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Take your way-back-machine to 2015 and you’ll see the emergence of the “Dad Bod” on social media. What’s a Dad Bod? Dictionary.com’s slang dictionary describes it this way:
Dad bod: /ˈdædˌbɒd/
Noun, informal: a man’s physique that is slightly overweight or flabby but still attractive.
If you roll back to 2015, you’ll see plenty of dudes proudly introducing their hairy, and slightly tubby beer guts to the world as their Dad Bods.
And in a way it’s cool. I mean body positivity is cool, right?
Well, recently a woman named Rachel Whippel, a 32-year-old real estate agent and Etsy shop owner from Eugene, Oregon went onto Tik Tok to call out what she described as blatant hypocrisy stating:
“Do you ever think about how society is so accepting of dad bods, and yet, it’s women who literally carry and birth the child. And the second they do, they’re bombarded by society about how to lose the baby weight. Because their ‘mom’ bod that literally birthed a human is not accepted, but a dad bod is.”
And I mean, she’s not wrong. Society as a whole seems to have a harder time accepting a post-partum body than a “dad bod”. Before a woman has left the maternity ward, she’s already getting the message that she needs to return to her pre-baby body pronto. And if you can’t get there naturally, there’s always the Mommy Makeover—a group of plastic surgeries likely to include breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction, tummy tuck, circumferential abdominoplasty and/or liposuction. Welcome to the world little baby. Now we’ll let daddy hold you while mommy gets her body restructured.
Rachel Whippel’s Tik Tok received millions of views and was followed up by many women who paired her voiceover with a “reveal” of their post-partum bodies. Rachel never expected to gather that kind of attention. She says she was moved to tears when she saw the videos moms had made.
And I love that. But. There is an undertone to this form of body positivity saying a man is okay in a dad bod if he’s a dad. A woman’s stretch marks are “tiger stripes” because she’s a mom. She has birthed babies.
It makes me wonder if we can finally take this a little further. Can we be more inclusive than, slight beer belly but still attractive? Can we be more inclusive than post-partum pudgy but still pretty? Can’t we just approve ALL bodies? Can’t we stop equating and equivocating and decide that every BODY is a good body once and for all? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.