Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Current Events & Hot Topics Current Events & Hot Topics

Inspiring or insulting? Hot mom defends herself...

Posted by   + Show Post

Maria Kang, and the photo that launched thousands of comments. Photo: Mike ByerlyA California fitness enthusiast and mother of three is defending a controversial photo of herself that has prompted a cavalcade of Facebook critics to accuse her of fat shaming women.

More on Shine: Is the Post-Baby Body Obsession Hurting Women?

In the photo, seen at left, 32-year-old Maria Kang poses in a workout bra and matching micro shorts - revealing an incredibly toned figure with washboard abs - while surrounded by her three young sons, now 1, 3 and 4. Floating above her head is the question, "What's your excuse?" The picture has gone viral, with more than 16 million views on Facebook, and has generated more than 12,000 comments. And while much of the input has been of the supportive "you go, girl" variety, plenty of it has been made up of angry, offended personal attacks on the photo subject, calling her everything from "obnoxious" and "fake" to a bad mom and a bully.

But Kang, in an exclusive interview with Yahoo Shine, says that making other women feel bad about themselves is the opposite of what she was going for.


"I wanted to inspire people," she explains, adding that the "What's your excuse?" part was simply a borrowed, popular phrase that's been used in various "fitspiration" campaigns. "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.'"

Kang, of Sacramento, California, is a former pageant queen and fitness competitor who founded the nonprofit Fitness Without Borders in 2007. She's also a recovering bulimic. Kang says she understands why some people reacted so defensively. "I think people struggle with their weight," she notes. "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 still, she says, "I felt really frustrated. Being called a bad mother and a bad person definitely hurts."

Though she first posted the photo to her Facebook page a year ago, Kang noticed it was being shared a lot more recently and that it was generating a swell of negative comments toward her. So she reposted it to her own 72,000-plus followers, tacking on an apology - which, she admits, is really 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," she wrote, in part. "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."   

That post brought a frenzy of negative responses, including, "Those precious little things need their mommy more than they need you to have glamour muscles," "Not that I *NEED* an excuse for not working out, but here's mine you self-righteous idiot ... fibromyalgia," "You are part of the body shaming problem that is going on in North America and other parts of the world," and "You are a bully with a super inflated sense of your own self."

Many others, though, rallied in defense of Kang, with "Never apologize," "Get a life and leave this woman alone," and "Well done!" 
 
Because of the barrage, Kang has put together a FAQ page about her personal life, with responses to many of the criticisms and accusations she's become accustomed to hearing. For example: "Do you work?" (Yes. She owns two small residential care facilities for the elderly.) "Do you have a nanny?" (No.) "Are those your kids? They all look different." ("I have to say this is the funniest comment I've read. Of course, my children look like both the mother and father," she writes. "I am half Malaysian Chinese and Filipina. My husband is a Caucasian mix of German, French, Norwegian and Spanish. They are all my kids.")

Kang says she works out five to six days a week, about an hour at a time, doing a half-hour of strength training and a half-hour of cardio - running, the stair climber, or a spin or Zumba class. She adds that, while it might seem amazing that she can fit in regular exercise while raising three kids and working, she structures her time in ways that make it all work. She watches no TV, for example, wakes up at 6 a.m., and, while she's at the park with her children, "I'm working out. I'm not sitting there on my iPhone." And she gets plenty of help from her husband, David Casler.

Casler, who suffered a traumatic brain injury during a bomb attack in Iraq, where he worked as a private security contractor, is no longer able to work. He volunteers, though, with the Team Rubicon disaster-relief organization. 

It's not the first time a fitness-oriented mom has caused an online uproar. Just last month, a stay-at-home mom in Los Angeles received a barrage of criticism after posting a photo of herself lifting weights during a CrossFit workout. 

Kang concludes that much in life is mind over matter - whether it's recovering from an attack like her husband's or staying in slamming shape while raising a brood of boys. "It's really where your mind is," she says, referring to the different ways that people might interpret her photo. "I just hope that the person who feels completely overwhelmed can see they can control their own destiny. To know that there's no excuse for not making time for yourself."

video

http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/hot-mom-defends-herself-against-facebook-haters-192149769.html

by on Oct. 16, 2013 at 2:06 PM
Replies (151-155):
Ryanswifey42012
by Member on Oct. 18, 2013 at 5:39 PM
I don't think she was trying to be insulting. She's just trying to say If she can do it, so can u.
v2011
by Member on Oct. 21, 2013 at 9:19 AM
Ouch. I have some problems with my right hip. I haven't dislocated it but it's been a problem since I had my first son. I'm sorry that happened to you. I see absolutely nothing wrong with they way you look. I agree you look healthy and feminine. One thing I want to stress again is that her body isn't everyone's ideal. I've had men tell me I'm too muscular or my look is almost intimidating. Most men like a woman that has shape to her and curves, which can be lost on women with rock hard bodies. I, personally work out to be strong and to see how far I can get my body to go. A lot of women that are really into fitness do it for the same reasons. We all started to lose weight but then the goal became something else. Now if her accomplishment had been an educational one, and she were standing there in a lab coat, do you think she would have gotten the same response?
Quoting mehamil1:

I have one kid, birthed him 10 years ago. It took me two years of working out and eating food that is "good" and that I'm not allergic to to get to this point. Along the way I dislocated my hip (I'm 28 years old and I'm double jointed everywhere) on a treadmill and did some weird nerve damage in my left arm with weights. I've learned to use my own body weight for strength training and the bike is the only thing that doesn't destroy my joints. 

I am very very happy here. I feel like I look healthy and very feminine. 

Quoting v2011:

I'm only speaking of those who say they want to make a change or want to look like that and make excuses. And I think that is what she meant as well. Everyone else is assuming that her view is her body is the ideal.  The point is if this is your ideal then don't make excuses, just do it.  Same goes with career, education, ect.

Quoting v2011:

I have her body and two kids, and I'm a single mom with a full time job and a part time job.

I get up at 4am and am going until 10:30pm. And I gotta tell the ladies who are upset about her comment...to get a body like that, you gotta work damn hard and have a lot of commitment.  And yes, just about anyone can do it. 

I've met several women who ask me how I did it (I was not born to be skinny), when I tell them I hear nothing but excuses from a lot of them.   Some really want to change and are not playing the blame game, and they are the ladies who succeed.

People are angry because they don't like to be accountable. 


mehamil1
by Platinum Member on Oct. 21, 2013 at 10:41 AM

I have heard the same. It also infuriates me when I hear "Real Women Have Curves" - that's just stupid. Just because I have an hour glass figure does not mean I am more "woman" than say you with your rock hard muscles. I don't play that game. Women are women and we are beautiful exactly as we are. 

If she had been standing in a lab coat I bet the backlash still would have happened but with a different tone. How dare you work and progress yourself with you have children and a husband to take care of! It truly doesn't matter what we do or don't do. We live in a society that does not value women. 

Quoting v2011:
Ouch. I have some problems with my right hip. I haven't dislocated it but it's been a problem since I had my first son. I'm sorry that happened to you. I see absolutely nothing wrong with they way you look. I agree you look healthy and feminine. One thing I want to stress again is that her body isn't everyone's ideal. I've had men tell me I'm too muscular or my look is almost intimidating. Most men like a woman that has shape to her and curves, which can be lost on women with rock hard bodies. I, personally work out to be strong and to see how far I can get my body to go. A lot of women that are really into fitness do it for the same reasons. We all started to lose weight but then the goal became something else. Now if her accomplishment had been an educational one, and she were standing there in a lab coat, do you think she would have gotten the same response?
Quoting mehamil1:

I have one kid, birthed him 10 years ago. It took me two years of working out and eating food that is "good" and that I'm not allergic to to get to this point. Along the way I dislocated my hip (I'm 28 years old and I'm double jointed everywhere) on a treadmill and did some weird nerve damage in my left arm with weights. I've learned to use my own body weight for strength training and the bike is the only thing that doesn't destroy my joints. 

I am very very happy here. I feel like I look healthy and very feminine. 

Quoting v2011:

I'm only speaking of those who say they want to make a change or want to look like that and make excuses. And I think that is what she meant as well. Everyone else is assuming that her view is her body is the ideal.  The point is if this is your ideal then don't make excuses, just do it.  Same goes with career, education, ect.

Quoting v2011:

I have her body and two kids, and I'm a single mom with a full time job and a part time job.

I get up at 4am and am going until 10:30pm. And I gotta tell the ladies who are upset about her comment...to get a body like that, you gotta work damn hard and have a lot of commitment.  And yes, just about anyone can do it. 

I've met several women who ask me how I did it (I was not born to be skinny), when I tell them I hear nothing but excuses from a lot of them.   Some really want to change and are not playing the blame game, and they are the ladies who succeed.

People are angry because they don't like to be accountable. 

colins_mom
by Silver Member on Oct. 21, 2013 at 10:44 AM
Kinda pisses me off because I hear it all the time. I am a fat ass who would love to work out and be fit butI ddon't have the time or money to do so. Hell I barely find time to sleep.
candlegal
by Judy on Oct. 21, 2013 at 10:53 AM

Good for her

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)