The Hubby disagrees with me on this point, but of course he does. After all, he is a straight man with a pulse. Men everywhere are rushing to defend a [super hot and sexy] damsel in distress. Women, on the other hand, especially fat, ugly women, are up in arms.
Sexy Maria Kang, model and former pageant queen, posed in sporty underwear next to her three kids for a photo shoot and headlined it: “What’s your excuse?” I do not doubt that Ms. Kang meant no harm. Her intentions were good. If she can find time in her busy schedule with three kids (and a non-profit organization and several businesses, no, no one’s bragging here) to work out and achieve a toned model’s body, then so can you! Ladies, are you inspired now to feel better about yourself as Kang intended? Or did you just turn green with envy at her, played with the bat wings under your arms, then stared at your belly, and depressed, reached for another pint of ice cream?
If you did the latter, well Maria Kang says that’s your fault, not hers. You’re just a hater because you’re too lazy to get up and do something about your ugly ass and so when you see how much hotter she is than you, you’re taking out your insecurities on her. She says to you haters directly: “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.”
See? Her intentions are good.
Sadly, you know what they say about the road to hell. In her case it may not be as extreme as hell, but certainly the road to contributory negligence for further aggravating female body issues and playing the ever popular ever so trite blame game, which truly is best played against women.
In Kang’s interview with Beth Greenfield at Yahoo! Shine, perhaps to garner sympathy after the onslaught of vitriol from women, she tells us that she struggled with her genetics, had an eating disorder, works full time owning two businesses, has no nanny, and is not “naturally skinny,” in addition to being a wife and mother of three kids, among other you-see-I’m-even-busier-than-you-think-you-are-and-yet-I-still-manage-to-be-this-hot ”obstacles.”
I am genuinely impressed with Maria Kang. It takes more diligence than I have to work out as much as she does and run ten miles instead of “sitting there on my iPhone.” (Her words and accusations, but touché, you got me. No defense. I am most definitely not running ten miles and instead just sitting here pecking out a blog post for 8A.) That woman has every right to be damn proud and damn vain about herself. Be honest here, ladies, if any of you looked like her you would not only be posting midriff showing booty hugging spandex photos of yourself all over the Internet but you’d probably go everywhere in just your undies–to work, to the grocery store, and even just to drop off your kids at school. So yeah. Don’t hate.
But I’m also hoping if you did all that, you would own up to your vanity and just say, “Yeah, I am damn proud I look good” instead of operating under some false pretense that you’re doing it to “inspire” others. Kang’s photo and Playboy, Maxim, and Victoria’s Secret models don’t “inspire” us women to get fit. At least the Victoria’s Secret model is just strutting her perky tits. Maria Kang has to add a condescending message to her pic: “What’s your excuse?” Ease up there, woman. We get it. You’re better than the rest of us.
See, that’s really the point of such a photo. “I’m better than you.” And that is a fine message to send because it’s your right to send that message into the world. However, there are consequences one should be conscientious of. Kang is contributing to female insecurities; she’s pushing for conformity to a very rigid standard of “fitness” and really, female beauty and sexuality, ostracizing anyone who is born “big-boned,” “apple-bottomed,” “pear shaped,” suffer from a family history of obesity, or whatever else have you, conveniently glossing over the fact that not everyone who does exactly what she does can end up looking exactly the way she looks, that maybe not every mother has a husband around to help her out (she later acknowledges that her husband is truly the reason why she is able to do what she does); and then to top it off, she’s saying if for any reason you are not inspired by her hot bod, it’s your fault. You need to own your life.
An inspirational photo op for women’s fitness might be her sweating, hair a mess, at the gym–still totally super hot in skintight clothes–multi-tasking to make sure her three kids are being taken care of by her husband back home and checking up on business at the office with the caption, “You’ve got to try.” Or maybe a side by side juxtaposition of photos, one “before” pic of her looking unwell, lazy, and three kids drowning in video games and iPads and a second “after” pic of her working out, being fit and healthy, and her three kids following suit, working out with her outdoors in the sunshine. You want to inspire busy moms to get healthy? Those are a few good places to start. The above photo that went viral? Not effective for your alleged intended purpose, honey.
Most of Kang’s personal website and blog is inspiring. She comes across as a woman with heart. Even though no one is really entitled to an apology from her, it is counterproductive to everything her blog strives to do and what I do believe she tries to stand for when Kang thrusts up her chin and displays an unapologetic attitude about her photo. If her objective is to inspire and she wants to be a role model, then it behooves her to acknowledge how misguided her photograph was. If she’s just another pretty face on the Internet, then screw everyone, keep the sexy pics and patronizing messages coming!
I won’t blame her for not realizing the ramifications of her vanity, being ignorant of a more holistic approach to women’s health, and the anti-feminist undertones of such a photo, perpetuating a culture of shaming and blaming women rather than uplifting, empathizing, and supporting. There are, after all, only 24 hours in a day. She’s busy working out, looking hot, posting bikini selfies on Facebook. That’s her excuse for not being more informed.
Photo Credit: Mike Byerly. Source: Beth Greenfield, Hot Mom Defends Herself Against Facebook Haters, Yahoo! Shine, October 14, 2013.