The Rise of Dad Bods and the Double Standard

Over the past several years, the concept of the “dad bod” has taken the world by storm, challenging conventional notions of attractiveness and body image. This trend, which initially emerged in 2015, has garnered widespread acceptance and celebration. It sends a powerful message to men that they can be considered attractive and desirable even without a chiseled and muscular physique. The dad bod phenomenon represents a significant shift in societal standards, promoting healthier and more realistic body ideals for men.

However, a recent TikTok video has ignited a conversation about an underlying double standard—one that does not extend the same acceptance to “mom bods.” Despite the fact that mothers endure the incredible feat of pregnancy and childbirth, society still places pressure on them to lose baby weight and return to their pre-pregnancy bodies. In this article, we will delve deeper into the rise of dad bods, the unfair expectations on moms, and the need to challenge unrealistic beauty standards.

The Appeal of Dad Bods

Since its emergence in 2015, the concept of the “dad bod” has captivated popular culture and challenged traditional notions of attractiveness. It gained widespread recognition through an article titled “Why Girls Love The Dad Bod,” authored by Mackenzie Pearson, a student at Clemson University. Pearson’s exploration of dad bods not only defined the term but also shed light on why some women find this body type particularly appealing.

Mackenzie Pearson succinctly defined the dad bod as “a nice balance between a beer gut and working out.” This description encapsulates the essence of a dad bod, highlighting its unique combination of physical characteristics.

Unlike the sculpted and chiseled physiques often associated with bodybuilders or fitness models, the dad bod represents a more approachable and relatable ideal. It bridges the gap between maintaining a certain level of fitness while also embracing a more relaxed and comfortable approach to one’s physique.

Approachability and Comfort

One of the key factors contributing to the appeal of dad bods is the perception of approachability and comfort that they exude. In a society where vulnerability is often suppressed, these qualities can be incredibly attractive. The dad bod doesn’t convey an image of unattainable perfection, making it relatable to a broader range of individuals. This relatability fosters a sense of comfort and ease, making those with dad bods appear more approachable and down-to-earth.

Another aspect of the dad bod’s appeal is the way it can boost self-esteem and create a sense of security within a relationship. In partnerships where one partner has a dad bod, some women appreciate feeling like the “pretty one.”

This dynamic can have a profound impact on one’s self-confidence, as it challenges the traditional notion that physical attractiveness is the sole measure of desirability. It emphasizes the importance of emotional connection, personality, and the qualities that make a person truly beautiful beyond their physical appearance.

The Cuddling Advantage

Beyond the emotional aspects, dad-bods are often considered better for cuddling. Their softness and warmth provide a comforting embrace that enhances the emotional connection between partners. The cuddling experience becomes more intimate and enjoyable, further reinforcing the idea that a dad’s body can contribute positively to a relationship.

Mackenzie Pearson’s groundbreaking article not only explored the reasons behind the appeal of dad bods but also had a significant impact on men who had struggled with body image issues. Her refreshing perspective on the dad bod emphasized the positive aspects of this body type and celebrated self-acceptance. Many men reached out to Pearson to express their gratitude for helping them feel more confident about their bodies.

Breaking Stereotypes and Promoting Body Positivity

The dad bod phenomenon, as popularized by Mackenzie Pearson’s article, challenges traditional stereotypes of attractiveness and encourages a more inclusive and diverse perspective on body image.

It shifts the focus from the unattainable standards often perpetuated by the media to a more holistic view of beauty, emphasizing personality, confidence, and emotional connection. This evolution in societal attitudes towards body image paves the way for a more inclusive and accepting culture, not only for men with dad bods but for everyone, regardless of their physique.

The Unjust Double Standard

While the dad bod phenomenon has gained widespread acceptance and celebration, a stark contrast emerges when considering the treatment of “mom bods.” Women who have experienced the transformative journey of pregnancy and childbirth are often subjected to harsh societal expectations.

They face immense pressure to swiftly “bounce back” and return to their pre-pregnancy bodies. This unforgiving standard places an unjust burden on women, disregarding the profound physical changes that naturally occur during this remarkable phase of their lives.

The recent TikTok video posted by Rachel Whipple, a real estate agent and Etsy shop owner, served as a powerful catalyst for exposing the glaring hypocrisy within society’s attitude toward dad bods and mom bods.

In her video, Whipple eloquently questioned why mothers’ bodies, which have undergone the incredible journey of bringing new life into the world, are not accepted and celebrated in the same manner as dad bods. Her insightful commentary shed light on the stark incongruity between the two narratives.

The Voices of Resilient Mothers

Whipple’s video resonated deeply with countless women who had endured the societal pressures placed upon them post-pregnancy. The comments section of her video became a platform for these women to share their own personal experiences.

It became evident that many mothers had been bombarded with unsolicited weight loss advice and coerced into considering cosmetic procedures shortly after giving birth. These shared accounts illuminated the harsh and often cruel expectations imposed on women to rapidly “snap back” to their pre-pregnancy appearance.

The stories shared by these resilient mothers highlight the emotional toll that unrealistic beauty standards can take. They underscore the pervasive nature of this double standard and the urgent need to address and challenge the societal pressures placed upon women’s bodies during and after pregnancy.

Embracing the Journey of Motherhood

The unfair expectations imposed on mothers to immediately return to their pre-pregnancy bodies not only disregard the physical changes but also fail to acknowledge the incredible journey of motherhood. Pregnancy and childbirth are awe-inspiring processes that involve profound transformations in a woman’s body. These changes are not merely physical; they represent the remarkable feat of nurturing and bringing new life into the world.

The Physical Changes

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes a series of remarkable transformations to accommodate the growing fetus. These changes include weight gain, a shifting center of gravity, an expansion of the uterus, and an increase in blood volume, among others. While these adaptations are essential for a healthy pregnancy, they can have a lasting impact on a woman’s body.

Childbirth itself is a physically demanding process that can result in changes to the pelvic floor muscles, abdominal muscles, and even the shape and size of the breasts. These changes are a testament to the strength and resilience of a woman’s body as it fulfills its biological role in bringing new life into the world.

The Emotional and Psychological Journey

Beyond the physical changes, the journey of motherhood is a profound emotional and psychological experience. Mothers undergo a series of emotional transformations as they nurture and care for their children. They experience love, joy, fear, and a deep sense of responsibility, all of which contribute to their personal growth and development.

The bond between a mother and her child is one of the most powerful and enduring connections in the human experience. It is a testament to the incredible journey that mothers embark upon, one that extends far beyond physical appearances and societal expectations.

Celebrating Mothers and Their Bodies

It is imperative that society recognizes and celebrates the journey of motherhood, including the physical changes that occur along the way. Rather than imposing unrealistic beauty standards, we should honor and appreciate the resilience, strength, and sacrifice that mothers demonstrate. This celebration should extend to all aspects of a mother’s body, recognizing that beauty comes in diverse forms and that the post-pregnancy body is a reflection of an extraordinary journey.

As we reflect on the unfair expectations placed on mothers and the double standard they face, we must strive for a more compassionate and empathetic society. By embracing the journey of motherhood and challenging the unrealistic beauty standards that have persisted for far too long, we can create a world where all mothers are celebrated and supported, irrespective of their physical appearance.

The Unrealistic Beauty Ideal

In contemporary society, the portrayal of beauty ideals has spiraled into an ever more unrealistic and unattainable realm for the average person. This ideal beauty standard has morphed into a constantly shifting target, one that continually veers further away from the appearance of the average American woman.

The parameters of this ideal have become increasingly stringent, encompassing a laundry list of characteristics that the majority of individuals find impossible to fulfill.

The contemporary beauty ideal demands that individuals be completely hairless and possess a slim and trim physique with a flat stomach while miraculously retaining a curvaceous derriere. It insists on maintaining a constant, pleasant fragrance and dictates the requirement of flawless skin devoid of any imperfections such as acne, stretch marks, or cellulite. Furthermore, this unrelenting ideal dictates that individuals must exhibit no signs of aging as if time itself can be stopped.

Perpetuating Through Media

These unrealistic beauty standards are not born in a vacuum but are perpetuated relentlessly through various media channels. Advertisements continually bombard individuals with promises of diets, skincare routines, and workout regimens that pledge to miraculously transform them into embodiments of the coveted “beach body” look. These messages create an environment where the pursuit of an unattainable beauty ideal becomes a never-ending, often harmful, quest for many.

Beyond the world of advertisements, the film industry also plays a significant role in reinforcing these unrealistic standards. Actresses are subjected to immense pressure to conform to a specific body type, one that is often detached from the reality of the average woman. Roles for women of various ages are limited compared to their male counterparts, perpetuating the notion that beauty and age are incompatible concepts.

The Impact on Mental Health

The relentless bombardment of digitally altered images in the media fosters an unattainable beauty standard that severely impacts women’s self-esteem and mental health.

The relentless pressure to conform to this unrealistic ideal has far-reaching consequences, contributing to a higher risk of depression, eating disorders, and other body image-related issues among women.

These pressures create a toxic environment where individuals are constantly evaluating themselves against an impossible standard, leading to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety.

A Glimmer of Hope

Amidst this challenging landscape, there is a glimmer of hope. Rachel Whipple’s TikTok video and the subsequent response from women proudly embracing their “mom bods” signal a shift in attitudes.

These women have taken a stand against societal expectations and are openly celebrating their bodies, flaws and all. Their actions inspire others to feel more confident and comfortable in their own skin, ultimately challenging the unrealistic beauty standards that have long plagued society.

The women who proudly embrace their “mom bods” are trailblazers in the battle against unrealistic beauty standards. By rejecting the imposed norms and publicly celebrating their bodies, they shine a light on the importance of authenticity. Their courage inspires others to break free from the suffocating grip of unattainable ideals and embrace their own unique beauty.

Fostering Empowerment

Moreover, the movement to embrace one’s body as it is rather than as society dictates it should foster a sense of empowerment. It encourages individuals to define beauty on their terms, recognizing that beauty is not confined to a narrow set of physical attributes. True beauty encompasses confidence, self-assuredness, and the embrace of individuality.

Rachel Whipple’s TikTok video and the ensuing wave of body positivity represent a turning point in the societal conversation about beauty and self-worth. These women are not just challenging the status quo but actively changing the narrative. They are dismantling the unrealistic beauty standards that have perpetuated feelings of inadequacy and are replacing them with messages of self-acceptance and self-love.


The rise of dad bods has brought to the forefront the importance of embracing and celebrating diverse body types for men. It has challenged traditional notions of male attractiveness and promoted healthier and more attainable ideals.

However, this acceptance and celebration must extend to mothers and their post-pregnancy bodies, acknowledging the incredible journey they have undertaken in bringing new life into the world. It is crucial to recognize the inherent double standard that exists and actively work towards dismantling unrealistic beauty standards imposed on women.

In a society where the portrayal of beauty ideals has become increasingly unrealistic and damaging, it is imperative to champion body positivity, self-acceptance, and the celebration of all body types.

By doing so, we can create a more inclusive and accepting society where every individual, regardless of their gender or life experiences, is valued and celebrated for their unique beauty and contributions. The path to true equality and acceptance begins with challenging the status quo and advocating for a more compassionate and understanding world for all.


It emphasizes the importance of emotional connection.

Women who had endured the societal pressures placed upon them post-pregnancy.

The journey of motherhood is a profound emotional and psychological experience.

Challenging the unrealistic beauty standards that have long plagued society.

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