Over on Facebook, fitness “sanctimommy” Maria Kang has ruffled a few feathers with a judgmental image posted of her toned abs and three babies with a loaded caption… “What’s your excuse?”
There are so many distasteful things about Maria Kang’s Facebook body shaming and her un-apology, after the fact, it’s hard to know where to start, but many people gave it a good crack.
Sure, health is an admirable goal, but it isn’t like women aren’t constantly bombarded with messages like Kang’s — that no bar of success, parenting ability, or personal achievement means anything if you’re not doing it half naked in the world’s ugliest bikini.
It’s also pretty yucky that Kang is taking a single way of being — thin and toned — and making it the default, a binary this or that thing where either you look like her, and good, or not like her, and bad. It takes what she has and sets it as a standard, using the appearances of others and their own personal satisfaction with their looks on which to hang her point. Ew.
The inevitable backlash of women tired of being expected to look one specific way; tired of being judged, not only on their abilities and personality, but on their bodies as well — just tired from working and raising kids — provoked a response from Maria Kang on Facebook — and of course, she insinuates that anyone who didn’t appreciate the message was basically just jealous:
“I’m sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way. I won’t go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer.”
“What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life.”
No, Maria Kang, what people interpret is not your fault. But exposing women again to a binary and damaging demand they look a certain way and bare their bodies is your fault, an unreasonable demand yet again being laid at the feet of women who just had babies is your fault, and introducing a negative barometer (excuses) is totally your fault.
Or to put it another way, people taking umbrage at this stuff doesn’t mean they are envious or want to look different — they’re just fed up of having to justify their choices to people who feel like their way is the only way.
Jezebel quotes one irritated woman, who says:
“Whats my excuse? I don’t need one. I have four children, I’m healthy, I’m happy, I have a man who thinks I am hotter than hell even if I am a little overweight… and I enjoy my life and the people in it. I don’t choose to spend all my time in the gym, because I just dont enjoy it. There is no law that says you have to look like that to be hot. I’m so tired of society trying to shame people for not being ‘enough,’ whether its pretty, thin, rich, smart, whatever. I beat myself up for too many years because I’m 4’10″, top heavy and curvy. Short limbs, big muscles. Finally at 43 I can say I am who I am. You are who you are. And just because Im not just like you doesn’t mean I have something to be ashamed of.”
What did you think of this Facebook fit mom’s image post and her added response? Do you agree with Maria Kang, or her objectors?