It’s Time To Stop Talking About Dad Bod

I hate this recent “dad bod” epidemic. I hate everything about it. I hate the flippant post from Clemson that started it all, and the pretentious posts that have followed about how unhealthy it is. I hate the expression, and I really hate how it’s made me feel slightly ashamed of my love for Seth Rogen. I love him because he’s funny, ok? NOT because of his “dad bod.”

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What I hate the most about the original dad bod article is the way the author (Mackenzie Pearson) purports to speak for all women. With all due respect, Ms. Pearson, I’d, um, rather you not. So today I’m going to tackle the source of the problem: the original post. I’ll address each reason Pearson championed the dad bod, and I’ll give you my most earnest and heartfelt reactions. (lol.) Just to be clear, I’m speaking for me, for a 21-year-old geeky feminist lady at UNC-CH. Not for all women.

Here we go:

It doesn’t intimidate us.
Few things are worse than taking a picture in a bathing suit, one being taking a picture in a bathing suit with a guy who is crazy fit. We don’t want a guy that makes us feel insecure about our body. We are insecure enough as it is. We don’t need a perfectly sculpted guy standing next to us to make us feel worse.

I am a strong independent woman, and if you think I’m going to be intimated by a boy with a hot bod, then you’re wrong. If you’re with someone who actively makes you feel insecure about your body, that’s a relationship that needs to be reevaluated. If you feel insecure about your body simply because your partner is in good shape, then you need to take a look at yourself and your own confidence. Everyone, male and female, has insecurities, but it isn’t healthy to deal with them by lowering our standards, as this article seems to promote. In my experience, that old mantra about being happy with yourself before you can be happy with someone else is true, regardless of whether your partner has abs of steel or a flabby stomach.

Bathing suit pictures do suck; I’ll give the author that point, but standing next to a lumpy dude isn’t going to make them any better. They’re always going to suck, because bathing suits suck. They’re uncomfortable and awkward and the bottoms threaten to float away with each passing wave, but such is life, y’all. Such is life.

We like being the pretty one.

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.

Pearson uses so few words for this point, but there are so many things to disagree with! I guess the biggest thing is that fact that all of this, literally every point made, is based on Pearson’s own opinion. She tries to trick readers by saying “we,” but clearly these are “I” things. Pearson likes being the pretty one. Pearson likes being the center of attention. All of that is perfectly fine, but it’s not universal, and it’s insidious to act like it is.

Better cuddling.
No one wants to cuddle with a rock. Or Edward Cullen. The end.

This one, again, is subjective. I would gladly cuddle with Edward Cullen. I mean, would he be my top choice? Nope. That’s Domhnall Gleeson at the moment, but I’d be all right with Pattinson as long as he promised to wash his hair first.

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Good eats.
The dad bod says he doesn’t meal prep every Sunday night so if you want to go to Taco Tuesday or $4 pitcher Wednesday, he’d be totally down. He’s not scared of a cheat meal because he eats just about anything and everything.

Pretty much every college guy I know, even the particularly health-conscious ones, still participate in things like “Taco Tuesday” or bar nights with drink specials. I don’t think dad bod has anything to do with it. Of course, that isn’t the point though, because why does this matter at all? Who cares what your boyfriend wants to eat or drink? If you want to feast, go right ahead. You don’t have to do the same things as your partner.

You know what you’re getting.
Girls tend to picture their future together with their guys early on. Therefore, if he already has the dad bod going on, we can get used to it before we date him, marry him, have three kids. We know what we are getting into when he’s got the same exact body type at the age of 22 that he’s going to have at 45.

I just… I don’t know how to respond to this one. You’ve stumped me, Pearson. It’s kind of true, I guess? But also it seems idiotic? I don’t even know anymore. I’ve put a lot more thought into this point than I should have. I’ll just leave it alone.

Snarky commentary aside, if the woman who wrote this post is being genuine, it’s troubling from a feminist standpoint. It’s even more troubling if most young women feel this way, but I truly don’t think they do. I’m not trying to mock Pearson. It’s her prerogative to write whatever she likes. I’m merely looking to point out how completely subjective this article is. So many people are writing detailed posts about how young women are using the dad bod craze as an unhealthy way to cope with insecurities, but I can’t help but feel as if the issue isn’t as widespread as people are assuming. I’m a rising college senior, and this opinion is just not something I’ve ever heard from anyone except for Pearson. The fact that most people seem to be forgetting about this fad is that it was started by one person. One single article in a college newspaper created this monster. (On the real though, well done Pearson. It’s impressive that one person started all of this. You wrote something that spread like wildfire and reached a massive audience, and that’s impressive whether I agree with your article or not!)

My point is this: There are so many important issues in this world to focus our energy on, and so many important feminist issues that need to be talked about, but dad bod isn’t one of them. Let’s take a step back and remember that people are allowed to write dodo bird posts for their college newspapers, and that we are also allowed to ignore those articles.

PS: I googled “dad bod” in preparation for this post/out of curiosity, and a photo of Jon Hamm popped up. JON HAMM???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? WHAT IN THE FRESH HELL???????? HE IS NOT A GOOD EXAMPLE OF THIS. That is all.

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One thought on “It’s Time To Stop Talking About Dad Bod

  1. As a fitness guy and charity calendar model myself I think that Pearson is not just making assumptions about women but about us guys too, by establishing her argument on common myths saying fitness people are vain and that you can’t enjoy a burger with them. Well, I can tell that I’d be happy to enjoy a burger and so would my other fitness friends. Sure, before photoshoots diets are usually restrictive to prepare but apart from that we just eat healthy without being obsessive about ingredients. And apparantly me girlfriend is supposed to feel insecure as she’s not into fitness herself…

    And that men with a dad bod will always have a dad bod? I’m not so sure about that, in my experience when I see guys around me it’s usually the guys who never exercised that have suffered from obesity as they got older. Of course, there may be nothing wrong with having a “dad bod” in itself but that “dad bod” tends to become a bigger dad bod if you refrain from physical activity. I’m not saying everyone should become a fitness freak like me but taking care of you body will provide other benefits beyond looks and I’m not sure if I’m comfy about the dad bod trend making it seem ok to let yourself go…both in terms of looks and health.

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