fitness controversy

I Think Everyone Got It All Wrong...

Yup. This picture again, and quite the controversy it’s stirred, hmm?
From people claiming she’s an inspirational hero, to people shaming her for supposedly fat shaming others… But I think both sides got it all wrong.


Let’s start with the obvious:

Why do people get offended by this picture?

(1) We, as humans, tend to become jealous of others’ accomplishments when they align with our goals as well… We don’t want to see boasting claims of incredible success if we ourselves haven’t been successful yet. We just don’t like it – fair and square.

(2) Different from the standard pictures of super fit men or women with cheesy motivational quotes like, “suck it up so one day you won’t have to suck it in,” this picture asks a QUESTION. “What’s your excuse?” Rather than just mindlessly giving away a blanketed motivational phrase this picture questions us, and therefore, invites us to answer.  It is everyone’s own unique disposition that helped them answer the question, and it is their answer that helped determine how they felt about this controversial image; inspired or offended.

So what do I think of the image?

The first time I saw this picture I laughed and said, “that’ll probably be me one day.” For those of you who know me it’s really not too off-point. I’m young, I’m married, the prospect of parenthood is in my (near?) future, and I hold fitness as a top priority in my life. It’s no surprise that one day I might be a mother of three sportin’ a six pack. (*Fingers crossed!*)

But wait. This realization of the similarity between me and the main subject of this picture, the relevancethis picture holds with me, is exactly what caused me to think twice…

I don’t think Maria Kang (the woman in the photo) posted this picture with the intention of being either inspirational or offensive. I think she is just proud of her own accomplishments and narrow-mindedly believes that if she can do it then anyone can do it. But what she doesn’t realize is that not everyone came from where she did. We don’t all have her same background or her slim figure. Some of us start out with a thicker slate, so to speak, and others of us just don’t rank fitness as high on our to-do’s.

Do I think it’s fat shaming? No. I think that accusation originated straight from the mind of someone who is self-conscious and probably overweight themselves. There is nothing in the picture that says there is anything wrong with being fat. In fact, it doesn’t even necessarily say that being fit is superior. All it says (at face value) is that Maria has chiseled abs eight months after the birth of her 3rd child, so there’s no reason why all mothers shouldn’t. Sure, it’s impractical, but it’s not fat shaming.

Do I think she’s neglecting her kids? All I have to say about this accusation is WTF? I mean, really? Since when did neglecting your OWN health as a parent become a requirement for motherhood? This criticism is completely misplaced.


My conclusion:

I’m neither inspired nor offended by this picture. Overall I think it has a narrow-minded message with neutral intentions and unexpected consequences, and I think people are wasting their time getting worked up over it.