Yes, I went there.
I debated whether to post this picture because it has been so viral and controversial and I honestly just didn’t care all that much. But, as someone who is of the “no excuses” mentality (hence the title of this blog), I wanted to give my two cents, and to hear yours.
Meet Maria Kang. 32 years old. Mother of three. Wife. Owner of two residential care homes for the elderly. Founder of a nonprofit fitness business. Freelance writer. Overall the kind of woman who some people love to hate.
She is quick to point out that she does not have a personal trainer, chef or nanny. She says she is not naturally skinny. She works out about an hour a day, 6 days per week. She posted this picture of herself on Facebook and quickly became known as the Hot Facebook Mom. She also stirred up a huge discussion (as in 31,000 comments), some of them not so kind. She was referred to as a fat-shamer, a bully, a bad mom and someone who just doesn’t get it.
You know me - I am all about not making excuses for your life not being what you want it to be. So, I get that part of the point she is making. However, in my opinion, the message in this photo is not, “Stop making excuses and start working towards the body, health, fitness you want,” it is, “Hey women, you have no excuse to not look like me.”
Let’s break this down.
- No matter how many hours a day I worked out or how much lettuce I ate, I would never look like Maria Kang. Never.
- I don’t think those children are hers. She bought them at the farmer’s market (calm down, joke).
- She looks amazing. She works hard. Hats off.
- Yes, I know she works her butt off for that body. But, somewhere in her history there has to be some kick-ass genetics or at least some great boobs and skin.
- She says she’s sick of people making excuses for being overweight or out of shape and wanted to post a picture to be provocative. Job well done. However, I can’t get over how attention seeking it all is. I know this because I have a blog and seek attention all the time. Maybe I’m just jealous. After all, I’ve never had 31,000 comments.
- Some find the photo inspiring. Some just want to gaze at it at 1:30 in the morning while their family is asleep (hello, creepy pants). My fear is that some look at this picture and think, “Why bother, because I will never look like that.” As fitness advocates we should raise people up and make them feel good about themselves. I’m not sure she accomplished that.
- In her 20s, Kang suffered from bulimia: “I was binging and purging three times a day, five times a week for four years straight.” I don’t have nor have ever had an eating disorder, but I wonder about those who have struggled with ED and how they view Kang now. Is it inspiring to see someone with her past now “healthy?”
- Yeah, yeah, yeah. Business owner. Gorgeous. Perfect body. 31,000 comments. But, can she do an Ironman?
- Do you think she ever craps her pants on the run? Naw, she’s too perfect. She probably doesn’t even fart.
What do you think of the photo and the message? Inspiring or Infuriating?