Last week I saw several articles talking about this “dad bod” phenomenon, and I finally got curious enough to find out what the fuss was all about. I wasn’t disappointed. The dad bod is exactly what it sounds like – a man that has the body of a…dad (translation: average adult male body). And no, being an actual dad is not a requirement for this body type. This term gained tons of momentum after college-focused website the Odyssey published an essay called “Why Girls Love The Dad Bod”, written by Clemson University sophomore Mackenzie Pearson. Here’s the definition, as Pearson explains it:
“In case you haven’t noticed lately, girls are all about that dad bod. The dad bod is a nice balance between a beer gut and working out. The dad bod says, ‘I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.’ ”
“There is just something about the dad bod. that makes boys seem more human, natural, and attractive.”
“A dad bod is a guy who is not incredibly chiseled, but at the same time, is not unhealthy. He’s not overweight. He’s probably that guy who played football in high school and came to college and didn’t play football. Maybe he had a few too many slices of pizza, or a few too many ramens, and just ended up with a little bit of squish on top of his muscle. It’s a healthy body. It’s a boy-next-door look. He’s the kind of person you go on a hike with, and then at the end of the day, you eat pasta and lay in bed and watch a movie.”
To be honest, this is where I get a little envious of men. I LOVE the way Pearson is talking about guys with dad bods. She talks about their favorite activities. About their personalities. Their past, their interests. Would we ever speak about a woman who had an average body like this? Would we acknowledge that she’s a person with a body, instead of just a body? (Sigh). Regardless, I am so happy that dad bod is on the map and it’s helping to create a larger space for male body image and acceptable bodies.
Pearson’s piece has actually had a profound on men and boys who’ve read it, proving that men have needed their own version of the women’s plus size movement for a long time. Pearson explained:
“I’ve had a surprising number of men and boys contact me saying, ‘I’ve had trouble with my body image. I’ve been insecure about my body because I’m a bigger guy. I’m a thick guy.’ They’re reaching out and saying, ‘This really helped me with my self-confidence.’ A lot of guys have been tweeting pictures of themselves at the beach, like, ‘Thanks for the encouragement. I’m strutting my dad bod proud today.’ That’s been really great to see, that it’s caused such a positive ripple effect.”