In Defense of the ‘MomBod’

Men across the country are sporting the "DadBod" with confidence, and even pride. Who needs six-pack abs and ripped arms to feel sexy these days? Women, that's who.

June 12, 2015
img rwnvgnvryu6qizw9uwao

Yesterday I woke up at 5:45. I stumbled to my makeshift fitness center in my living room.  I kept yawning while I lifted weights above my head and fell into deep squats while listening to Kanye West’s ‘Fitness Plan.’ I proceeded to run three miles with my dog, cutting off three minutes since I’d slept later than planned.

I came home and quickly showered, fixed my hair and makeup, and then proceeded to make a lunch consisting of spinach and fruit. No time to sit down for a cup of coffee – my four month old had to be ready for daycare.

Later at lunch, I scan the web and was once again assaulted with “motivational” pictures of women who had recently had babies, yet were back to their size four clothes. As I munch my rabbit food, I marvel at their progress. It’s been four months since I had my baby…two months past the socially acceptable timeline for sporting that post-partum bump.

But then I saw hope. Hope in an article written by a fresh college student who was defending…the DadBod? Wait, this guy’s a freshman at college who’s fiercely dedicated to beer bong and sporting his gut. Shouldn’t this be called BeerBod? However, I ignored the glaring fact that he was only 20 and most likely had never held an infant.

I began to read the litany of articles discussing the DadBod. DadBod’s work hard in the office, and they sacrifice the gym in order to have more time with their family. It represents that their priorities go beyond a surface level. Women love DadBod’s, it’s just a fact. Celebrities sport DadBod’s, so of course it’s sexy. DadBod’s say I have a job, I have money, I have confidence, and most importantly, I know that guacamole is extra at Chipotle, but I’m getting it anyway.

Then my interest in DadBods went south…quickly. DadBod’s are something of an art, something that requires finesse and confidence, and the perfect proportion of pizza to cardio. The beauty of a DadBod is that you don’t have to have children to gain this physique. Just eat an extra side dish, this represents the food children leave behind that fathers feel obligated to finish. Tempted to workout? Skip it and have a few brews instead. Women will be more apt to approach you when you’re rocking a DadBod because it’s assumed that you’re not plagued by narcissism.

What exactly is a DadBod you may ask? It’s when a man has an undefined mid section and a vague outline of muscles. He seems like someone who hits the gym, just at irregular intervals.

Narratives from college aged men to middle aged men described how they’ve always rocked a DadBod knowing that secretly all women love it; that they would actually prefer to have a DadBod in their life than someone with a strong physique.

This was starting to become a little extreme. I prided myself on engaging in a healthy lifestyle while maintaining a happy home and work life. I multi-task to the extreme and don’t sacrifice home life, but then again not everyone is a morning person.

As I was still mulling over this DadBod phenomenon I typed in MomBod and was immediately assaulted with a very different message.

“Post-Baby Bootcamp,” “change the way you recover from childbirth,” “10 foods that will drop that baby weight fast.” I typed in celebrity moms, and my screen was flooded with images of Heidi Klum and Jennifer Lopez. My heart began to sink: MomBods were not a thing. Well they were, but they were definitely not synonymous with DadBod’s.

The double standard that DadBod’s present is horrifying. Females are ridiculed if they still carry around their post-baby fluff. Advertisements encourage women to try out a modern day corset or to wear a slimming swimsuit until they’re beach body is back. Society will never say that it prefers their women to have a belly. When excuses are made for why women don’t look like they belong on the cover of Sports Illustrated there’s that silent tsk-tsk sound resounding in the background.

Slowly the media caught onto this double standard when females across the country began posting selfies of their mom bods. There’s no tongue and cheek “steps” to obtaining a MomBod. It’s plain and simple: go through childbirth; raise a family; find time to eat a healthy meal when your kids are pulling you in a thousand directions.

Men are creating an idealized image of why they’re out of shape and how it’s difficult to obtain this body. It’s not difficult to gain a few pounds snacking on chips and ice cream late at night, while putting halfhearted time in at the gym.

Although DadBod’s are a disturbing representation of America’s society it has also opened the door for a narrative of stereotypes and being proud of who you are. It’s great that men are pleased with their various shapes, and it’s encouraging that women reciprocate this sentiment. Even though women are still subjected to body shaming there has been a distinct turn on social media addressing this huge flaw.

Television hosts are releasing satires, men are filling their blogs with steps to becoming bigger, and women are vocalizing their distaste. But lets face it, moms will continue to multi-task and accomplish everything in a time-crunched window, while men will invariably go to work and come home and sit on the couch (stereotypes are okay, right?).

Body shaming on mothers and females will continue. But the tide is shifting, and people are becoming aware of the privilege men hold in the sphere of physicality.  It’s time to celebrate every body type and not be ashamed that your body isn’t photoshop perfect. So whether you work out or don’t, be proud of your MomBod and keep rocking it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR