I might be living under a rock, but I just learned last weekend that the “dadbod” has become, officially, a thing. When my friend told me about it, my first thought was, oh, you mean the way every normal dude in America looks? I shrugged. Not really surprised, but a little annoyed nonetheless. You know—the old double standard thing.
Here’s the thing, though: we, the womenfolk species, are doing this to ourselves. I recently read an article on The Frisky that defined the dadbod as “the physical manifestation of men waking up, looking in the mirror and saying, “Eh, I guess I’ll skip the gym this week and eat a Papa John’s pizza for lunch and dinner and I’ll still swipe left on any girl on Tinder that looks like she doesn’t do at least five Barre Method classes a week.”
And it is here that we are making an assumption that men prefer women who look like Victoria’s Secret models. I know for a fact that when my husband and I are watching the girls of The Bachelor frolic around in their teeny weeny wet bikinis, while I am sizing up their thigh gap and lack of muffin top, my husband is simply checking out their racks. And maybe their wet, glistening skin—between their boobs. He wouldn’t care if their bathing suit elastic squeezed out a muffin top. And I also know, for a fact, that the girls with bad personalities turn him off. It’s not all about their abs.
While I do think it sucks that men get to live in a world where people are comparatively oblivious to their bodies and women have to stand in line in front of beauty magazines that tout how to get your best bikini body summer after summer after summer, it’s not really a double standard. Because it’s not the men who care what women look like—it’s the women. We’re the ones who have brought preposterous beauty standards to this level. I’m pretty sure that men, as evidenced by the dadbod, don’t really care that much. About their ladies’ appearance or their own.
Case in point—below are some examples of beauty treatments we think we are doing for our men, but are we really?
Removing unwanted body hair has been a cultural practice for both men and women for thousands of years. It’s tough to pinpoint whose fault it is. Leg shaving in the U.S. can be traced back to a popular pinup picture of Betty Grable with long, hairless legs that women wanted to emulate or the advent of pantyhose, which made having long, smooshed-up leg hair that half-poked out of the fabric plain uncomfortable. I’m pretty sure men weren’t looking at women and thinking, dude, I don’t want to run my fingers over that fur. It’s our own fucking fault. I do applaud the women of the ‘70s. They actually aimed to reprogram our brains so we wouldn’t even want to shave our legs. But it didn’t take long before we went back to getting our entire bodies singed repeatedly with lasers in order to make ourselves look like sleek human dolphins.
I am fairly certain that no man ever said, “When I get down and dirty, all I want is to get some fine motor skills practice by digging my fingers into a rubber-band-like waistband and using all my strength to peel a thick layer of nylon off of her body before I can get to her lady parts.”
- Vaginal Steaming
Man or woman, I can’t even fathom who thought this might be fun, but I do know that most men get flustered at the mere thought of a woman inserting a tampon, much less opening up her pelvic floor to allow an herbal waft of steam to enter her magic door. If you look at it from a health perspective, why would men care about tackling issues like yeast infections or uterine fibroids?
Most men don’t even care about sparkly things. Enough said.
So before you find yourself whining once again about how men get to be lazy and just live their lives, ignoring the repercussions their gut throws back at them, remember: so do you. If you feel like you need to look a certain way in order to snag (or keep) a man, step back and consider whether it’s men making you feel like that or whether it’s other women. Or even just you.
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