Maria Kang, a 32-year-old fitness blogger and mother of three from California, is taking some heat for being proud of her smokin’ hot bod. She claims she just wanted to help other moms reach an optimum level of fitness when she posted a Facebook photo with a unique call to action.
The fitness buff posted a photo of herself looking toned and taut in a bra top and teeny workout shorts, alongside her sons and their ages (then 8 months, 2 years, and 3 years old). The provocative headline reads “What’s Your Excuse?” Although the photo was first posted a year ago, Maria decided to re-post it due to some negative comments she was receiving.
She added this note along with the photo, which she now admits sounds like a “non-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 businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer... 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.”
Since she re-posted the photo on Facebook, it’s gone completely viral, with over 16 million views and 13,000 comments. While many women have supported and liked Maria’s “no excuses” approach, others have voiced violently negative reactions, specifically to the headline she chose and the note that accompanied it. In fact, several outraged women have even accused Maria of fat-shaming.
These sample comments paint a picture: “Thanks for inspiring me to start barfing up my dinner and get breast implants! I've always hated my body but wasn't motivated to force myself to operate on my body to enhance my appearance and vomit to make myself socially acceptable until now. Thank you for the inspiration! Rock on!”
“You are a bully with a super inflated sense of your own self,” another commenter wrote.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Shine, Maria explained that she was merely trying to motivate women, specifically her fellow moms. “I wanted to inspire people,“ she says, “I wanted to say, ‘I know you think you don’t have time if you have kids. But if I can do it, you can do it, too.’”
The negative reactions aren't surprising to Maria, however they have had a big impact. “I think people struggle with their weight,” she said. “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.’ I felt really frustrated. Being called a bad mother and a bad person definitely hurts.”
Where do you stand on this: Do you think the photo is inspiring, or offensive?