Recently, the Internet blew up over a picture of a fit looking, half-dressed woman with three children around her. The caption of the picture says "What's your excuse?" The woman in question is Maria Kang,
I've read quite a few articles centering around this picture and the criticism that is has drawn from some people. Some people have said that she is a bully. Some people have said that she's an inspiration.
I personally don't think that she's either.
On the "bully" side, I can see their point, though I think that calling her a bully is extreme. She didn't say anything bad about anyone else. It's not the fact that she's skinny/fit that caused the complaint, it's the caption "What's your excuse?" that caused an issue. Not every woman's body can bounce back so quickly after childbirth, even with working hard. Some women have health issues that prevent them from looking like this or being able to be super active. Some women have diseases or take medication that make them literally incapable of losing weight. A lot of women have insecurities, and this picture seems to have sent them all bubbling to the surface. So many of us have been bullied that we're quick to snap at someone that we perceive as a bully. However, fat people that were bullied by thin people turning into bullies towards thin people is just as bad. It's a vicious cycle that a lot of people are stuck in.
On the "inspirational" side, I can see how people find her inspirational. She is a mother of three that works a LOT, has two businesses, and just has a lot going on and she still manages to look like that. She takes time out of each day to exercise in order to look like that. She makes sure that her family is healthy. She worked hard for that body and for that confidence and I commend her for it. I hope to be able to develop that kind of conviction and drive.
The biggest complaint has been that pictures like this just further the image that ALL women should strive to look like this. The caption with the image kind of reads as: "What's your excuse for not being this hot?" She's wearing hardly any clothes and posing in a very... I don't want to say sexual way because it's not really sexual (not with the children there), but in a "provocative" way while not wearing a lot of clothing. Women are told EVERY DAY that we should be working out and getting toned and look like air-brushed models at all times. A lot of women have commented saying that a different caption wouldn't have made this such a big deal. Something like, "it's possible" or something less personal than "what's your excuse?"
All this being said, I don't think that's what she meant to do at all and I have zero issue with this picture. I don't think that she was fat shaming, being a bully, or asking us why we're not as hot as she is. My issue is with the comments on the articles.
My Take on It
Here is my issue with this whole "controversy:" women are just tearing each other down. Instead of empowering each other to do better and be better, we're too busy yelling "fat shaming!" or "thin shaming!" at each other to do anything else. Women are fighting in the comments sections of all the articles I've seen and it makes me sad. This picture never even said anything about being fat, but the personal question "What's your excuse?" sent some people up in flames.
Related Tangent: I hate the phrase "only dogs go for bones, real men are into curves" or meat or whatever. I didn't always hate that quote until a friend of mine (who is thinner) pointed out that it was rude. And it is. The phrase she ACTUALLY pointed out was, and I quote, "once you go big, you never go twig." I posted this phrase on my FaceBook page and she pointed out that it is exactly as offensive as saying that "once you go skinny, you'll never go big." The first is thin-shaming and the second is fat-shaming and I agree with her.
Yes, we fatties have gotten a lot of grief over the years from bullies in our personal lives and the media, but thin people have insecurities just like fat people do and feel the same pressure to be perfect as we do. Without telling my friend's story, I know that she was bullied and she's thin *gasp*. BULLYING HAPPENS TO EVERYONE, REGARDLESS OF SIZE. If you were ever bullied, why would you EVER want to cause that kind of pain to someone else?
Want to know a really awesome secret? "Fat" people and "thin" people ARE BOTH PEOPLE. We divide up into two opposing camps and shame each other and it is WRONG. Furthermore, those two quotes demean men just as much as they do women. They assume that men are "dogs" or basically only after sex. These two quotes. which I've read in the article comments, are sexist and WRONG.
Basically, my point is that we as people should all just learn to accept each other. I can't (and don't want to) control your actions or life, so I can't judge it. I don't know your heart, I'm not you. My only request is that you don't judge me since you don't know me. Just like we don't know Maria Kang or all those people yelling in the comments.
So yeah. Quit shaming each other and bullying each other.