Everything that’s wrong with the Dad Bod trend

You have got to be kidding me with this Dad Bod business.

leonardo dicaprio
And yet a woman with a soft tummy has “let herself go.”

As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, a recent piece by Mackenzie Pearson (who’s a student at Clemson University in South Carolina) outlines how and why women now prefer a slight paunch over a six pack when it comes to men’s appearance. Her reasoning? It enables women to feel prettier, thinner, and less insecure about our own appearance.

  1. No.

and

2. How come dads get to go soft while moms are pressured to be MILFs?

Call me old (“Get off my lawn!” *shakes fist*), but I think the author and her friends who make up the Dad Bod Squad at Clemson don’t know anything about anything — including what having kids does to both parents’ free time (annihilates it), motivation to work those abs (MIA after spending a night cleaning up vomit), priorities (“Artistic Horseback Riding classes sure are pricey…but she loves them!”), spending money (baby needs new shoes…again), and diet preferences (Then: gourmet vegan. Now: all grilled cheese, all the time).

MILF carved into lawn
Once I saw “MILF” carved into the lawn in front of a high school. It bothered and baffled me so much I took a photo of it.

The Dad Bod Squad feels better when they look more attractive than their partners? Girls, y’all are at a top university. It’s time to learn that basing your self-worth on your appearance is a losing bet.

And while you’re at it, how about learning to support your sisters — and by that I mean the women a bit older than you who face ever-mounting, totally berserk pressures to be Extremely Hot during pregnancy, immediately after, while parenting, and pretty much the rest of the time, too. (In Lit 101, this would be called foreshadowing.)

We’re at a cultural moment where a woman wearing a bikini that reveals her post-kids, no-longer-taut tummy is a revolutionary act that ends up being celebrated online. Let me put that another way: Right now, it’s subversive (and shocking) when a woman actually likes and accepts herself as is. Um, could anything be more depressing?

So while I’m all for relaxing the expectations that surround what bodies should look like, I don’t see how giving a hall pass to dads (or even college students…cause the Dad Bod Squad is actually all about their peers who already have Dad Bods) is anything more than a path to poor health for men…and a kick in the gut to women.

Audrey D. Brashich is the author of All Made Up: A Girl’s Guide to Seeing Through Celebrity Hype and Celebrating Real Beauty. She writes regularly about trending pop culture issues for The Washington Post, Yahoo Parenting, and other national news outlets.

2 thoughts on “Everything that’s wrong with the Dad Bod trend

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  1. Why is it alright to assume men who are fat are unhealthy, but not alright to assume the same of women? I’m going to be really disappointed if this site goes with the assumption thin equals healthy and fat equals unhealthy. Thin people can be unhealthy too, even get the same diseases that are considered fat people diseases. Why are you picking on men trying to find body acceptance the way bullies pick on women for being fat?

  2. Totally fair question, Jackie. I certainly don’t mean to imply that there’s only one way to be healthy (nor does About Face).

    What I’m more interested in exploring is how in the case of Dad Bods, men who are not at their fittest are considered sexy and desirable whereas for ladies with Mom Bods, it’s become a gutsy, revolutionary act for them to embrace their appearance.

    Heck, I want us all to “win”… no matter what our bodies look like.

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