Australian underwear brand Bonds is flipping gender roles in a humorous new commercial – though not everyone is amused.
Speaking on behalf of new fathers everywhere, the ad addresses the loved/hated “dad bod,” and changes to the male figure after kids enter the equation.
The video features a group of underwear-clad friends in a circle who discuss post-baby bodies and ‘feeding times’ (for themselves: things like pizza and cured meats), and compare themselves to people in magazines and celebrity dads like David Beckham.
“I just want my pre-baby body back,” says one of them at the beginning of the spot. “I mean, I see dad bodies in magazines, but who actually looks like that?” ponders another.
Clearly, the ad is a play on the body issues faced by women after they have a baby.
Now more than ever, it seems women (or at least the ones I know) feel the pressure to snap back practically overnight, as soon as the baby leaves her body. The ideal is to work that baby weight off until it looks like the baby never happened.
For some women, post-baby body image a real source of stress and definitely no laughing matter.
Not surprisingly, reactions to the ad have been mixed, with some calling it insensitive to the real struggles and pressures faced by women post-pregnancy. They could have done the ad just as humorously about the “dad bod” phenomenon without mocking women’s issues.
Admittedly, it’s difficult to watch without breaking a smile.
But I can’t help but be reminded of Aerie’s massive April Fools’ Day fail a few months back.
An Aerie campaign featured four diverse looking men in a series of videos on the company’s website along with the tagline, “The real you is sexy.” The videos show men sharing their thoughts on their bodies and being comfortable in their own skin, even if things like washboard abs, a hairless chest, and chiseled cheekbones are absent.
The whole seemingly progressive campaign ended up being a joke.
April Fools’ Day joke or not, many took offence to the “haha, men don’t really have body issues” angle and missed the “joke” entirely. Believe it or not, men can have eating disorders too. Personally, I know more than one male who has battled body issues (including bulimia, typically a female-focused disease).
The plus side is that the BONDS commercial at least opens a dialogue surrounding body image for men, who’ve remained mostly absent within the ever-growing body positivity movement.