While we are hot for Paul Rudd or Chris Pratt, actors like Kevin James are perpetually the butt of the joke because of the same qualities that Dad Bods possess but "in excess."
Mackenzie Pearson wrote an article theorizing on the cultural obsession with "dad bods" like Don Draper's or Chris Pratt's. Pearson writes: “The dad bod 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.’”
Someone asked me about my thoughts on Dad Bod and it took me a week to come up with this: I kind of love it and I kind of hate it. Here are my 3 LoveHate reasons:
1. As a fan of man belly, Dad Bod is totally my thing
Am I fan of people who eat 8 slices of pizza at a time? Yes. Do I prefer Chris Pratt circa Parks & Rec over his Guardians of the Galaxy look? Yes.
2. BUT I agree with Brian Moylan of Time when he wrote that this is the same old sexism we've been seeing forever
Moylan called Dad Bod a "sexist atrocity," pointing out that:"The problem with the Dad Bod isn’t what it says about men, but what it says about women and how we treat them." Women - especially mothers - get lambasted if they don't return to their pre-baby weight (remember Maria Kang?), while men get ever hotter as they age or gain weight.
3. At the end of the day this is still glorifying the "right" kind of fat - "Dad Bod" is just "curvy" for men
My biggest problem with Dad Bod is that there's an arbitrary line, where Dad Bod veers into something we don't find culturally appealing. While we are hot for Paul Rudd or Chris Pratt, actors like Kevin James are perpetually the butt of the joke because of the same qualities that Dad Bods possess but "in excess." At the end of the day that line is the biggest problem for me.
Virgie Tovar, MA is one of the nation's leading experts and lecturers on fat discrimination and body image. She is the founder of Babecamp (a 4 week online course focused on helping people break up with diet culture) and the editor of Hot & Heavy: Fierce Fat Girls on Life, Love and Fashion (Seal Press, 2012). She writes about the intersections of size, identity, sexuality and politics. See more updates on Facebook.