Facebook’s “Hot Mom” is a hot topic again, as a photo posted by mother of three and fitness competitor Maria Kang is drawing a significant amount of negative feedback, despite being intended as a positive message.
Last September, Kang posted a photo to Facebook of herself in a workout bra and shorts, with her three kids, showing off her toned body, with the caption, “What’s your excuse?”
Kang said at the time that the photo and message were meant as encouragement, and not negative reinforcement, telling Yahoo Shine:
I wanted to inspire people. 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. 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.” I felt really frustrated. Being called a bad mother and a bad person definitely hurts.
Kang also wrote on her frequently asked comments page:
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. I won’t even mention how I didn’t give into cravings for ice cream, french fries, or chocolate while pregnant or use my growing belly as an excuse to be inactive.
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. You can either blame, complain, or obtain a new level of thought by challenging the negative words that come out of your own brain.
Kang was temporarily banned from Facebook for two days last November for posting the following response to a post about a Daily Mail article that featured plus-size women posing in lingerie:
While I think it’s important to love and accept your body, I was a little peeved because while I feel like it’s OK to love and accept your body, I think that we’re normalizing obesity in our society.
This time around, Kang posed without her kids, pointing out parts of her daily routine that could presumably be used by mothers as excuses for not working out, including:
- Works eight-plus-hour days.
- Limited sleep.
- No nanny or chef.
- Not a trainer, athlete, or fitness model.
- Gave birth to sons in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
Following the attention she received after the first photo, Kang and Ohio mother Lori Ann Hare teamed up to create the No Excuse Mom group, which launched in January, and the new photo was part of her efforts to promote the fitness movement.
Kang spoke with KSL.com about the reactions to her latest viral photo:
What’s interesting is when I create campaigns, I really don’t think it will go viral or create an uproar. This recent picture and my last picture were all beautiful images, in my mind. I knew they were powerful photos that made a strong statement, but I never think it’s going to create as much conversation as it does.
I think in order to raise a healthy child, you need to be a healthy parent. Children learn from example. I don’t have to wonder if unhealthy moms create negative effect in their children because studies have already proven it. A recent Stanford study last year noted that the biggest factor in increasing a child’s risk of being overweight is being raised by an obese parent.
It’s not easy. I know because I’m a mom also to three young boys. But their health is absolutely worth it, and the first thing they need to do is make a choice — make a choice that you will be healthy and begin prioritizing your life.
Kang also wrote on Instagram:
I don’t get it. #DrPhil and #jillianmichaels always say, “What’s your excuse?” In fact #thebiggestloser had a whole season based on “no excuses,” so why does a “nobody” like myself get underneath people’s skin? Is it because I’m not sponsored by #weightwatchers or #jennycraig ? Does my CAN DO ATTITUDE break people’s personal reality that being healthy can’t be done?
I posted this image on my FB page and people were offended (again). I’m not even selling ANYTHING. I’m promoting a #noexcusemom movement. I want moms to feel empowered, supported and motivated. I’m not trying to get rich, get sponsored and have people just gawk at my toned physique.
Readers: What are your thoughts on the reactions to Kang’s photos?