Yesterday you guys tweeted me about this Yahoo article discussing fitness model and mom, Maria Kang’s controversial photograph showing her toned physique alongside her 3 kids. The caption reads “What’s your excuse?”
At first glance, I’m like…controversial? Where? I see inspiration, hard work, and dedication despite the challenges of being a mom. Then I went to research her more on her facebook page and found a whole barrage of negative comments saying that she was a bully, a fat shamer, and was trying to put moms down for not wanting to look good. I couldn’t stop shaking my head in dismay. I knew that her intention for good had somehow been twisted and turned into bad because of a sensitive word choice. This hits me close too because I’ve personally received comments and emails saying that I am a fat shamer when clearly, that is SO far from the truth. So far. Especially if you’ve read my blog and know what this positive, vibrant community is all about.
I mean, I just recently received an email saying that when I tell you guys to squeeze your glutes tighter so that your butt will look perkier (bridge pulses) that that is a body shaming comment…because I’m supposedly implying that unperky butts are unacceptable. Wait, what? Then is the gym a temple of body shame? Is this blog and my career as a fitness instructor a body shaming act? No. It is not. As human beings, we should strive to be our best everyday – whether that is physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – or all. It all is connected, meaning that exercising one aspect will help promote the other. Physical training for example gives you an emotional high!
I did a little more research on this topic and found some blog posts that made me even more upset. One post said that she can’t be a “real mom” because she doesn’t have hips and that probably means she doesn’t have an a** either. Umm, ok. That was out of line. But someone else said, “What if I took my 3 degrees that I received before I turned 30 and shoved it in her face, asking What’s Your Excuse?” That one made me think.
It made me think about people’s genetics. You can eat clean all day long and exercise for hours a day and you may never look like a VS Supermodel. But that’s fine!!! Your talent and beauty lies in your unique skill and not how little fat you hold. We’re all put on this earth to contribute differently to society. Going back to the academic degrees comment…yea, I mean, not everyone can get into Harvard or Yale no matter how hard you study and how many SAT prep classes you take. There is no reason to accuse someone of being stupid for not being able to graduate from an Ivy league college. We’re all smart in different ways and academia is just one type of smart.
Had Maria posed with the kids and captioned “I can do it, so can you!” or “Hard work pays off!” then maybe there would have been less controversy because it’s written as an encouragement. “What’s your excuse?” is read by many as an attack. It’s like saying “Look at me. Look at how sexy I am AND I have 3 kids?? Why can’t you look like me huh? Tell me.” I mean, even if she didn’t put anything in captions, it’s hard to say if the photo promotes healthy living or getting a sexy body. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
I don’t think think she was meaning to make anyone feel bad, but I don’t think it was done 100% altruistically either. I think it was done to get attention. And attention it got. This pic has received tens of thousands of reblogs everywhere and even TV Talk Shows are discussing it. Looking into her facebook, it looks like that pic has been constantly promoted by Maria since 2012 and only recently did it just blow up all over the internet.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you see something horribly wrong with this picture or do you think it’s meant to motivate?
I wanna hear your thoughts in the comments!