If Dad Bods Are OK, Can We Lower The Standards For Women Too?

Dad bods are having a bit of a moment right now, it seems. The idea that guys don’t need to be ‘roided up to the hilt with the body of an American Gladiator is somehow revolutionary to many people and to be honest, it’s kind of obnoxious. Why are we cutting men so much slack when they already have it so much easier than women do when it comes to expectations placed on them by society?

  1. Women have always been held to higher standards. There’s no denying that beauty standards for women are so high as to feel nearly impossible to live up to. We’re all meant to have the ass of Kim Kardashian, the waist of Kate Moss, and the boobs of Jessica Rabbit. We should have waist-length, perfectly-coiffed hair and be sporting a full face of makeup at all times, but not too much makeup or then it’s gross. We shouldn’t be skin and bones because that’s not attractive, but if we have too many curves, then we’re fat and need to lay off the McDonald’s, lol. It’s like a battle we just can’t win no matter what we do.
  2. Dad bods aren’t just acceptable, they’re actually praised. A quick Google search pulls up pages and pages worth of articles about how attractive dad bods are – so much so that seven out of ten women find this body type attractive, apparently. It seems straight women actually prefer dad bods over any other body type, in fact. Men who embrace this are seen as extra confident and hot for merely existing.
  3. Dad bods are just… normal bodies. If you’re not familiar with what “dad bods” actually are, it’s probably because the need to define what is actually just a completely normal body – a dude without a lot of muscle or toning who maybe has a bit of a beer belly – is kinda perplexing. At the end of the day, men with “dad bods” are just… men with bodies.
  4. Women’s bodies are incredible things no matter their size or shape. Women’s bodies are mind-blowingly cool. Not only can we make life, growing a child and delivering it all on our own (aside from the initial egg fertilization, of course!), but we can also sustain that life by breastfeeding as well. Even if we choose not to have children, the fact that our bodies are capable of such a thing is wondrous and really special. We’re soft, sexy, and amazing no matter what we look like. Somehow, the acceptance of dad bods doesn’t seem to have brought that point home.
  5. Men are attracted to perfection; women are attracted to realness. While I can’t speak for all men, of course, it’s clear from the likes of porn, OnlyFans, and Instagram models that there’s a very particular vision that men have when it comes to the ideal woman. It’s almost like we need to be some airbrushed, android amalgamation of a woman in order to be deemed attractive. Meanwhile, while women think the likes of Channing Tatum and Jason Mamoa are hot, we find the likes of Chris Pratt or even Paul Rudd just as sexy despite their lack of gigantic muscles and chiseled features. We just want what’s real, dad bods and all.
  6. Aesthetics are so much less important than what’s inside. This is really what it boils down to. Yes, physical attraction is a very real thing and there’s no denying that it’s important, but the fixation on appearance rather than on what makes a person who they are is sad. For women, we can date a guy who’s only moderately conventionally attractive but end up thinking he’s the hottest guy in the world because he’s smart, funny, and treats us well. We understand that looks come and go but who you are is forever.
  7. Can we just agree that all bodies are beautiful in their own ways? Dad bods, mom bods, skinny bods, fat bods, whatever. All bodies are beautiful and wonderful in their own ways. They’re all able to carry us around this world day after day. They run marathons, carry around kids, build things, fix things, cook things… they’re just amazing. Who cares what it looks like really?
  8. You don’t have to be attracted to all bodies, you just have to accept them. By saying that all bodies are beautiful, dad bods or otherwise, no one is implying that you have to find them sexually attractive or anything. It just means that you have to accept the fact that they exist in the first place and that you have to understand that other people do find them sexually attractive. Oh, and maybe accept the fact that bodies don’t exist only for sexual gratification anyway. It’s really not that hard.
  9. Why are we so obsessed with people’s bodies anyway? At the end of the day, the only body you should be obsessed with is your own, and as long as it’s healthy and gets you where you need to go every day, that’s all that matters. Dad bods, you rule, but so do all the other bods out there. Maybe we can be a bit more gracious and accepting, particularly of women’s.
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill