New ‘Trad Bod’ look sweeping the nation

Move over, muscle-bound lifeguards—there’s a new male beauty standard in town. 

Dubbed “Trad Bod” on TikTok, the look refers to the body shape most common in young traditionalists. And while most people assume body-builder physiques are most attractive to women, the online subculture claims young ladies really prefer a traditionalist look. 

“O-M-Gosh, have you seen Melchizedek’s trad bod? He’s like, sooo hot,” a gaggle of attractive blondes said in reference to a lonely man sitting at a hotel bar. “I mean, for real, the pasty skin, emaciated look, the hungry eyes…think I should ask him for his number?” one of them questioned. “You’re right, he almost certainly has a girlfriend already. I guess I’ll just leave while giving him a look of disgust.” 

The trad bod technically refers just to the trad physique of translucent skin, rail-thin limbs, and a faraway “repressed and bitter” expression. It’s sometimes confused with “Trad Style,” a related but separate social media craze. 

“Obviously, you tend to find popular icons pairing these two looks together, but technically they are different and some people like to claim only one or the other as their label,” internet-slang expert Fr. Chad Ripperger told The Daily Inquisition. So, what are the hallmarks of trad style? 

“Normally a tweed jacket, a hat for some reason, and jet-black hair styled like it’s 1930’s Germany,” fashion-guru Stefano Gabbana clarified. “Not everyone is a tweed purist, and some say all this is required is to be overdressed for the occasion; but tweed is still the dominant school.” 

Gabbana also noted that beards are optional, but if worn must be untrimmed. 

“I honestly just can’t handle all these guys with trad bods on my campus,” local college student Maddie Cunningham told us. “They’re so attractive that I spend my whole day distracted and nervous.” She added, “Almost all of the girls I know don’t even talk to them because they’re so afraid of embarrassing themselves around such hotness.” She sighed with longing, before adding, “and if they’re carrying a trad style Latin text, I can’t even look at them.” 

Yet some people are still skeptical. 

“It’s a fad,” totally jealous millennial Adam Prosokaj said. “Back in my day they told us the overweight middle-aged look was the style, and now look at me—morbidly obese and unmarried at 39.” 

But while fashion trends come and go with regularity, sociologists say there are already signs the trad bod phenomenon will be enduring. Sharlene Hesse-Biber, sociologist at Boston College, is chair of a research team looking into trad bod culture. She says her team is slated to present a new paper, The Trad Body and Internalized Shame, arguing the trad bod is much more than a fad. 

“We aren’t sure why—maybe it’s internalized skinny culture, maybe it’s a subconscious pushback against the patriarchy—but for whatever reason, women are near-universally enamored with this new physique,” she told The Daily Inquisition in a promotional interview. “So much so that it’s creating new demographic and mating trends, which is a good indicator of the trad bod’s permanence.”

She added, “I mean, have you seen how many children these people have?”

Originally published Nov 1, 2022