Who Are These Women Into The ‘Dad Bod?’ (And Where Are The Men Praising ‘Mom Bod?’)

Universal Pictures

I’m all for embracing your body. I don’t believe in diets, I think all foods are okay to eat, and I learned after years of body image issues that exercise doesn’t need to be an everyday, hour-long activity that makes your bones ache. So before you accuse me of shaming people who aren’t in great shape, let me tell you I’m the first to shut down anyone who criticizes someone else’s body. I’ll be on your case in two seconds flat for saying that girl in short shorts “shouldn’t be wearing that,” or that guy in a swimsuit looks “like a beached whale.”

But as a woman, I have to say, guys, “the dad bod” is not hot. Supposedly, women disagree with me. Apparently, it’s super sexy. They love that it makes guys seem “human, natural, and attractive,” the antithesis of an intimidating hot body.

I don’t know who those women are. Every twenty and thirty-something woman I’m friends with doesn’t understand the appeal of this type of body (even if our boyfriends/husbands have it, we’re not obsessed with it). It flies in the face of everything I find attractive about men.

The Coolness Of Looking Like You Don’t Care

My question is this: when did it stop being cool to look great? Since when, ladies, do you want to look at a guy and think, “He clearly eats pizza; looks like he only works out occasionally; that guy definitely drinks a lot of beer”? When I see someone for the first time, particularly a topless guy, I’d like my first thought to be, “Wow, he’s in great shape.” After all, your first impression of someone is the way they look (let’s just be honest here), and wouldn’t you want a first impression to be something, well, impressive?

I know it’s not realistic for everyone to be in great shape. But it’s great to look like you at least try. As I was watching a single friend swipe through Tinder the other day, I noticed that she swiped left on every guy who clearly had a “dad bod.” I asked her about it and she simply stated, “Why would I pick a guy with a gut when I have a choice?”

Fitness speaks volumes about a man. It points to numerous positive qualities. It tells you that a guy likes to care for himself; it says that he may want you to look great, but he’ll also look great for you; it says that he’s more likely to live a longer, healthier life. The fit guy at the gym is the guy who can play with your kids on the playground without getting tired, who has the energy to take your dogs to the park with you, who you can definitely go hiking with, ski with, and let’s be honest here, who can keep up with you in the bedroom.

So, Can Women Have Some Flab Too?

For individuals who do have the “dad bod,” more power to you. I’d say, great, if you’re happy and healthy, then the woman you’re with should be happy. And of course, there are more important things to worry about in life than your body.

Unfortunately, this Internet trend also points to what can only be defined as a double standard, as Time Magazine points out. The only praise that we’ve seen of women with clearly imperfect bodies, or “mom bods,” has been in response to the “dad bod” trend. Other than that, the only times we’ve seen women embraced for their flaws is in marketing campaigns by companies like Dove. I have yet to see a flood of articles about how hot it is when a woman looks like she eats a little too much chocolate with her red wine. I’ve heard men say that they like women who are a little heavier, but in my own experience, it’s been few and far between — and it certainly hasn’t become an Internet sensation.

While articles on the Internet have jumped on the “dad bod” sensation, praising hot male celebrities with beer guts, you’d be hard-pressed to find articles on hot female celebrities with stretch marks, cellulite, or protruding stomachs. Most seemingly “out of shape” women appear in magazines like US Weekly under headings that read, “12 Celebs Who Have Gained Weight” or, “The unflattering bikini shots celebrities wish you hadn’t seen.” Funny how women in bikinis are shamed in this latter piece for having the female equivalent of the “dad bod.”

Judged For Seeming Judgmental

I get it: we get married, and sometimes out of complacency, busy lives, or having kids, we stop working out and eating right. But extolling the virtues of men who look out of shape seems to be stretching it.

I’m sure men love hearing that women love the dad bod, but as a woman who knows lots of women, I just don’t know any who do. I lived with sixty-four girls in a sorority house for six months. Not one of us posted pictures in our bedrooms of guys with “dad bods.” On the plus side for the dudes, claiming that women like this look makes it easier for them to justify letting themselves go. It also reinforces a double standard for what “hotness” looks like.

The worst thing about the “dad bod” trend is that it makes women like me, who see nothing attractive about a “dad bod,” sound like we’re being “unfair,” or judgmental. Why can’t women say that they like the same thing a lot of men like — a super-hot and fit body — whether it comes across as superficial or not? I just don’t understand why it’s so great for a guy to look like he could stand to lose a couple of pounds.

If we’re talking looks exclusively, I like the complete opposite of the “dad bod.” I like a man who appears strong, like he cares about himself, and like he leads a fun and active life. That’s the only kind of body I find attractive. And you know what? There should be nothing wrong with saying that.