Is Dad Bod a Societal Double Standard?

The newest fad that people have been talking about is the dad bod. This is when men are slightly overweight but not obese, so pretty much he is an average looking guy. Now, everyone is talking about the dad bod and men are being celebrated for their doughy physique. It all started when Clemson University student, Mackenzie Pearson, wrote an article about why women love the dad bod. Pearson includes reasons like, it’s good for cuddling and the non-intimidation  factor. There is nothing wrong with celebrating the average looking man, but the problem here with the phenomena is that women are not told the same about their mom bods.

Pearson also includes in her article that, when a guy has a dad bod, the woman is still the prettier one. Pearson writes, “We love people saying ‘they look cute together.’ But we still like being the center of attention. 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 the part of the article that really expresses the double standard between men’s and women’s beauty. The man can be a little overweight and he’s celebrated, but the woman should still be skinny when around him.

This attitude is nothing new in society. Look at almost all sitcoms on television; an overweight husband tends to have a very in shape wife. It is even seen in magazines about losing baby weight.  Women who live in the limelight are expected to lose baby weight pretty much the next day. Women have taken strides in accepting their bodies, like Kate Winslet who said in an interview with Harper Bazaar, “I so didn’t want to be one of those ‘Oh, wow, she’s back in shape after 12 weeks’ women.’ When I read things like that, I just think, ‘Oh, for f—‘s sake, that’s actually impossible.” Winslet goes onto say “I want to keep my health and my sanity and be well fed and happy. My body will never go back to what it was and I wouldn’t expect it to after three babies.”

Pearson has released another article more recently about the mom bod. In this article, it isn’t so much about why someone should date a person with a mom bod, but what it entails to be a mom. Pearson tells the story of her mom and the journey she went on to become a mother; all of the sacrifices she made, the “tiger stripes,” a nickname for her stretch marks from her kids, the grey hair, and sun spots from being a great mother. It is nice to see Pearson celebrate the mom bod and how it goes further than skin deep. The problem isn’t with Pearson, just with the name she gave to the average looking man. The problem is that bodies are being put under microscopes for both men and women. There has been body shaming for average, thin, fit, and obese. That’s the problem.

What needs to happen is for all to accept and love each other’s bodies. Finding confidence within yourself is always the first and hardest step. Then you can stop comparing yourself to others around you. Pearson celebrated the dad bod, and that is fine. She didn’t have any malice intentions when she wrote the article. Pearson simply observed something and wrote about it; she’s a writer and that’s what writers do. Is the trend of dad bod a double standard? Yeah, but as long as women and men stand together in acceptance of each other’s bodies, maybe mainstream media will follow.


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