With the rapid movement of a few fingers, a Clemson college student set fire to a whole new body debate - 'the dad bod'.
The young student's tongue-in-cheek article about the benefits of both having a "dad bod" - signified by a round belly and slumping physique - and lusting after someone with one resulted in responses ranging from a complementary #mombod to similarly snarky articles about how to get this dad bod from a real dad.
Essentially, the dad bod theory argues that less fit men actually make better boyfriends due to their willingness to participate in spontaneous fun, like afternoon beers or late night pizzas and, let's just say, a very "relaxed" approach to body image.
But it is ultimately also a commentary on the current state of adult life and parenthood. Maybe this #dadbod idea points to something positive: men’s greater role at home and the gender equality that goes along with it.
As a researcher who spent much of my dissertation studying the standards of perfection women's bodies are held to, even during pregnancy, this trend caught my academic attention.
As a real life mom with a real life mom bod, I could not help but conclude this was just one more way any standards for men and women are just not fair.
Why is everything associated with a "mom bod" negative, a prime example being "mom jeans", while the pooch-bearing "dad bod" becomes a symbol of effortless cool?
Is there any way this new hashtag-frenzy trend could come with an upside for women beyond the double standard?
Fatherhood and man-as-provider masculinity only emerges once men get married
A look at the history of masculinity provides insight into this.
Currently, young men do not face the strict requirements for marriage and having a family as part of successful young adulthood like they did a century ago. Fatherhood and man-as-provider masculinity only emerges once men get married, around age 29 in the United States.
But over time, other images of masculinity have surfaced offering men alternative ways to define successful adult masculinity.
Around 1950, Hugh Hefner’s Playboy made bachelorhood a celebrated state rather than a social outcast, allowing men to live alone in their early twenties. Hefner and others made bachelor-life acceptable as a proper life stage before marriage.
Since then, masculinity as a concept has come in many packages rather than a singular, Don Draper-esque version.
Of course, that version obviously has its flaws.
With both parents working in most families, the "breadwinner" identity no longer defines successful fatherhood.
Gayle Kaufman identified the highly involved father in her 2014 book Superdads, noting today’s fathers want more involvement with their children as part of their identity as a good father.
Millennials in particular value work-life balance, so once those college kids become dads this body standard will make for an easy transition into an "authentic" dad bod.
The non-dad seeking a dad bod does this by finding a comfortable middle ground between extremes of too much gym time and too much couch time. The real dad in a dad bod does this by taking care of kids, managing work-life balance, and accepting that working out may have to go in lieu of birthday parties and day care pick up.
Real dads keep up that skinny fat physique by chasing the kids around and finishing the mac and cheese off their plate before catching an episode of Dora the Explorer.
Sounds a lot like how I got my mom bod. Moderation, right?
Maybe the inspiration for dad bods – real dads sharing the second shift at home – provides just enough room for us women to overlook the double standard.
The dad bod comes from balance as well, but not the type college kids must work towards.
Luckily, the premise of loving these "hot" dad bod holds true for us old married folks too; I will take my dad bod husband any day if that means more family time together.
Just like those college boys, our family of four loves to put away pizza. It just happens a lot closer to 5:30p.m. than 5:30a.m.
Tips for Better Parenting
There are no set rules when it comes to good parenting. Many of us know that much of the adventure is figuring parenting out along the way as our children grow up with their different personalities and traits. What works for one child may not necessarily work for another. And what works for one parent may not work for another when it comes to parenting styles. But there are some ways to make the experience more rewarding for both you and your child along the way, paving a smooth transition for them into adulthood.
If you’re headed to the doctor’s office or the neighborhood health care clinic, you may not be seeing an actual doctor. A government report says almost half of all doctors work side by side with physician assistants (PAs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs), and nurse practitioners (NPs). Although these medical professionals have advanced training and certifications, they each have different roles and abilities to treat patients and all have licenses to practice health. But what’s the difference between a PA, a CNM or an NP? These medical assistants to your local physician have extensive training and can help save you and the healthcare system money.
PAs, CNMs, and NPs are able to write prescriptions, order tests, and make diagnoses for patients. They are also most likely whom you’ll see at a healthcare clinic. However, they do not act alone. They work under the established guidelines that have been put in place by the doctors. These docs may not be on site but are available by telephone to help reach patients in places where they might not have access to healthcare or in minute clinic type facilities.
These licensed practitioners conduct physical exams, take down medical histories, diagnose and treat illnesses, order and interpret tests, assist in surgery, and prescribe medicine. They are registered by the state and pass an accredited PA program post-grad as well as completing 100 hours of continuing medical education every two years and passing a recertifying exam every 10 years. They must pass the national certifying exam as well as their program completion of training. They are represented by The American Academy of Physician Assistants in the US.
Chances are if you’re a woman, you will come across a CNM sometime in your life. These medical practitioners are more common since they’ve been practicing in the gynecological communities since the 1920s.
They provide primary health care to women of childbearing age including: prenatal care, labor and delivery care, care after birth, gynecological exams, newborn care, assistance with family planning decisions, preconception care, menopause management, and counseling in health maintenance and disease prevention. Almost 8 percent of all births in the US have an attending CNM. They too are required to pass a national test certification and go through post graduate schooling from accredited nurse-midwifery programs. They are represented by The American College of Nurse-Midwives in the US.
Registered Nurses with master's degrees, or even doctorates qualify as Nurse Practitioners. From x-rays and lab interpretation to other tests, they treat and diagnose infections, injuries, and acute and chronic diseases. The are able to prescribe medications and physical treatments, manage patients' overall care, and educate and counsel patients. Because they have advanced education beyond registered nurse prep, they are licensed in all states and may have specialty areas as well. American Academy of Nurse Practitioners provides professional development for its members.
Longer, much sunnier days are ahead and experts agree that sunscreen is essential for outside play and beach time along with large brimmed hats and long sleeve shirts. Here are 3 natural ways ways to help reduce sun's deadly rays effects on the body.
1. Swallow your sunscreen: Vitamin B3 supplements may prove to help reduce the amount of skin cancers according to a recent Australian study. Of the group that took daily supplements, 23% less skin cancers were reported than the group on the placebo.
2. Eat your sunscreen: Dark leafy greens, olive oil and nuts could provide a natural boost of antioxidants to protect your skin. The Mediterranean Diet is rich in these types of foods.
3. From sea to supplement: Red algae is a rich source of calcium and magnesium so it contributes to bone health and since it is loaded with antioxidants it helps boost your immune system and nourishes your skin. Astaxanthin is a red-algae supplement that Iron distance athletes swear by that protects their skin from long hours in the sun.
Although all these "natural" methods will help support your own skin's protection mechanisms, the best way to reduce the harmful effects of the sun are to avoid it or wear and re-apply sunscreen throughout the day.