This morning as I was looking for some inspiration for this week’s article, I noticed that the latest social media sensation is something called the “Dadbod.”
For those of you who are not familiar with the term, it was apparently popularized by an American student called Mackenzie Pearson in a post on theodysseyonline.com website, and it refers to a male body type that is “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out”.
According to Pearson this particular shape says to her that “I go to the gym occasionally, but I also drink heavily on the weekends and enjoy eating eight slices of pizza at a time.”
And the good news for all the lads out there that enjoy similar nutrition and training habits is that according to Ms. Pearson, girls love that look. So, it appears that all the time that you’ve spent attempting to develop a rock-hard six-pack and bulging biceps has been a complete waste of time.
Apparently, the reason this look is irresistible to women is because they feel less intimidated standing beside a lad carrying a few extra pounds of flab, and obviously he’s going to be more fun to cuddle.
But it seems there’s some long term strategic planning going on as well. Pearson reckons that women map out their future pretty early in a relationship and don’t like too many surprises. So they feel more comfortable dating a man in his twenties who already has the body of a 45 year old!
Needless to say this opinion has sparked a fair amount of controversy and it has thrown up allegations that society has double-standards for what is considered physically attractive in men and women. There have also been a number of comments on how it portrays women and their preferences for an “ideal” partner.
I believe you could spend a long time and waste a lot of energy trying to argue about the ethical, moral and socio-psychological implications of body-image in general and the Dadbod phenomenon in particular. So rather than get too deep or heavy, here’s my take on the subject.
1. It’s A Point Of View.
Whether it was written as a passionately-held conviction or, (as I suspect), a tongue-in-cheek attempt to provoke reaction, the original article is merely Mackenzie Pearson’s opinion. Just as this, and every other article that I write, is merely my opinion. And opinions are like the body part that we can’t mention in a family newspaper – everybody’s got one.
2. It Has Created Debate.
This particular debate will probably generate more heat than light but I believe that the whole concept of body-image is an important one. Anything that encourages us to think about our own body shape and question our values in relation to it has to be a good thing.
3. Health Beats Body Shape Every Time.
Health is a fairly vague term but I like the World Health Organization definition that says “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” If you fit that criteria, it’s pretty certain that you’ll look good in your birthday suit. On the other hand, having rock-hard abdominals is no guarantee of social and mental well-being.
4. Do What Makes You Genuinely Happy.
Last week I mentioned the “5 Whys” exercise that can help identify the real motivation behind your particular goals. For some people, being as strong, fit and lean as humanly possible gives them a huge sense of achievement, self-confidence and well-being. Others may have trained or played sport at a high level and have now decided that it is no longer the priority it once was as they start to focus on career and family.
For other people, training and body composition never was and never will be something that interests them one way or the other.
Regardless of which category you may belong to, there are plenty of opportunities to stay healthy and happy by pursuing your own interests and hobbies, while maintaining reasonable physical daily activity combined with a wholefood based diet.
It looks like Dadbod is going to join other derogatory terms like Cankles (Calf-Ankles) and Man Boobs (no explanation necessary) in today’s Social Media Addicted and Body Obsessed Society. I don’t think these labels are very helpful but as the old saying goes “sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chains excite me.” Sorry, I meant “names will never hurt me”.