'Beer bellies are in, biceps are out.'
In 2015, the image of the dad bod blew up online, praising the very average body type that’s been described as “skinny-fat” or a mix of being muscular, yet slightly overweight.
Over time, we’ve seen countless body types and even body parts featured as the preferred shape and size of the era. So while the somewhat hefty look of the dad bod may just be a short-termed craze, new research is showing that there’s scientific and social evidence that the dad bod is not only healthier but more attractive to women as well.
Just when you thought society wanted to you slim down that belly and bulk up those muscles, this curveball tells us that a pudgier body might be a significant factor in survival and procreation. Who’s laughing now?
The Dad Bod Phenomenon
Body pressures have long existed for both men and women, and while different standards exist for various sexes, genders, and culture, today they are fueled by an increasing connectivity and omnipresence on the web.
Though the ideal male in Western culture is typically associated with having a taller, broader, more muscular physique, the bigger gut sported by so many grew exponentially in popularity in 2015, thanks in part to Clemson University student and
Odyssey Online contributor Mackenzie Pearson. Though she didn’t coin the phrase, her article “Why Girls Love the Dad Bod” went viral in 2015 around the same time that the body type itself was being more commonly identified by the masses.
Why Women Like It
In her article, Mackenzie makes a solid argument for why women like the dad bod, especially on the college bros known to rock it.
Firstly, she says that the dad bod isn’t intimidating. To her, it says, “I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.” The dad bod is the sign of a bon vivant who enjoys eating well, partying, and relaxing without worrying about skipping the gym or eating those extra carbs. And what’s more, a heftier male partner allows the woman in the relationship to look prettier, which Mackenzie says boosts female confidence. “There is just something about the dad bod that makes boys seem more human, natural, and attractive.”
A month later, Slate writer Amanda Hess followed up with an interview with Mackenzie. They identified that many celebrities were already sporting the dad bod, including Jon Hamm, Chris Pratt, and Jason Segal. Hess also pointed out that some people were upset that Mackenzie explained the dad bod as being attractive due to women’s own self-confidence issues. When asked if there was a female equivalent to “dad bod,” Mackenzie responded that “it’s probably just a normal girl body.”
Science Supports the Dad Bod
Of course, it was only a matter of time before actual research was done to further understand all the hoopla around the dad bod.
Enter Richard Bribiescas, Yale professor of anthropology and author of the newly-released book How Men Age: What Evolution Reveals About Male Health and Mortality. According to Amazon, in How Men Age, Bribiescas “describes how the challenges males faced in their evolutionary past influenced how they age today, and shows how this unique evolutionary history helps explain common aspects of male aging such as prostate disease, loss of muscle mass, changes in testosterone levels, increases in fat, erectile dysfunction, baldness, and shorter life spans than women.”
He also talks a lot about the dad bod.
In evolutionary research carried out by the professor, statistics all pointed to the fact that a pudgier body was a major indication of protectiveness, fatherhood, and thus survival. Is a stronger immune system really what women are looking for?
Here’s what Bribiescas had to say. Keep reading!