Abby Pell, nutritionist and fitness competitor, is speaking out on the Instagram uproar brought on by a photo some say was used to fat shame. Pell insists her message is not about making other women feel bad, but to lead by example.
Pell, 33, caused an Instagram firestorm when she posted a photo baring her six-pack abs alongside her daughter and a caption that reads, “I have a kid, a six pack and no excuse.”
Abby Pell tells Good Morning America on Friday that at the time she posted the photo, she thought it would be funny. However, many women took issue with the photo, blasting Pell for what they call fat-shaming and accusing the UK mom of setting a bad example for her daughter.
“She’s teaching her kid that anyone who doesn’t conform has no excuse, they’re just lazy.”
Other commenters, however, took Pell’s message the way she says it was intended to be received.
“U have inspired me to work harder at the gym.”
Pell, also dubbed the “Six-Pack Mom,” tells ABC News that the photo was meant to be inspirational, not a put down.
“My message was about having a choice, and showing people that it can be achieved if you want to achieve it, and just by leading by example.”
Her photo and the caption caused such an uproar on Instagram, the London-based mom used the photo again last month on Instagram to defend herself and clarify the point of the photo.
“I’ve been accused of adding to unnecessary pressure put on women and more specifically mums to lose weight. I would like to clarify that this is not my objective whatsoever. The message I want to portray is for all the women/mums/girl who aren’t happy or confident with themselves and the reason they don’t try to do anything about it is because they think it’ll be too hard or even impossible to get results…I don’t want to make other women feel bad about themselves, I want them to look at me and think, if she can do it so can I. Because you can!”
If this story sounds familiar, it is because it is very similar to the story of Maria Kang. In 2013, Kang came under fire for what some considered fat-shaming when a photo she posted of herself in workout clothes with her three sons and the caption “What’s your excuse?” went viral. Kang also maintains that her photo was merely to motivate other moms, not to make anyone feel bad.
Speaking in defense of fat-shaming accusers, ABC News’ Dr. Jennifer Ashton says while Abby Pell and Maria Kang’s photos may be meant to inspire, oftentimes the message received by other women, especially mothers, is vastly different when they are presented with these types of photos.
“Let’s give props to this person who obviously is in great shape, but let’s also recognize that shaming people is usually not a powerful motivational tool. And I think that, certainly, when you’re talking about moms bouncing back from pregnancy, we have enough pressure on us as mothers.”
[Images via Instagram]