Have you heard? A mom posed with her three kids under three years old in a sports bra, tiny shorts, and washboard abs and then the Internet exploded. The headline "What's Your Excuse?" was the match to the fire.
Maria Kang is a "fitness enthusiast," blogger, trainer and a former beauty contestant. She is also a mom of three who runs a not-for-profit fitness program. And today, she may be the most hated mom on the Internet. Or the most loved one, I can't tell.
The photo has 16 million views, give or take, 22-thousand people shared it, and there are over 34,000 comments -- many of them negative. Kang has gained thousands of new followers and possibly more haters who accuse her of fat-shaming less fit mothers.
She really is beautiful. After reading her blog, I can see that having leg definition and a six-pack is really important to her. And I can tell from her attempt at an apology on Facebook that she doesn't understand why it isn't important to everyone else:
"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."
Bloggers started to have fun with the photo, posting photos of their own in workout gear with their kids. Others took a different approach, Rebecca Keenan wants to motivate mothers by showing how much she got done in a day -- not to shame, just to inspire. Because not everyone gets a cup of tea while waiting for takeout. Or, of course, does this:
It's not just bloggers; Kang has now appeared on The Today Show, CNN, and Good Morning America to defend herself. I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was trying to inspire, and not shame people who don't look like her.
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I just don't think that one woman showing off her toned body is the start of a culture war. I think that fat-shaming is larger and more subtle than that. I am much more concerned about advertising and the messages that are sent out by the media, movies, and pop culture than by one body-obsessed mom.
I don't need an excuse for not having a six-pack because I don't want one. I also don't have an excuse for not getting the laundry done -- but I do want clean clothes. So I guess I'd better work on that.
What do you think of the photo?
Want more chaos? Last year, Tori Spelling had a very high risk pregnancy.