It’s the photo that people won’t stop talking about. Maria Kang, a California fitness blogger and mommy of three, posted a picture of herself on Facebook wearing a sports bra and shorts, posing with her young sons under the headline: “What’s your excuse?”
The you-know-what hit the fan once the picture hit Facebook. And a week later, people are still worked up about it.
(You just know she’s bound to get a reality show out of this, right?)
Kang has been accused of “fat shaming” women. She’s been called a hateful bully. “People like you who post pictures like this make me cry because without surgery I will never look like you,” one online commenter wrote.
On the fourth hour of the “Today” show last week, co-hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb illustrated how divided people are on the topic.
Kotb was blunt: Something about the tone of the photo and the way Kang posed grossed her out.
"I don't like people who brag about something good " said Kotb. "I like to walk by and say, 'Wow, you look great, what are you doing?' I don't like it when someone says, 'look at me.'"
Gifford gave Kang a pass. “Now maybe she didn't do it in the proper way, but I think it snaps in somebody's mind, 'She's right, I haven't been working out, because I'd rather sit on the couch and watch reruns of 'Will & Grace,’” Gifford said.
“I understand that, who doesn't want to do that. But we make excuses for ourselves. And I think because we live in an entitled world we want what she has, but we don't want to do the work to get it.”
By Wednesday afternoon, Kang's Facebook page had generated 183,000 likes from more than 1 million views.
She seemed to be recovering from a week of media appearances and dodging haters that she felt included some of the talk show hosts who interviewed her.
“I’m alive,” Kang posted to her Facebook page this week. “I feel like I can still smile knowing that the many who got my message, truly received it ... Here's what I believe is going on:
“#1 There's an accountability issue. There's a lot of people with a lot of excuses - not only did McDonald's make people fat, apparently I did also!
“#2 There's an entitlement issue – people believing that I can achieve something without doing anything (genetics). People don't want to hear that it takes discipline, consistency and hard work to achieve a goal anymore.
“#3 There's a body shaming issue (my body). Apparently we have forgotten how different kinds of health looks like (since being overweight has become normalized).”
She also defended herself from accusations of bullying, saying “I think this word is so overused that we forgot that a bully attacks others? I posted my picture on MY fitness-oriented page.”
And, she sent some love to fellow working moms: “The stress to balance everything is great right now – but my point as a busy working mom of three is to make yourself a priority. You are a better mom when you take a little bit of time to be healthy. However your body physically manifests in the process of exercising and eating healthy is beautiful.
“And it doesn't have to look like mine.”
Now why didn’t she just say that in the first place?