Return of the 'dad-bod': survey finds people prefer a softer male body type

75% of respondents to a survey conducted by said that they preferred the body shape to a more toned one

The “dad-bod” is making a return, according to a new survey, signaling a forward step for body diversity.

Some 75% of respondents to a survey conducted by said that they preferred the soft and round male body type to a more toned one.

The term “dad bod” was first popularized in the mid-2010’s to harshly critique the beach bodies of actors like Leonardo DiCaprio, Chris Pratt and the non-traditionally Hollywood physiques of actors such as Jason Segel and Seth Rogan. The term never quite fell out of favor: last year Zac Efron was body shamed online for apparently having one.

The survey, conducted from 2,000 participants, found that 20% of participants claimed that bod shape did not matter at all when it came to finding a partner. It also found that only 15% liked a “Barbie or Ken-like body type”.

“Very fit and in shape bodies are seen as ideal when it comes to attracting a partner, however the users of just proved that isn’t always the case when it comes to real-life romances,” said Maria Sullivan, vice-president of the dating website. “Movies and TV shows tend to promote ‘Barbie and Ken’ body types, giving people the idea they need to look similar in order to find their match. We are happy to confirm that is not how the real world world really operates.”

In March, actor Jonah Hill spoke out on Instagram about how it felt to have his beach body discussed in the media.

“I don’t think I ever took my shirt off in a pool until I was in my mid-30s,” he wrote, “(It) probably would have happened sooner if my childhood insecurities weren’t exacerbated by years of public mockery about my body by press and interviewers.”

Body diversity has been a hot topic in fashion. Last year, Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty featured its first plus-size male model, Steven G, US size 2XL, modeling boxer briefs. “Big men, just like women, are hardly represented,” he told the Guardian.

But the picture in the fashion industry remains mixed. The women’s spring and summer fashion shows last year featured historic plus size firsts. Versace featured three plus size models, Precious Lee, Jill Kortleve and Alva Claire, for the first time. Meanwhile, Paloma Elsesser was Salvatore Ferragamo’s first curvy model.

But, according to a report from The Fashion Spot, body diversity representation was actually down overall during the shows. There were only 19 plus size models on the catwalks, compared to 34 during the last autumn and winter 2020 season.


Priya Elan

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Body Gossip puts spotlight on models and body image

Jane Martinson: The campaign group is challenging clothes retailers to use a wider range of models and government to do more to support young people

Jane Martinson

11, Oct, 2013 @11:04 AM

Article image
Where are all the plus-size male models?
There are seven UK agencies for larger female models, but for a male equivalent, you’d have to look to Germany. Is it time for more realistic images of men, too?

Morwenna Ferrier

27, Aug, 2015 @6:10 AM

Article image
The new male models: as seen in Paris and Milan

Lauren Cochrane: Hedi Slimane may have sent some familiarly skinny boys down the catwalk, but other designers have chosen more athletic models this year – so which way is the wind blowing?

Lauren Cochrane

21, Jan, 2013 @4:26 PM

Article image
'Discrimination in a different form?' Doubts dog advertising guidelines on body image
An Australian advertisers’ group wants to curb portrayals of ‘unrealistic or unattainable’ shapes. But critics fear the new code will have limited impact

Alexandra Spring

27, Nov, 2018 @1:27 AM

Article image
Size zero campaigners take body image debate to the heart of fashion
As a new wave of unsettling stories about ultra-thin models come to light, a women's group is to stage a provocative debate on the beauty industry at the London College of Fashion

Viv Groskop

01, Jun, 2013 @3:46 PM

Article image
Male teens and body image: what are your biggest fears and insecurities?
A new survey finds male teenagers struggle just as much as female ones when it comes to how they look. Share your experiences

Sarah Marsh

09, Aug, 2016 @11:12 AM

Article image
Survey finds that 78% of models in fashion adverts are white
Report found that of all models featured in spring’s editorial campaigns, only 22% of models were black, Asian or Hispanic

Priya Elan

10, May, 2016 @11:20 AM

Article image
Beverly Johnson calls for Condé Nast to interview black people for senior roles
The model, the first woman of colour to appear on the cover of American Vogue, says the ‘fashion industry pirates blackness for profit’

Priya Elan

17, Jun, 2020 @4:06 PM

Article image
From Poldark to Bieber, there's a male body ideal but is it problematic?
Celebs, selfies and Instagram are fuelling a gym obsession driven by guilt, say academics, but there could be a wider societal explanation

Priya Elan

15, Sep, 2016 @2:49 PM

Article image
People too tired to lead healthier lifestyles, UK survey finds
Fatigue and lack of motivation top poll of reasons why people don’t improve diet and exercise more

Denis Campbell Health policy editor

16, May, 2023 @11:01 PM