A comprehensive guide to the world of the ‘Daddy’
Calling all Daddies!
Move over, Hollywood Hearthrob! There’s a new title in town that marks the makings of a leading man and it’s called Daddy.
A culmination of the Electra Complex and pop culture virality, the term has heralded a new era in Hollywood and a redefinition of conventional masculinity. Of course, Daddy has been around for many years. However, it’s safe to say that its meaning has warped from an adorable term of endearment by children to their fathers to something far saucier and even downright impure (yes, we’ve seen the “f*ck me Daddy” Pope tweets).
With Daddies ruling our screens and the Internet, it’s clear that this is the Age of the Daddy and we’re all just living in it. But what exactly is a Daddy and how are male celebrities judged and labelled as such? It’s time to get acquainted with this new scale of masculinity that every male celebrity is subject to. In conjunction with Father’s Day, we’re taking a look at the different types of Daddies that exist in today’s pop culture world.
As we’ve mentioned before, Daddy takes many forms. Think of it as just the tip of the iceberg or an umbrella term that covers other iterations of Daddies. The roots of the term dates back as early as the 1620s when prostitutes would refer to their pimps as such. Since then, the LGBT and drag community re-colonised the word in the 1970s to refer to an attractive older man.
Not much has changed from this new definition except for a few things. Contrary to the name, one does not have to be an actual father to be called a Daddy. Similarly, a man does not have to be of a certain age (read: between 30 to 50) to be considered one either. Instead, the label of a Daddy is generally given to a man who exudes the image of confidence, power and stability. He’s someone who feels dependable and reliable, carrying himself with a controlled air of sophistication whilst also exercising assertiveness when necessary. Brownie points if he also has a magnificent beard and a glorious mane to complete the look.
Male celebrities that have been stamped with the Daddy seal of approval include Henry Cavill, Chris Hemsworth, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy and Charlie Hunnam.
The Internet Daddy is a fairly new phenomenon. You can thank social media platforms such as TikTok, Twitter and Instagram for the rise in this form of Daddy. Rather than imploring these male celebrities to ‘adopt’ them, the Internet Daddy is one who is unanimously ‘adopted’ by online masses as their collective father.
Different to the aforementioned Daddy, an Internet Daddy is someone who has wholeheartedly captured the hearts of social media netizens due to their charming and endearing personality. As a result, they are often the subject of fan edits, memes and thirst trap videos compared to usual daddies. Further, a male celebrity who plays the role of a father well (especially single fathers) is also highly likely to be deemed an Internet Daddy as they are seen as soft and empathetic individuals who must be protected and cherished.
Popular Internet Daddies that social media are protective over include Pedro Pascal for his many fatherly roles; Stranger Things’ David Harbour as Eleven’s adoptive dad; and Keanu Reeves because we can all agree he’s simply too good for this world.
The latest iteration of the Daddy. The term actually originated from Ty Dolla $ign’s 2016 song of the same name. While its R-rated lyrics suggest that a Zaddy is a Daddy with crazy sex appeal, it has come to mean a lot more than that. It’s difficult to quantify what a Zaddy truly is because each of them is different in their own way.
Our general rule of law is this: every Zaddy is a Daddy, but not all Daddies are zaddies. There are only a few daddies that have truly ascended to the ranks of a zaddy. Why? Because they must have that je ne sais quoi. It’s a gut instinct, an instant reaction that makes you go “yes, he is a zaddy.” When you see a zaddy, you just know.
Pedro Pascal saying “I am your cool, slutty daddy” pic.twitter.com/sCUfYzFUMp
— Vulture (@vulture) January 17, 2023
A key differentiator between a Daddy and a Zaddy is that the former is an attractive older man whilst the latter is a man who has an extra zestiness to them on top of his good looks. He is someone who exudes natural swagger and charisma; a cultured and intellectual man with refined, and at times, eccentric tastes. Whether it’s his killer sense of fashion, witty humour or collection of art pieces, a Zaddy is someone who shows a creative flair. A Zaddy is also someone secured in his masculinity and has no qualms about partaking in conversations or actions that other Daddies might be hesitant to.
Male celebrities who are generally considered to have ascended to the Zaddy throne are Pedro Pascal (you knew he was going to be here), Jeff Goldblum, Ryan Reynolds, G-Dragon and Jason Momoa.
This is one that the general public is familiar with. A Sugar Daddy typically refers to an older man who takes care of the expenses of a younger companion in exchange for company and *cough* other services. According to cultural historian Kyle Livie, this phenomenon called “treating” can be traced back to the 19th century, whereby men sought out unmarried women with low-paying jobs.
While the term still retains its original meaning to this day, modern society has also used Sugar Daddy to describe men who don’t actually partake in this exchange of money and services as well. Male celebrities who are called Sugar Daddies usually lead a glamorous lifestyle, often showing their excessive wealth in the form of cars, watches, art or fashion. They either have a clean-cut or rugged appearance, with some men balancing between the two effortlessly. If a man likes to date younger women or has a Casanova-like personality, he may also be labelled as a Sugar Daddy.
A few Hollywood men who have been branded as Sugar Daddies include the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio for his taste in women below the age of 25, Hugh Hefner as the former publisher of Playboy, and Johnny Depp who was in a public lawsuit with ex-wife Amber Heart, who was 23 years his junior.
Spanish daddies, represent! Papi is a colloquial Spanish term for “daddy”. We can thank Notorious B.I.G for first sexualising the term Poppa in his 1994 song Big Poppa. Most recently, Papi has appeared in songs such as Drake’s Champagne Papi and Jennifer Lopez’s 2011 Papi.
The terms can refer to the same type of men that fall under Sugar Daddies and often has a strong underlying sexual connotation, particularly for English-speakers. However, in Spanish-speaking cultures, Papi is also used as a term of endearment to also mean “baby” or “buddy” amongst friends. Men who are called Papis usually have a fun energy about them, have a friendly and approachable disposition and are always down for a good time.
Some male celebrities that exude Papi vibes are DJ Khaled and Bad Bunny.
This acronym is pretty self-explanatory: it stands for Dad I’d Like To F*ck. For our sake and yours, we won’t be psychoanalysing why this is a thing. Instead, you can have this Instagram account that captures DILFs roaming around the prime location of Disneyland or this Instagram account simply titled DILF Mag for your viewing pleasure.
Hollywood men that are often considered DILFs are Hugh Jackman, Mark Ruffalo, Brad Pitt and David Beckham.
Let’s end with something more wholesome. Dad is a shorter term for Daddy and carries far less questionable implications. Typically, it refers to real dads and reflects a father figure who is cool, hip and affectionate with their children.
Some endearing Dads include Stanley Tucci in Easy A, Daniel Covey in To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and John Legend for an IRL example.
Meanwhile, Father has much more gravitas to it. Much like the slang Mother, a Father is a man who demands attention for his charisma. He is stern and strict, ready to call you out for your misbehaviour but in a tough love kind of way that you know he still cares for you at the end of the day.
A few Father figures in pop culture are Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro, Hiroyuki Sanada, Harry Potter’s Dumbledore (think about it) and Ewan McGregor as Obi Wan Kenobi in the Star Wars franchise.
For more reads on fathers, head here.
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