Screw The “Dadbag”

In an article titled A Dadbag That I Made For People Who Want A Dad Bod Without Eating Junk Food, it was announced that a designer intends to sell designs for a fanny pack that looks like fat peoples’ stomachs.

The designer says:

I made the dadbag because I’m desperate to have dad bod but I’m also very concerned about the health risks associated with it. The solution is quite simple, a bumbag with a proper dad belly printed on it. Now I can put on a dad bod whenever I feel like it and even store my valuables in it.

The Dadbag is currently not available to buy, but I’m on the lookout for partners and manufacturers to hopefully go into mass production soon.

This is a terrible idea for the following reasons:

Fat bodies are not fashion accessories for thin people.

Just how blackface is a fucked up thing that white people do, thin people often dress up as fat people in ways that temporarily locate their bodies in fat identities without actually giving up any kind of privilege. Our bodies are not for you to use as a joke, make money off of, parody, or mock (despite what Hollywood might tell you with its plethora of thin actors embodying fat characters).

When you do this, you perpetuate fat oppression and discrimination. You are making jokes at our expense. You are making jokes about things that you do not suffer from. You are being a part of the problem. You are being an asshole.


Moving into fatness temporarily as a joke is cruel.

Many people who identify as fat have suffered relentlessly from the social opinion that fatness is a choice and something that can be shed. For those of us who move through this world as a fat person, watching people put on and take off a fat identity (something we have most likely tried to do ourselves using harmful and traumatic methods) feels like a cruel joke. It is rubbing in the faces of fat people something that we are told to desire, yet despite our best efforts, will never have.

We will never get to laugh along because we will never get to take it off.

Just how it’s not okay to say you “feel fat”  – would you ever say you feel “black” or “poor”? – when you mean to say that you feel “bloated”, “uncomfortable”, or “full”, it is not okay to put on something that encourages others to put down fatness as something to be laughed at or ridiculed. When it comes to this product, fat bodies are the punchline, and your shitty joke isn’t funny.

Using the term ‘dadbod’ reinforces harmful stereotypes about men and parents that intersect with gendered, classist and racist forms of oppression.

The idea that parents have “let themselves go” after entering parenthood is fucked up.

The “dadbod” stereotype is used to control adults (who have now entered a job that is literally 24/7 ~forever~ until they die and therefore can never escape this identity as a parent) in ways that encourage them to work even harder to ward off the looming threat of physical changes (often in the form of weight gain) that understandably come about when you a) grow and birth a human, and/or b) get older, and/or c) enter a new period in life with increased levels of stress, anxiety, and responsibility.

Considering that 90-95% of attempts to lose weight don’t work, and actually result in weight cycling in which more weight is gained after the fact, this pressure is torturous. You can see it in the tabloid coverage of celebrities who have given birth, monitoring how quickly one loses baby weight and judging those who seem to fail (i.e. move into fatness). You see it here, where the bodies of fathers are a joke-turned-gag-gift that implies that these bodies are moral failings.

The “dadbod” is an image associate with gendered, lower-class and racialized stereotypes of men as being lazy, ignorant, and unproductive – the hairy, fat belly being a visual representation of these undesirable characteristics. Fuck that.


Dressing up as fat people isn’t funny.

Retire these jokes already and come up with something original. And remember: it’s only funny when you punch up, not down.

Please, explain the joke to someone who looks like this and let me know how it goes.

Rating and trivializing the physical attractiveness of fat people doesn’t just harm fat folks.

You’re also hurting people who love, are attracted to, and have sex with fat bodies that look like this. Wearing this product in a public space would silence, humiliate, and shame not just fat people, but people who love fat people.


Equating fatness with poor health or food consumption is factually inaccurate.

Healthist and fatphobic attitudes are incredibly pervasive in our culture – but that doesn’t mean these opinions are right. Research has shown that healthist and fatphobic attitudes in regards to food and public health actually cause health problems. As does shaming fat people.

Just do your homework with this one; there’s lots of fat-positive public health literature and critiques of existing public health literature and research within the area of fat studies that would negate these ideas.


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