Stout deejays, the new sexy?
A recent study conducted by gym chain, Planet Fitness, is stirring a debate online about the increased desire for paunchy men, aka dad bods. In recent months, stout deejays have noticeably been dominating the dancehall space, like 6ix frontmen Squash and Chronic Law, who religiously declare on and off stage, "Every gal love 6ix".
But, according to Culture, Gender and Society Professor at the University of the West Indies, Donna Hope, "Big bellies have always been here and are not going anywhere."
"It comes from that patriarchal thing, a man can be as out of shape as possible and can still get a lot of women," she told The STAR.
"Squash is a chunky young man, I wouldn't say he is fat. It's not just the way his body is, but also his beard and hair. I find that younger women find that very attractive, so it's a whole new image for a set of artistes and men."
Over the years, chunky figures like Demarco, Bling Dawg, Roundhead, Sky Juice, Josey Wales, and Admiral Bailey have had success in Jamaican music, while wooing their fair crop of female fans. The latter details the sexual prowess, power and confidence of the 'big, belly man' in his 1987 song of the same name, released on King Jammy's Agony rhythm.
"Admiral Bailey has always been very proud of his big belly and he was popular in dancehall," she said.
"There is an idea that tends to proliferate that men who are older tend to have more money and men who are older many times are not in shape, age catch up with them. Dancehall has always had a relationship with men who are round and stout, and different body images are allowed in dancehall. The new trend for women now is engineered where you plastic up your body and everybody looks the same to me. I think more men have been trending in the opposite direction. You'll see a lot of the older artistes like Bling Dawg going to the gym."
Speaking to The STAR last year, a ripped Bling Dawg said he was once 350 pounds, and decided to get fit after encountering difficulty performing on stage. Monster Shack Crew deejay Roundhead also embarked on the fitness path, revealing he once weighed approximately 300 pounds and decided to change his diet and exercise.
Designer Body's client and singjay Shauna Controller had love handles when she first embarked on her music career. She unveiled her sculpted midsection and breast lift last year and said a big belly female artiste would not be as embraced as her male counterpart.
"Dem nah go waan see that, dem woulda talk bad bout we seh we shape bad," she said. "It a trend and a work fi the men cause when dem buss nobody nuh judge dem because of dem belly. One time big belly never did a wear cause memba Dexta Daps come with him six pack and Assassin used to take off his shirt back in the days and the ladies go wild."
Hope added that females are more pressured to maintain a particular image, but said more men are heading the slimmer route.
"For men, the new sexy is being healthy and trying to make the body slim," she said.
"Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have always been slim and they are very popular and attractive to women but nowadays we find more artistes and men in dancehall trending towards being healthy, slim, and fit."