I'm sure you've heard by now about the recent "dad bod" phenomenon taking over social media. If you haven't, essentially it's a bunch of dudes who have a certain type of physique being celebrated and called attractive for that physique. Which is awesome -- I'm all for body positivity of every sort. But there has been a recent backlash from women -- namely mothers, who have been rightfully wondering why it's okay for guys to have "dad bods" when a "mom bod" is considered to be distasteful or even wrong.
And here I am, sitting over here with my childless bod, wondering why as a society we are so incredibly obsessed with the way other people look.
Listen, I agree with celebrating every type of body. As a plus-size woman, I take selfies for this very reason. I'm here. My body is beautiful. I want to see more people who look like me in mainstream media. I don't want to be an "other," like I feel so many times when people make a huge deal out of plus-size modelling or talk about "dropping the plus." My body is just as valuable and beautiful as anyone else's. I feel the same way about skinny bodies. They're also just as valuable and beautiful as anyone else's.
But when I see that the dad bod is being celebrated while a mom bod isn't, or a mom bod is considered amazing because "you earned your stripes and therefore you earned your fat and rolls and dimples," but a plus-size body from a person who may never have kids is considered unhealthy and gross, I just get tired. Because it seems like whatever body you have is never going to be good enough. And though we shouldn't care and we should celebrate ourselves as we are, we do care. Because it's hard to go through every day knowing that society thinks you're disgusting and unattractive -- so unattractive that you're not even worth being represented in mainstream media except as a joke for a TV show or a gluttonous villain in a movie.
There's also a feminist aspect to this. It's telling that dad bods are celebrated for being themselves while mom bods are looked upon as something that are gross or gained through having children, which then makes them okay because having children is a society-approved thing to do. Fat women the world over are told how gross they are because they're "unhealthy" and "unattractive" and "lazy."
Never mind that you can't tell someone's health status from how they look. Never mind that you shouldn't have to give a reason as to why your body looks like anything. Your body is yours. There is no wrong way for it to look or exist. Never mind that regardless of your shape and size, you're worth a lot more than how you look, no matter what anyone says, but it's okay to want to see people who look like you being celebrated. It's okay to want to feel beautiful.
Please don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying that everyone has to be attracted to every body type at all. We all have different ideas of beauty. What I am saying, though, that one body shouldn't be considered better and worth more than another because you do or don't have an attraction to it.
You don't owe someone an excuse. You don't owe someone an explanation. Your body isn't worth more because it had children or is childless forever. It's not worth more because you exercise every day or you don't exercise at all. It's not worth more if you have curves, and it's not worth more if you're really thin. It's worth everything because it's yours.
It's okay to feel insecure about your body. I feel insecure about mine every day. There are photos I hesitate to post on social media because I feel shame when I look at them. There are photos that I happily post to social media because I feel beautiful in them. Body positivity is a long road and it has a lot of bumps. Society doesn't help by championing one body type over another. I get that just as much as any other body positive activist does.
My bod. I struggle to love it some days -- but I'm getting better at it.
So if you've got a mom bod, a dad bod, a childless bod, a pregnant bod, a fat bod, a skinny bod, a built bod, a non-toned bod -- every bod is awesome. Sick or well, black, brown, or white, disabled or strong. Let's not get caught up in the media body trend of the week. Let's fight for everyone's body to be seen in mainstream media and stop hiding behind myths and excuses as to why someone is better than someone else.
Let's celebrate every bod -- because that's the bod that I like best.
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