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Why Dad Bods Aren’t Really About Dad Bods

Family LifePost Category - Family LifeFamily Life - Post Category - Cool DadsCool Dads

Funny and harmless, or a little more insidious? Here’s my two cents on the dad bod

The words ‘dad bod’ have been flung around a lot lately, so much so that it somehow constitutes journalism over at The Washington Post and New York Daily News. (I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it’s a slow news cycle.) It’s been accompanied by a lot of love and a lot of hate, but let’s slow things down a bit and look at The Post’s very (unnecessarily) scientific breakdown of what exactly it is. Yes, they made a flow chart.


To make things a little easier and less scientific, a dad bod is basically someone who has ‘a cuddly torso and gentle paunch’ (MSN) regardless of whether or not they’re a father. Why’s everyone so obsessed with the dad bod and why do I hate the frenzy around it? Let’s go back and look at one of the viral articles that kickstarted the chaos – MacKenzie Pearson’s accidentally sexist piece for the Odyssey Online “Why Girls Love the Dad Bod. Let’s look at three of her points:

‘We don’t want a guy that makes us feel insecure about our body. We are insecure enough as it is.’
Dating/marrying somebody so that you feel more attractive about yourself is a pretty misguided way to approach relationships. Also, we need to stop spreading this myth that all women are horrifically image-obsessed and have no self-esteem.

‘We want to look skinny and the bigger the guy, the smaller we feel and the better we look next to you in a picture.’
This is just plain rude to both men and women. It piggybacks on the stupid idea that we need to be skinny in order to feel beautiful, but also throws in the double whammy that men are objects to heighten our attractiveness. Beauty shouldn’t be some competition and certainly not defined by something as arbitrary as your weight. More on that here.

‘We know what we are getting into when he’s got the exact same body type at the age of 22 that he’s going to have at 45.’
If you’re going to spend 23 years with someone, the fact that they have they’ll have exact same body type is the least of your concerns. Pearson also goes onto say that dating someone with a dad bod is a good way to ‘get used to’ it, which implies that there’s something fundamentally wrong or unattractive with a dad bod. In other words, men should look a certain way in order to be attractive. Sound familiar? Oh right, society’s been saying that about women for years too.


If the dad bod was an empowering celebration of men and all their body types, then that would be a different story. However, the dad bod’s turned into this bizarre instrument of sexism that’s utterly condescending to both men and women. Let’s also discuss the fact that the closest thing mums have to ‘mom bod’ in the media is the pornographic MILF, or the minivan-driving, mom-jeans-wearing soccer mom. I’m too exhausted to even pretend to be surprised by the hypocrisy.

I’ve come up with another definition of dad bod below, which is a lot simpler, hopefully isn’t sexist and tries not to single out a single group of people based on their body weight. (Did I mention that’s pretty uncool too?) See below:

[dad-bod] noun, informal

  1. A father who has a body.

To further elaborate, I spent way too much time making a flow chart for you.


As we can see from the above diagram, this is a very simple and not entirely novel concept. I also came up with the flow chart without any science or BMI indexing, but I’m still fairly sure it’s quite accurate.


If you may be confused by my definition, Chris Pratt has graciously made an appearance above to demonstrate an example of a dad bod. I’ve spent too much time on something that really should never have gone viral in the first place, to be honest. Goodnight mamas, I’m turning off the Internet for a while.

Featured image sourced via Pinterest, image #1 sourced via The Washington Post, image #3 sourced via Pinterest

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