They are calling her a fat shamer, flaunting her unrealistic post-baby body. She personifies the media-propelled perception that one must lose that baby weight and aspire to MILF'dom. If she can do it - you should too. Is this the message we are sending to the mothers of the world? Is this the image we want for our daughters?Have you read about the controversal "Hot Mom" who has gone viral on Facebook? Maria Kang's year-old photo has women across the web with their knickers in a twist, some calling her names and some singing her praises. My favorite comment is featured in Beth Greenfield's blog post profiling the attention Mrs. Kang's photo is receiving:
Really??? I want to issue that woman an "improper use of the internet" ticket. Maria didn't sneak into that woman's newsfeed and comment on her photo with "Hey! Hey sick lady. If you don't look like me, you are lazy! I am so much better than you." Since she shared the picture, and her non-apology, the comments (both positive and negative) have intensified. For all the talk about how much pressure is on women to look perfect, they are the most vicious when it comes to judging each other.
“Not that I *NEED* an excuse for not working out, but here's mine you self-righteous idiot … fibromyalgia.”
“There's a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.” - Sheryl Sandberg
I will agree that there is a lot of cultural pressure on moms to get fit immediately following delivery. It isn't enough to be thin anymore - new moms are encouraged to be toned soon after. The message is clear on magazine covers, celebrity mothers are competing with each other to drop the baby weight faster than the last one. I don't like it and I encourage my friends with new babies to tune out those messages.
*Stands on soapbox* When I was in high school (OMG! I really just said that!) Brittney Spears was the picture of teenage perfection and she didn't have washboard abs and that was okay. Over the years she has changed shape so many times and judged for it at every turn. Now, as a mother of two, she is under pressure to get back her "Slave for U" body. She works hard for her figure and no one says she is fat-shaming people by posting photos of herself on Instagram.
I am not holding her up as a role model, my point is that at different points in our lives we all have different fitness goals. What gives other women the right to be cruel?
Consider this: The internet is great way to hide behind our own insecurities and tear each other women down for being proud of our accomplishments. Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook), in her book Lean In, talks about a study in 2003 - Columbia Business School professor Frank Flynn and New York University professor Cameron Anderson ran an experiment using a case study based on a real-life entrepreneur. To test perceptions of men and women in the workplace they interchanged the name Heidi and Howard when describing how Heidi/Howard became a successful venture capitalist.
Interesting fact: She was quoted on E!Online recently saying she is doing high intensity workouts similar to Bodyrock.tv
Professors Flynn and Anderson then polled the students about their impressions of Heidi or Howard. The students rated Heidi and Howard as equally competent, which made sense since “their” accomplishments were completely identical. Yet while students respected both Heidi and Howard, Howard came across as a more appealing colleague. Heidi, on the other hand, was often seen as selfish and not “the type of person you would want to hire or work for.” The same data with a single difference – gender – created vastly different impressions. This experiment supports what research has already clearly shown: success and likeability are positively correlated for men and negatively correlated for women. When a man is successful, he is liked by both men and women. When a woman is successful, people of both genders like her less." - Sheryl SandbergConsider this also: We were told to "super-size" our food and a lot of us did. We were also told to embrace all shapes and sizes and a lot of us did. Designers hired plus sized models and dedicated entire stores to the super-sized human. Somewhere around 2007 we hit a wall. Newspapers, television reports, celebrity chefs and even the first lady made us aware of the obesity epidemic. Fat would surely kill us, our parents and our kids if we didn't take action...and in that time Britney became a mom and got "fat" too. It makes sense that the pendulum has now swung in the other direction. People are most often reactive, not proactive. Diet companies are making money off our fear with new elimination and detox diets. We stampede to join crossfit Gyms, extreme themed foot races, Yoga and Zumba classes; there are more triathletes than another time in history. Suburban moms, in trendy yoga pants, cut carbs and juice. Being more than the mom next to you is "in" so we silently compete with ourselves and one another. The pendulum has indeed swung in the opposite extreme and eventually I expect it will normalize. You know what I find most interesting about Maria Kang? She doesn't care about your workout or comparing bodies. Passionate about fitness, she sets goals and accomplishes them. Maria runs an organization that promotes healthy lifestyles and health education for children. She isn't Mother Teresa but she cares about the health of other people's kids. She is proud of her body and the message she wants it to send to those around her. Remember, healthy means something different to everyone (moms too)...and those negative comments people left on her photo say a hell of a lot more about the insecurities of the people who wrote them than they do about her.
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