash? I think learning to love your body in private and in the company of those that accept you, is a more important step. It’s a preference and people gain body confidence in different ways, so if it works for you, then you get it however you feel comfortable doing it!
Is there such a thing as a perfect body ?
There is no such thing as a perfect body. Because like the subjective word, “normal”… it completely depends on who’s looking at your body. If you feel muscular and toned is perfection, then I’m pleased you’ve found your perfect body. But I like a belly, hair, chunk… which is perfection to me. To respect that my concept of “perfection” is different.
Did you have a good coming out experience?
It was very easy actually. I kissed a boy when I was round a friends house on a Friday night after school. A friend walked in on us kissing and she told his sister (who was best friends with my sister). My sister then told my mum. My mum then rang me and asked me to come meet her at the pub, which was odd because she’s never really wanted to spend much social time with me! She gave me a huge hug and told me she loved me, and then proceeded to tell the whole beer garden about her gay son. So in comparison to what others have to go through, I was extremely lucky.