If you have not heard, the term "dad bod" is a new trend sweeping the internet. To put it simply, the dad bod is just a well-crafted beer gut that can be gained with years of poor drinking and eating choices, coupled with a lack of exercise. The dad bod is extremely relevant to our generation because with the high level of alcohol abuse rampant on college campuses, coupled with limitless dining options and little time to exercise due to school work and partying, many college men are now rocking this newly praised physique.
The problem I have with all the attention and praise this fad has garnered, is the double standard it creates for women and their bodies, in comparison to men, and how this issue continues to be almost completely ignored. It is important to note that I am not knocking the dad bod, or any form of physical expression or body confidence, but I am criticizing the failure of society to provide the same opportunities to women that are given to men.
Suddenly, it is okay for men to neglect the gym, over eat and accumulate large amounts of fat in their stomachs, and still be considered desirable in today's culture -- and, wow, that's great for men! Unfortunately, it still holds that if a woman is not rail thin, working out consistently, and limiting her calories, she cannot be considered desirable and attractive by mainstream media. It seems that, often times, men are given many unfair advantages in life -- including the wage gap, job opportunities and, now, even beauty standards -- simply because they are men.
The way society makes it out to be, there is only one body type women must have to be considered desirable and attractive, and that is to be skinny. Do not deny it; just look at any commercial, movie, magazine cover, music video, etc. It is very easy to see that the women featured as beautiful, successful, powerful, and desired are skinny. Because of this overexposure in the media, of what is considered beautiful, eating disorders and body shaming runs rampant amongst young women. Now, if you make a comparison with that of the men represented in media -- yes, some are extremely fit, but it is far less of a requirement in order to be depicted as someone who could hold power, be successful, or be considered attractive.
We, as a generation, need to take a more critical look at the way we let ourselves be perceived by the media, society, and our culture. Body confidence is a beautiful thing, but if it is not gender inclusive, and if we are not taking efforts to make the perception of beauty something realistically attainable by both men and women, then it is not really body confidence -- it is the continuation and perpetuation of a patriarchal society that clearly is not working out in favor of everyone.
(Please note, I am addressing the gender binary of our society, that there are only men and women, and not the whole spectrum of gender identity).