Remember 32-year-old Maria Kang? She's the fitness-obsessed mom who posted a picture of herself with her three kids and the caption "what's your excuse?" on Facebook. After a recent rant about how there is "unrelenting support" for people who are "borderline obese," she's been banned from Facebook. But she is not sorry for fat-shaming, no sir.
Kang saw the Curvy Girl lingerie campaign — in which "normal" women model underthings — and was not happy. She wrote that she was "annoyed" by "news stories about how overweight, nearly obese women should be proud of their bodies."
You read that correctly: If you are overweight or obese you should not have any pride. Pride — defined by Merriam-Webster as "a feeling that you respect yourself and deserve to be respected by other people" is not for you. If that is how your body works and looks YOU DO NOT DESERVE RESPECT.
Kang also wrote: "We need to change this strange mentality we are breeding in the U.S. and start celebrating people who are a result of hard work, dedication and discipline." It's incredibly sad that she equates obesity with a lack of discipline. Plenty of hard-working, dedicated people are overweight or obese. Kang has obviously never read any books by Steven N. Blair, exercise scientist and one of the leading researchers in the field, who says, "Can someone be fat and fit? Yes." Blair believes exercise is incredibly important. He runs every day. But he's not skinny. He says: "I often tell people that I was short, fat and bald when I started running, but after running nearly every day for more than thirty years and covering 70,000 miles ... I am still short, fat and bald. But I suspect I'm in much better health than if I had been sedentary."
Maria Kang claims she is "not bashing those who are proud and overweight." She writes: "I am empowering those who are proud and healthy to come out and be the real role models in our society." But she does write (bold hers):
"I am motivated by constant body (fat) acceptance campaigns strewn all over the internet followed by comments with the context of 'you go girl!' and 'more power to you!' The popular and unrelenting support received to those who are borderline obese (not just 30-40lbs overweight) frustrates me as a fitness advocate who intimately understands how poor health negatively effects a family, a community and a nation."
Question: Is she seriously talking about this nation? A nation that idolizes and rewards thin celebrities, slender supermodels and openly mocks the overweight and obese? "Unrelenting support"? For real? Anyway. She got banned. Someone on Facebook may have reported her. And now she is sorry but not sorry.
Her new post reads:
I feel completely misunderstood. While I speak strongly about making one's health a priority, the very last thing I intended to express was any level of shame. No one should be ashamed of who they are, at the same time, in order to desire something greater, you have to –at some level – be uncomfortable with where you are at. When we normalize being unhealthy we create complacency to positively change.
Kang goes on to write about her struggles with bulimia and how deeply her mother's diabetes affected her. She posted a picture of herself crying at her wedding because her mother was in the hospital, and wrote, "Obesity effects a family, not just the person."
It's obvious that weight, food and body image are emotional, complicated topics for her and she is still working through a lot of issues, and one could even wonder if her disordered eating turned into an ostensibly "healthy" fitness fixation. But here's the problem: Her issues are her own. She has no business talking shit about women who are overweight and feel pride. When she asked, "what's your excuse?" or told critics "it's all in your head" she was making it about other people and not herself. There's nothing wrong with her being proud of her dedication to exercise and flat abs. There is something wrong with responding to average size women wearing lingerie with a rant about the "healthcare crisis." A person, regardless of outward appearance or size, has a right to pose in underwear and feel good, proud and deserving of respect, and if it offends your eyeballs and sends you into a tizzy, dredging up feelings about your sick mother, the problem is not with the chubby lady in lace. It's with you.