In defence of the body-positive “dad bod”
The body-positive movement has made incredible strides in the past few years, evolving from a few rogue Tumblr and Instagram accounts into a multi-billion dollar buzzword. However, despite all this progress, one major group has been left out of the conversation: cisgender* men.
In recent weeks, Aquaman star Jason Momoa and pop singer Nick Jonas were both shamed in the media for appearing shirtless, on vacation, rocking the tiniest bit of stomach fat. While some naysayers took to social media to bash the celebrities, others took the opportunity to dialogue about how society views men’s bodies.
There are several celebrities, influencers and everyday men working to change the stigma around “the dad bod,” and all the other ways men’s bodies can look.
Mina Gerges, for example, fills his Instagram with body-positive shirtless photos, showcasing his own “dad bod” while encouraging other men to embrace how they look. While Kelvin Davis, male model and author of “Notoriously Dapper,” compiles lookbooks for plus-size men’s clothing on his Instagram.
Even though stores are slowly introducing plus size men’s clothes, there’s still a lot of work to be done. The reality is the “dad bod” is nothing more than an average human body, and even the term seeks to stigmatise cis men looking a certain way.
Body-inclusive models are an important start in destigmatising male body positivity, similar to how inclusive sizing helped revolutionise the idea of women’s “body positive fashion” and make brands like Forever21 and New Look major forces in the movement.
Men’s fashion is slowly following suit, with campaigns from Men of Manual and American Eagle showing that male models can look a multitude of ways. However, the movement is still in its infancy and needs a great deal of support to succeed.
In the meantime, one in five adults in the UK have felt shame because of their body image in the past year. To help change that, body-positive and body-diverse hashtags like #effyourbeautystandards, #stylehasnosize, and #nobodyshame are taking over Instagram this summer, reminding everyone it’s OK to love yourself, lumps, bumps and rolls included.
*Cisgender simply means “comfortable with the gender and sex you were assigned at birth.”