Maria Kang, Fat Shaming, and Story

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I don’t often write about current events for a couple of reasons. First, I don’t care to argue and sharing my opinions invites disagreement. Secondly, so much gets said about the topic I wonder what else I could possibly contribute that would seem new or different.

Recently, I heard about a story that intrigued me, though. You may have already heard about Maria Kang. Maria is a fitness enthusiast, blogger and mom to three boys. She posted a picture of herself looking remarkably fit on her Facebook page with her sons ages 3, 2, and 8 months. The caption reads, “What’s your excuse?” The picture has received loads of criticism. You can view the picture and her follow-up thoughts here.

Curious, I decided to go to her blog to find out more about her and her story. Although she was never incredibly overweight, she did have a three-year battle with bulimia. She views her mission as one to encourage other people to be healthy and fit. Her own mother was a victim of diabetes and heart problems due to poor health choices and her concern for her mom plagued her as a child.

Great fitness takes dedication and determination. Not everyone can look like a cover model, nor should they. But I am convinced our society as a whole has perfected making excuses for poor eating habits and lack of fitness. I feel like I can say that because I’ve made the excuses (still do sometimes). And yes, I understand there are certain factors that limit some people (income, marital status, physical disabilities, etc.). These would be considered reasons, not excuses.

The public’s reaction appears to stem from at least two different avenues. One is a reaction to their own guilt. The second is a difference in philosophy. Many in our culture are trying to celebrate all body types (think Dove commercials), and this photo seemed to fly in the face of these attempts to facilitate the encouragement of women to not feel like they have to be stick thin with abs of steel.

Maria’s nay-sayers have accused her of fat shaming. I think that’s a big jump from what she attempted to accomplish, which was to inspire people with the idea of “if I can do this, you can do this, too.”

For me, the bottom line is the importance of understanding one another’s stories. Given Maria’s past, profession, and mission I don’t see a problem with her picture. On the other hand, I would certainly not expect the majority of women to look like her.

Before you jump on the judging bandwagon, regardless of which individual is in the limelight at the current moment, I would encourage you to get the whole picture if you can. Unfortunately, we are all at the mercy of the media and what they choose to reveal to us. Whether you agree with the person or not, at least you might learn how their journey led them to behave as they did. We can learn so much from the experiences of other people. Our past contributes to our future.

What’s your opinion?

Photo from Stock Exchange

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One thought on “Maria Kang, Fat Shaming, and Story

  1. I think a lot of my reaction comes from guilt – I let myself be the one to make excuses and say that i’m too busy, too…whatever. But then, the reality is that if someone can have three kids and still find time to work out and do what they can, maybe i’m just spending too much time doing the wrong thing.

    I see fat shaming more as making fun of people for being fat or judging them. I think her post, though easy to see the wrong way, was really an attempt to motivate people to think that they CN change.

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