Fitness mom-of-three Maria Kang is speaking up after a Facebook photo of herself incited a few angry critics.
In the photo she posted on Facebook, Kang is seen with her toned figure and surrounded by her three young boys. The photo is captioned with “What’s your excuse?” Since she added the photo, it has gone viral and generated over 16 million views on Facebook. While some of the comments have been complimentary, others have accused her of being a bully and fat shaming women.
“I wanted to inspire people,” Kang defended herself to Yahoo Shine. “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.’”
“I think people struggle with their weight,” she also added. “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.’”
One of her critics wrote a biting remark criticizing Kang’s parenting skills. “Those precious little things need their mommy more than they need you to have glamour muscles,” a user wrote.
With the slew of negative comments, Kang added a follow-up note in her defense:
“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.”
In response, a commenter summed up what she thought was wrong with Kang’s picture and follow-up apology:
“I think this picture and the presentation along with the caption was off putting and upsetting. There are thousands of other ways to show off a fit body without wearing a bra and underwear for the nation to see. Secondly, “excuses” come in every shape and size. I think for most women it’s about priorities, not excuses! My kids are my first priority. If what you say is true you are a very busy working mom with no nanny. Where are your kids while your spending all your free time working on you? Finally, you don’t have a daughter. I think if you did your message would surely be a different one. Would you want someone telling her she had no excuse for looking a certain way? What if she didn’t look like you, and some woman made her feel bad about it? I’m sure you would change your tune. Your apology is a joke and as worthless to women as your initial post. Put some clothes on and spend some time with your children.”
Kang, a former pageant queen runs a nonprofit, Fitness Without Borders. On top of that, she manages two residential nursing homes and works as a freelance writer. Together with three kids, the mom has a packed schedule on her hands.
What do you think of Maria Kang and her critics?