Is This Hot Mom a Fat-Shaming Bully?

Photo: Mike Byerly - via Maria Kang's official website

Thirty-two-year-old mother of three little boys and fitness enthusiast Maria Kang posted that photo above, featuring herself (and her washboard abs) with the caption "What's Your Excuse?"

Since she posted it on Facebook, Kang's photo has gone viral. It has garnered more than 16 million views and over 30,000 comments - most of which are positive "You go, girl" type. But some people took offense and called Kang a bully for "fat-shaming" women. Some even called her a "bad mother," accusing her of spending more time exercising rather than caring for her children.

To which, Kang replied in this (not-so-apologetic) apology:

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 business', have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer. I won't even mention how I didn't give into cravings for ice cream, french fries or chocolate while pregnant or use my growing belly as an excuse to be inactive.

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. You can either blame, complain or obtain a new level of thought by challenging the negative words that come out of your own brain.

With that said, obesity and those who struggle with health-related diseases is literally a 'bigger' issue than this photo. Maybe it's time we stop tip-toeing around people's feelings and get to the point. So What's Your Excuse? - Maria Kang

As a recovering bulimic, Kang said that she understood why people are so defensive when it comes to their weight. She told Yahoo! Shine, "I think people struggle with their weight. When you add on being a mother - and the pressures we face to have it all and be everything, including fit - the expectations are so high. I think some moms saw the picture and just said, 'This is ridiculous.'"

But body image IS a big deal (exhibit A: the hullabaloo over Barbie's shape), so is Kang's "What's Your Excuse" photo is a case of fat-shaming? Or did she do the right thing by challenging people to exercise and take better care of themselves?

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" I won't even mention how I didn't give into cravings for ice cream, french fries or chocolate while pregnant or use my growing belly as an excuse to be inactive."

As someone who was bulimic, there was a time when she did give in to those cravings and couldn't stop herself from overeating and then throwing up. During that time, I'm sure she wanted to resist many times, but for various reasons (psychologically), she could not. As someone who endured this hardship, she should have empathy for people who are not yet or may never be capable of "resisting" these urges. She should understand that it's not about being "lazy", but about being in a place in your life emotionally, physically, logistically, genetically, etc. where you can make better choices and dig yourself out of the hole you're in. And just because she managed it does not mean others should be able to do as well as each person lives in a different skin and has different challenges.

Rather than hold herself out as a triumph, she should remember when she also was a failure and regard those who are still where she was with kindness and compassion. But, then, she's selling something now, isn't she? And it's not healing and wellness.
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I don't see anything wrong with what she did. I wondered if the question was "What's your excuse for not adopting?"
But it could have easily been an ad for birth control, taken out of context as it is.
The Fitness world is all about embarrassing you, so of course she sees nothing wrong with it. If you feel insecure about your body because of this, then it worked. The ad's not for regular plump people - it's for people who were in shape and then got lazy and let themselves go - not chubby mothers.
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My excuse is that I like chocolate, and cake, and I really LOVE chocolate cake. But seriously, while I understand what she means, I do agree she could have been a little more tactful about it if it was going to be taken off fitness blogs. On the other hand, just because you disagree with something doesn't make it wrong and I think that whoever started this "fat-shaming bully" issue is probably someone who should put down the donuts & take a walk around the block. I really think the picture and the slogan aren't that bad in context of the website they were published on. It's like going to a porn site and complaining about objectification.
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Eh, perfect body - although too flat chested for me - but anyone who is so opening happy is hiding something. Not because they are bad, but because no one's life is perfect.

Plus, the whole bragging/dare thing is insulting. It's like I never buy the stuff that's forced on me in internet ads . . . to hell with em . . .
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