A relatively short time ago, the internet went crazy for the “dad bod”. That’s right, folks, in case you were living underneath a rock, I finally have the ideal Hollywood figure. And I got it by not doing a darned thing, which is honestly, too often, the exact way that white straight men get things. But enough about privilege, and back to privilege.
Seriously, suddenly the internet went from only adoring men who were sporting at least 6 in their particular packs to men who maybe could be counted as carrying a 2-pack being a thing to idolize. Naturally, it was done as a celebration of men, specifically fathers, who had decided to focus less on their abs and more on their families and actually enjoying a damned taco once in a while. As someone who has long been an advocate of tacos, and who has been a father for less long, I should have been trumpeting this development, all while carrying Nugget around on my shoulders.
Except I didn’t.
And I won’t.
Because it’s bull.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be celebrating celebrities looking closer to the real people they’re supposed to be representing, but let’s not pretend that “dad bod” is a victory in that category. Why not? Well, for one, it’s specifically called “dad bod”. That automatically excludes an entire slightly-more-than-half of the population. Yes, men were being celebrated for carrying a few extra inches, but heaven forbid that a woman actually show that her body has gone through some serious stuff.
Look at it this way. “Dad bod” is a way for men to be celebrated and still told they’re sexually viable even if they enjoy food more than sit-ups. Women are chagrined from every showing that they have cellulite, and a stretch mark of any kind, like, oh, the type gained through pregnancy and growing an entire WHOLE PERSON inside, should never be admitted to. The fact that “dad bod” became a thing while women were encouraged to turn themselves into waifs that disappear completely if they turn sideways (except, of course, for T&A) is pretty terrible, and men should be just as offended as women, even though they are ostensibly the ones benefiting from it.
The thing is, this could have actually been a good start to something better. If the “dad bod” movement had been about more than simply men keeping the dynamic of power in their court, we could have seen some real change. It could have been a chance to start shattering the entire culture of body shaming that’s spread rampantly across the western world. We might have even started being able to have conversations about who people are, without having to talk about their physical attributes, and instead look at things of actual substance, like intelligence, personality, and how they treat others.
And that’s what I’m planning on instilling in Nugget. I know that I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me, and I’ll have to spend time dismantling words and images put out by the rest of society, but I want her to always remember that she’s worth more than just her physical appearance. I want her to focus on positives of character, not how she looks in a two-piece bathing suit. And, truth be told, I want her to be able to wear a two-piece bathing suit, should she choose to, without worrying about whether or not someone is judging her for doing so. Nugget is a very smart, and kind, and strong little girl, and, while I might be biased, I also happen to feel that those characteristics carry so much more weight in the world than how she looks, and if she’s got a bit of extra weight to her.
Hopefully, in the future, we’ll be able to move away from concepts like “dad bod” and talk about things like “people bod”, or, even better, not talk about bods at all. And I’m going to keep working to make sure that Nugget knows that who a person is, and how they treat her, is more important than anything else.
Even if I am the Hollywood ideal.