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Sue Ontiveros: Dad bod fan club forgetting about Mom

It’s great watching progress unveil, isn’t it?

I’ve been busy on projects, so only been able to listen to what’s happening with half an ear. But from what I gather, the public shaming for the puffy appearance of a particular segment of our population is ending. We’re not only going to stop giving them grief for not spending hours in the gym to achieve physical perfection, but we’re celebrating how they look now, embracing it.

Such progress!


Really, this needed to happen. The reasonable folks among us can agree it’s been so wrong that we collectively shame these poor folks for how they look after becoming parents. It only seems fair that we give them a break; after all they’ve just brought a new life into the world. That – not appearance – should take precedence.

So I’m glad we finally not only are accepting mom bodies, but praising them.

Wait. What? I got it wrong?

It’s DAD bods, not those of mothers, that we’re talking about right now?

You have got to be kidding me.

You can forgive my Emily Litella (remember Gilda Radner?) confusion can’t you? Not to take anything away from actual dads, but it’s the moms in childbearing couples who actually carry their offspring for nine months. It’s been the mom bodies that have taken a public beating for not looking perfect after childbirth, something that began with the never-ending photos of celebrity new moms looking body fabulous mere weeks after giving birth. It’s the moms who have been beating themselves up for failing at what’s perceived as perfection.

But apparently it’s not the mom bodies that are being put in a positive spotlight. In all seriousness, there’s been an outpouring of love for what’s considered a dad bod.

The term’s been around for a bit. It became an Internet hit with an essay written by Mackenzie Pearson for The Odyssey, a national paper for college students. The Clemson sophomore wrote about the affection she and her pals have for a guy with a dad bod – meaning one not so chiseled, a bit soft in the middle. A guy who’s a little more down to earth. (OK, I can see that last point.)

The March essay became a viral sensation in the last couple weeks and Pearson was interviewed on “Good Morning America.”

That’s great for her, and that the male portion of our society doesn’t have to feel pressured to be perfect. But something about this smacks of sexism, and a celebration of too-much boozing it up, which is how too many of those male bodies took on that wide waistline, something that can’t be good for anyone.

But jeez, what about the women? When are we going to let them off the hook? When are we going to say it’s OK if you don’t have the body of a 12-year-old boy (well, one with ample purchased breasts), especially right after childbirth?

I guess all I can hope for is that all the women embracing – literally – guys with a dad bod also will start cutting themselves some slack when it comes to their own bodies.

Pearson herself said the same thing in a subsequent essay, reminding readers that women bodies reflect the stories of our lives. She’s so right.

It’s time to wrap our minds around a mom bod as quickly as we’re willing to wrap our arms around a dad bod.

Email: sueontiveros.cst@gmail.com
Twitter: @sueontiveros