This term was created by an odyssey user who said that the "trend" was causing frat guys especially to rejoice. The trend as I saw it has mainly shown middle aged guys such as Leonardo DiCaprio praised in the media for how they look instead of being called flat, flabby, out of shape, or overweight. I am all for body acceptance minding the extreme sides of either spectrum (i.e. body positivity or acceptance is not praising morbid obesity, binge eating, anorexia, or bulimia when an individual actually has these issues. They are debilitating and not anything to be proud of. ) but I feel like the term "dad bod" is a misguided form of body positivity and I struggle to even call it that. Take the frat guy stereotype that is focused on in the original article. The author gives the frat guy a monolithic presence. This frat guy as he is described "goes to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and like to eat eight slices of pizza at a time". According to the author his appearance and more accepting approach to food-as in "We don't need to meal prep I don't mind going to Taco Bell" is a breath of fresh air to coeds who get way too much of the sculpted and "intimidating" figure of the other side of the author's description of frat guys or possibly university dudes in general. Let's break down the author's reasoning for why girls love "the dad bod" and I'll point out a few key flaws.
Girls wanna be the cute one in pictures. Their self esteems are boosted by being with an out of shape guy who doesn't have rock hard abs. This reminds me of pseudo body positive Facebook photos telling girls to get with a "husky" guy since he's better to snuggle with than a skinny one, which is coincidentally the same thing as pictures that I've also seen circulating (and mentalities) that tell girls that guys favor "thick", or "real" girls who are much better for cuddling, sex, and anything else than a girl with "bones". That also harkens back to a popular Megan Trainer song, but I digress.
The author doesn't notice the vanity in her statement. Since her audience is girls who she assumes would be also drawn to the idea that they want to be "the cute one" in photos with their partner and the fact that that's unfair and sexist. You like him because he is unattractive is what you're really saying. Even if you feel like it's simply appreciating that he isn't what you feel is shown with the basic representation of size and it isn't harmful for you to appreciate how that makes you look, that is in fact harmful and not alright. There was a sitcom that aired in the late 90s to the late 2000s called "The King of Queens" that starred Kevin James and Leah Remini as the main characters a working class husband and wife living in Queens, New York with Carrie (the wife's) father. Kevin James is a household name and it's pretty well known that he's a "husky" guy. This is a theme used for comedy a lot with Kevin's character Doug in the show overeating and indulging himself in a funny way. In one episode Dough has done really well with losing weight and getting into shape and everyone is complimenting him everywhere they go-Carrie wants to be supportive but this makes her jealous. She loves him and finds him attractive but also likes being the conventionally "hot" one in the relationship. It isn't as if Kevin or his character is obese but in this episode he's more in shape than the dad bod even and Carrie finds it hard to deal. This is an understandable problem but the fact that's not okay is actually acknowledged.
The author of the odyssey article I am basing my argument on does not at all address the fact that catering only to ~dare I say "basic"~ girls and an assumed mentality that every relationship is casual and egocentric is just plain wrong. If you actually treat anyone you're in a relationship like this then I feel pretty bad for them, that's not addressed at the original author herself as much as anyone who would demean their significant other and only enjoy their appearance to be "the cute one".
No girl likes cuddling with a rock. Therefore women hate guys with washboard abs! And vampires. The author argues that the appearance of the frat guy with "dad bod" is more natural and human and while that's all fine good and well every kind of cuddling is the same. Would you honestly feel complimented if a guy told you that he enjoyed your weight (thinking of the average sized American woman here) because it's sooo much better to cuddle with girls who have meat on your bones? That doesn't feel condescending or patronizing at all? You don't feel like it's lazy and you're just being fed what you wanna hear? It seems to me like it's a case of denial and I'm willing to bet eventually you'd find fault with it. The popularity of Facebook posts like the ones I mentioned are what make me say "eventually". This is another form of sexism just like anything else. Another way to say that his appearance is all that matters to you because it's a diminished form of what's conventionally acceptable and therefore makes you look more attractive in comparison.
With guys who have "dad bods" you get the experience of dating your dad without having to! He looks like a middle aged man when he's in his early twenties and somehow it's healthy and appealing. This is presented with the idea that you know what he would look like before getting married and having kids and such-before being middle aged at 45. One can assume here that the author feels she would still have the mentality of wanting to be the cute one at 45 when she would have "mom bod" and look a lot more similar to the guy who she liked because he let her have tacos.
Here we comes to one of my initial great issues with "dad bod". Frat guys do not have the body of a father nor should they. They are not middle aged men unless they plan on dying young. It's the party culture and the fact that their normal habits are accepted by normal dudes as opposed to societies they feel oppress them-because liking your body and eating the foods you like aren't actually wrong things. Most guys don't make you feel intimidated or bad about yourself for not being a health nut like themselves. If this has been your overwhelming experience I feel for you but newsflash: you really weren't involved with the right guys. It seems like one collective group is addressed in the original article as the way that "basic" guys are. Lumping guys into a collective group based on stereotypes of the douche jock or "the totally cool and fun frat guy who has a "real" body like me and lets me eat tacos" is sexist. Do we appreciate it when guys do that sort of thing? Think about sexy tropes that straight guys stereotypically find attractive. The nerd girl, the one who plays hard to get, thick girls with big butts and boobs but a conventionally attractive waist, girls who are fun and like to party, girls who are athletic enough without being too muscley 'cause that isn't cute to them. Do we enjoy things like that? Double standards are not fun no matter what side of the issue they fall on.
Moreover, frat guys or any guys should not or do not have the body of a middle aged man because they do not have the lifestyle of a middle aged man. It makes sense for your dad to have a beer gut or something attractive and in between as it's described. It's great that it's deemed acceptable by tabloids for Leonardo DiCaprio to chill in the ocean without sculpted abs. Middle aged men are old, stressed out, and especially if they're fathers have had the excuse of raising kids. Your elevated idea of the frat guy with a dad bod doesn't do any of those things. So he's just some guy being in college and not making a huge deal about his appearance...and he has the capacity to still be just as good or bad as the basic guys with washboard abs and a meal planning habit that go to the gym too much.
"Dad bod" shouldn't be a thing in the slightest because "mom bod" is a thing for a reason. We aren't just saying that we've aged and our metabolism has slowed down when we say we have "mom bods". Oftentimes for middle aged women but also for any mother "mom bod" starts when you get pregnant and does not stop. During pregnancy is mom bod after pregnancy is hella mom bod. Your body grows and changes when you grow and give birth to a child. You can and will have a form of mom bod when you're older if you haven't given birth or been pregnant and are in fact a mother. Women should definitely feel confident in their bodies in general and their bodies as mothers of all types but you don't see the "mom bod" being fetishized-just "dad bod".
So unless we wish to give guys permission to treat women how we most certainly do not want to be treated: as sexual objects then we should not advocate this. There are so many double standards that are present in recent times that aren't addressed for an understandable reason. Women are oppressed and wish to be able to objectify and have selfish opinions. We beg those male celebs to take their shirts off on live television and they graciously comply. Women are shamed for naked selfies and male celebrities are naughty for them. Female celebs who don't have sculpted figures get slammed more often than not while "dad bods'' are raised up. I get the attitudes I do but no matter what previous experiences are we have to be fair to everyone. Thus concludes my explanation why girls should not in fact love the "dad bod" even if they do.