The Dad Bod Craze Is An Insult To Men, And A Disservice To Women

Strong is the new sexy for women, and doughy is the new strong for men.

1434379301_1291I’m Late To The Parade. But In The Words Of Nasir Jones, I’m Never On Schedule, But Always On Time.

I tend to view what’s going on around me before finally putting my opinion in writing. It’s my lengthy intake process – and part of it ensures I don’t go to the slammer for some socially offensive slur to an unheard-of category of beings.

I’d like to believe our current debacle started with thigh gap. An unhealthy and largely genetic phenomenon that women were striving for since it was evidently the best new thing since sliced bread. Next was the renaissance of the faux-advertisement known as the corset. Maybe it was a couple of months ago when candid images of an unshaven, deconditioned Leonardo DiCaprio frolicking on a beach with a supermodel started circulating and making men and women alike adjust their ideals when it comes to their perception of attractive.

I can’t speak for anyone but myself when it comes to what “look” or body type genuinely makes me double-take. That’s entirely subjective. The reason why I said what I did above is because the media is throwing this one in our faces, as usual. It’s even giving it a name. Because the media says Dad Bod is a thing, it’s a thing. And feeble-minded masses are drinking the Kool-Aid.


For those who just joined us: Essentially, it’s trending right now that men who sport a physique that makes it visibly evident that they make lackluster efforts to keep their health and fitness intact are more appealing to women than their more in-shape counterparts.

Um. What?

You read it right. Really. No typos. The Dad Bod is a physique that basically changes an implied “work in progress” into a finished product one should now aspire for, in order to pick up at the next pool party.  A while ago, I wrote a blog article on the perversion of fat shaming and the “love yourself” movement as it applied to women (check that out here). Not surprisingly, the social aspects of these things are what pique my interest, which rings true if you’ve been following my work for any period of time. From a psychological perspective, an attitude of complacency and contentment towards a body that may not look magazine-cover-ready could be healthy.

Unless it’s unhealthy.

There’s no excuse for putting your personal health on the backburner to shroud low self esteem. This is what I believe is truly the case for many young folks who are stepping back from reasonable fitness and health goals in order to strive for a much more… how do I say it – easily attainablephysique.  I’m not talking being stage ready either. I think that’s a whole other type of unhealthy. I’m talking about body fat percentage creeping up into the mid 20’s, and a lack of training-based strength and lean tissue.  That’s not healthy.  Call me crazy, but I grew up being taught that these were things we usually tried to avoid.

This is what my friends and I all grew up wanting to look like. And the overweight girls I knew loved him too.
This is what my friends and I all grew up wanting to look like. And the overweight girls I knew loved him too.

That’s why I’m a bit insulted that this Dad Bod craze has become a thing. It’s not because I’m salty that squishy guys are scoring. That’s been happening for ages. It’s because it puts the pursuit of health and wellness into a completely different category than it was even 6 months ago.  It took so long to accept personal trainers, regular gym goers, or people who generally possessed an appreciable amount of muscle as anything more than lunkheaded  goons who were all brawn and no brain. If they were paid to do this, there was nothing academic about it; personal trainers were viewed simply as paid motivators.  Since those myths have been debunked (for the most part, anyway), a handful of people respected proper training as a science, and respected the value of good coaches with great minds. Those people had seen the value in exercising for better health, improved fitness, and for needed strength.  Alas, today their efforts are being berated thanks to the public eye deeming it “obsessive”, “unattractive” and ultimately intimidating to those who don’t already lead a similar lifestyle.

It’s kind of backward. We’re moving backward. Society is moving backward.

I haven’t forgotten that the Dad Bod craze spawned thanks to people who are attracted to the male body – which I would assume would largely be comprised of women.  To an extent, I get it. You’re already slightly ambivalent to even approach the dumbbell rack at the gym due to the intimidation factor being off the charts. It’s only natural that insecurities will surface and you can associate a brawny or muscular look with the way you might feel when you’re around such types in a gym setting.  In a number of the articles I’ve read about the Dad Bod, I’ve gathered one rationale to be a feeling of a better “fit” when your fitness level matches that of your partner, with no stark contrast in your body types. The alternative can make the less fit partner feel “unworthy” or not up to par, and wrench on that person’s insecurities.

I see. It makes sense now. Life goes better when your husband or boyfriend is (at absolute best) average built to equal your equal level of gelatinousness so you can maintain and nurture each other’s insecurities and ultimately be unmotivated together, in love. It’s beautiful.

Is it in bad taste for me to say that my friends and I grew up thinking most women liked strong men?

I feel that as time passes and social media grows, our position towards many issues and topics is shaped towards protecting our insecurities, rather than exposing and beating them. Finding confidence through numbers does nothing for your actual confidence.  In (blunt) English, I’m trying to say that it doesn’t make a fat person a) any less fat, b) any less unhealthy, or any less psychologically and psychosocially damaged from a) or b) by simply finding romantic partners, friends, or social groups who endorse the same lifestyle.

My point is that it may feel good to find more people in your shoes, but if they’re only there to support things detrimental to your health, it may be worth raising an eyebrow.

And I’d be lying if I said health and wellness was the long and short of it. People train to look better just as much as they train to feel and function better. I include myself in this group. With an issue like the Dad Bod going around, what effect will that have on the guy who’s been working hard for aesthetic gains, seen plenty of results, and is 60% of the way to his goal of a healthier, lean physique only to find out that now, chicks dig the beer gut, making at least a compnent of his training go all for naught?  I guess that kills the workout experiment, right?

As I alluded before, everyone has their own perception of what looks good. What you read above, of course, was shaped around what my perception of that is – no one else’s. With that said, I can guarantee there are plenty of men reading this who would probably align with most of what’s written above.  I’m not only speaking on the aesthetic here. Popularization of different trends in the media has made people run out of trends. Now we’re really reaching.

Hunchback syndrome, the no-squat-booty, or the 6-pack of ribs will be soon to come as the next “things”. I promise you.

Hopefully I’ve provided enough reason to avoid the Dad Bod thing like it’s the plague. I’d love to see what North America’s population will look like in 50 years. In light of what’s trending,

I’m Just Not Sure There Will Be Too Many People Still Around To See For Themselves.  

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