Over the weekend, CNN put fat-shamey exercise enthusiast Maria Kang — aka Fit Mom or "What's Your Excuse" mom — on the air with Chrystal Bougon, owner of Curvy Girl lingerie. Spoiler alert: Once again, Kang was terrible.
A little recap: In late November, Curvy Girl encouraged customers to share photos of themselves in lingerie. They were not models, not photoshopped, just "regular" women. The kind that live all over America. The kind you never see in ads. Last week on Facebook, Maria Kang was temporarily banned after she wrote that she was "annoyed" by news outlets covering the lingerie brand's actions and that it was "normalizing our unhealthy nation."
On CNN, Maria Kang said that she was "peeved" by the Curvy Girl images, "because that's not how real women look like or should look like." Wow. Judgy, party of one. "There's a fine line we're walking right now, as a nation, with the obesity crisis that we're in," she claimed. "For people who think that I'm a bully or a fat-shamer, I'm absolutely not. I'm on your side." I'm on your side. Even though she just declared that these women didn't look the way they should. Just like when she was on the Today show, Maria Kang is awful at explaining herself. She is not articulate. Her arguments are poorly formed. She doesn't even seem to realize that looking at someone and deeming them unhealthy based on their weight is fat-shaming. She's great at saying something and then backpedaling and saying something else that's in direct opposition to her earlier statement.
In a delightful twist, the CNN interview reveals that Curvy Girl lingerie's Chrystal Bougon was the one who reported Kang to Facebook, getting her temporarily banned. "You might be fat today, you might not be fat tomorrow," Bougon said, "but whatever you look like today, you get to look and feel as beautiful and as sexy as possible."
Maria went on to call herself "average" and "not a size zero," and said, "however your body manifests through good eating and exercise should be celebrated, whether it's a size 2 or a size 12." Then she said it was "great" that the obese women were loving themselves, "but I think you should love and accept and desire to progress yourself." How does she know these women aren't progressing themselves? And is a size 12 okay but a size 22 not okay? Maria Kang cannot grasp the concept that a woman's body is HER OWN to do with as she pleases. If she chooses to smoke, to drink, to have lots of sex, to have no sex, to exercise or to not exercise, that is her fucking business. A smattering of fat ladies in lingerie has zero to do with the so-called "obesity crisis" — which, by the by, many believe is a myth, and which others believe could be a global phenomenon unrelated to gluttony or willpower.
Chrystal Bougon correctly informed Maria Kang: "You cannot tell how healthy I am by looking at a photo of me." Maria agreed, yet insisted "there is a line we need to draw" and also said, "a lot of people can just tell that person is not healthy." She straight-up contradicted herself. And was erroneous! Because Maria Kang is not a doctor. And not even doctors can judge health from a photo. Maria Kang cannot tell if a skinny person has lung cancer or if a fat person runs 10 miles a week. Maria Kang has obviously not read about how many people who are significantly overweight are totally healthy. Still, her posts go viral and 245,000 people "like" Maria Kang on Facebook. Because whether or not America has an obesity crisis, America definitely has a fatphobia crisis.