Maria Kang can't stop won't stop posting pictures of herself. The latest image is very strategically lit, and points out that she works 8-hour days, gets limited sleep, has stretchmarks and is "strong not skinny." Again, this is under the banner: "What's Your Excuse?"
AdWeek reports that Kang has launched a site, NoExcuseMom.com, which is "a movement" and all about putting your health first:
Our goal is to encourage health, friendship and community. We believe strongly that health starts at home and begins with parents as a child's first role model. Most of all, we believe in the importance of prioritizing your personal health. Despite the stress, fatigue and chaos in a mom's day – we believe that you should make NO EXCUSES for not prioritizing your health.
As AdWeek's David Griner puts it:
While Kang's physique is definitely the center of attention, it's worth taking a look at the No Excuse Mom website, where women of all shapes and fitness levels are featured and celebrated. But given Kang's highly personal, often polarizing approach, the "What's your excuse?" approach is sure to continue garnering its share of blamers and believers alike.
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And indeed, the No Excuse Mom site seems fairly inspiring and helpful for women interested in getting into exercise or maintaining a fitness regime — with recipes, exercise tips and blog posts about diastasis recti and emotional eating.
But it's Kang — and her photo — that have caused an uproar. Labeling her body — dissecting her parts, really — might be done in a joking way, but also encourages the horrible tendency we have, in this society, to dissect women and judge their physique. As though the parts somehow make up the whole. (They do not.) It's not only a poor way to think about fitness — overall health should be the point — but it reinforces the idea that you can look at someone and tell what's going on with them, physically, which is just not true. (Kang thinks otherwise, and is wrong.)
Her photo also just, again, stirred up a shitstorm. On her Facebook page, critics are questioning whether or not this image was digitally altered, especially since her body seems… long. Kang has replied:
Actually, I do have a long torso and short legs. Hence, if this was photoshopped, I would've cut my thigh size.
Others have all kinds of quips and questions…
Who watches your 3 kids as you work out?
I wonder how many fitness enthusiasts that are men get constant comments about how they aren't spending enough time with their children. No one is more horrible to women than other women.
Speaking as a woman who does work out, I still don't look like that.
"Limited sleep" is not healthier than "doesn't exercise." I'd love it if we could move beyond the notion that we all must have it all to the detriment of ourselves.
Maria, I take no personal offense to your approach. Anyway, if you're going to motivate mom's, can you motivate dad's too? These hot mamma's deserve something hot to come home to, hm?
And this, which is very important:
She is only ever promoting what's on the outside, which bothers me tremendously as I have a little girl. Maybe it's not a big deal for her since she has three boys and an ex-Marine husband, but the message she sends with every photo can easily trigger women and girls to have eating disorders or body complex issues. And unfortunately it gives men the message that you should only respect a woman if she looks like this. Anyone who doesn't look like this is not trying hard enough [eyeroll... how dare any mom tell another mom she isn't trying hard enough or has "excuses"...that's just plain cruel]
It remains to be seen whether or not Kang has actually started a movement, and whether the website will flourish. But one thing Kang has succeeded in, time after time, again and again, is getting attention. So, congrats?