I had an enlightening conversation today about the “what’s your excuse mom” photo, and the controversy surrounding it. As a matter of fact, the conversation provided additional clarity to the controversy. I hope I can provide you some clarity too. Make sure to read this post all the way to the end. Let’s get started.
The problem with Maria Kang’s photos is more about the fact that the wording called into question every mother who doesn’t look like Kang, as if other mothers were deficient in some way, or lazy, because they didn’t have the same body as Kang. But the truth is, some of us are OK with our bodies even though they don’t resemble a Greek god or goddess.
Here’s how the wording does that…the question “What’s your excuse?” implies that other mothers should look like Kang, and if they don’t then they are simply making excuses. And while it’s perfectly acceptable for Kang to chose for herself to look a certain way, it’s not OK to set expectations for what others should look like. That’s not anyone’s business.
Sometimes the reason someone doesn’t have a body like the ones on the cover of Oxygen magazine is because the person is OK with how they look and feel, no excuses needed. When I posted my article about being a “fat” BodyRocker, there were comments on the post with how I could “improve” my situation and lose more body fat. Clearly those commentators missed the point that I am happy where I’m at.
Some have said that the image was meant to motivate. But despite our best intentions we can sometimes accidentally offend others with our words. Perhaps a better title for the image would have been:
Unfortunately for Kang and the rest of us, the words she chose didn’t come across very well. What Kang meant to say was that she’s a busy mom of 3 small children who’s been busting her butt to achieve her goals, and if she can achieve her goals through perseverance, then so can you. Sometimes though, we just choose the wrong words. It’s happened to me, and I’m sure it’s happened to you… and that’s where the other side comes in.
On the other side of the aisle, there are those folks that became really offended by the photo and question, and began bashing Kang unrelentingly. One of the BodyRock bloggers goes to the same gym as Kang and said that people still giver her dirty looks! So, what happened?
The people that immediately took offense to the photo and went on a rampage against Kang immediately assumed that Kang was not coming from a place of well meaning. If we have the expectation that others have good intentions, we will see their misstep and not take it as an insult and might even gently point out a better way to approach the issue at hand. If however, we start with the expectation that others are out to insult, then of course we will end up with the back and forth inflammatory comments that we saw on Kang’s image.
The onus is on both parties of this controversy. Kang could have chosen better words, and the rest of us could have assumed she was a good person and meant well. So, let’s stop with all the drama and be the good people that we are and assume that others are too. Let’s support each other and encourage each other. And please… stop giving Kang the stink eye in the gym already… it’s just plain being mean and I know you’re better than that!
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