The term “dad bod” is sweeping the nation. What is a dad bod?
A dad bod, the newest body shape label, describes someone who is not quite fat, but has no muscle tone. Perhaps a blossoming beer belly from a few too many Heinekens. The dad bod is a type of man who is, "not an overweight guy, but it isn't one with washboard abs, either.”
At first glance, the dad bod doesn’t seem so bad. It’s nice to see that another type of body is being celebrated in mainstream media. It is also a relief to see people veering away from fat shaming.
At second glance, not so great.
First, the origin is troublesome.
The original article about the dad bod, written by university sophomore student Mackenzie Pearson, leaves me more than a little uneasy. Why? Well, here are a few of the reasons she loves a dad bod:
- “It doesn’t intimidate us”
Pearson explains that dad bods are great because “we don’t want a guy who makes us feel insecure about our body”! Females don’t want a “crazy fit” partner because “we are insecure enough as it is”.
- “We like being the pretty one.”
Dad bods are super cool because then the female in the relationship gets to be the center of attention. We love looking skinny beside a big guy, Pearson exclaims, especially because it is better for photos.
- “Good eats.”
Because the dad bod isn’t super particular about his food consumption, the author reminds us, he will always be down to go to Taco Bell with you. If you want to “cheat” on your diet he will be gung-ho because he doesn’t care.
So why do we love the dad bod? Because it makes us feel better about ourselves. The dad bod, ironically, has nothing to do with men and varying body types. It has only to do with the body image issues with which countless women struggle. We love the dad bod because it makes us hate ourselves less.
Second, the flip side isn’t fair.
Ever heard of ‘mom bod’? Oh ya, I forgot, there isn’t one. You know what there is? There’s the ‘baby bump’, which more often or not is magazines speculating whether or not female celebrities are pregnant because they don’t have washboard abs. There’s also the ‘how to get back to pre-baby body’, where women receive tips on how to lose any and all fat that was gained during pregnancy.
Mom bod? No. Women aren’t allowed to embrace stretch marks, cellulite and belly fat. Even though these are all physical characteristics of natural aging and child bearing, women have been told they are doing something wrong if they have these. They are told it’s their fault. They are too lazy. They don’t go to the gym enough. They eat too much junk food. They don’t focus on portion control.
You just pushed a small human being out of your vagina? Nope, that’s not a good enough excuse to have stretch marks. Oh, but if you’re a middle-aged dad dealing with work and a family it is totally understandable (even attractive) that you have a bit of a gut.
Both men and women have to deal with body image issues and societal pressure to look a certain way, this is true. And it would have been fantastic if the dad bod had been embraced by the masses, alongside the mom bod, because people wanted to celebrate the bodies of parents. Unfortunately, the dad bod was created by an insecure young woman who was looking for a way to validate her own body.
So what do I say to the dad bod? In response to the young author Mackenzie Pearson exclaiming, “here's to you dad bods, keep it up. Men, confidently strut that gut on the beach because while you stare at us in our bikinis we will be staring just as hard.”?
I say, the dad bod is bullshit.