Arbitrary Criticism

The Dadbod, Demystified

Let's not blame fatherhood, please.

By Catherine Martin May 19, 2015

Because who wants this?

Let’s discuss a trend that’s sweeping the internet: the Dadbod. Dadbod, for those of you who live under a rock and search the internet only to read my posts, refers to men who were once in shape yet are now starting to round out a bit in the middle. The idea is that women are more attracted to these men because their lack of exercise shows they aren’t insecure about their appearance (athletes, I’ll let you dwell on this). Instead, these men are allegedly focused on raising families and emotionally supporting their wives and girlfriends when they have bad days. Pudgy bellies, according to someone, are a signal to women that a man will be a better mate.

Mostly I’m upset about this idea because my dad ran an Ironman this weekend. My dad is in better shape than you are. Let’s not tar all dads with the same brush, please. Dadbod pinup Leonardo DiCaprio isn’t out of shape because he’s a father—he's not a father at all! He’s out of shape because he stopped exercising. So let’s not call it a Dadbod, please; let’s call it what it is, out of shape.

All over the internet, women are praising their boyfriends and husbands for their gradually increasing bodies. Comments basically average to, “My man has a Dadbod, and he’s sexy to me.” At first I was convinced this was Stockholm syndrome, or something even more sinister. What if these women were forced to post under duress?

Then I realized these women are trying to support their men. Maybe these men are sad that other stressors occupy their thoughts, and they don’t find they have time to exercise. How sweet that the women who love them are stroking their egos. Unfortunately, it was only a minute before I switched from thinking this was cute to filling with righteous indignation. I mean, if I had unlimited time, maybe I would work out too! How come nobody is ever fetishizing slightly out of shape girls?

The answer is simple. You tell a guy that you think he’s hot even though he’s getting fat, and he feels manly and like you will always stand by his side. You tell a chick that you think she’s hot even though she’s getting fat, and she’ll immediately start crying and you’ll have to buy her diamond earrings to get past it. Mombod will never be trending. To do so would incite such a run on diamonds that it would severely upset the international economy.

The truth is women don’t want Dadbads, and that's fine. It is possible for us to want a particular man who happens to have a Dadbod. There are many factors that lead to long term commitment, and appearance should rightly not be the first. Any man can be sexy, if they take care of the woman they are with and know how to be emotionally supportive and present.

That doesn’t mean, however, that a Dad Body is our physical ideal any more than an out of shape girl is yours. When we head down to the beach, there isn’t any straight woman among us who isn’t turning to watch the perfect abs (attached to a man, preferably) jog down the sand, even if we would rather be with our particular mate. I’m scared that fetishizing the Dadbod will make this breed of abs extinct. Women, love the one you're with, celebrate their body however you want, but let’s please say no more about dadbod. Our eye candy needs emotional support, too. 


Filed under
Show Comments