Feminist watch words that one would think would apply to every one and every choice a person could make, after all equality, but for some reason that is not the case at all.
Take the furor over “Fit Mom”, Maria Kang, who posted a photo saying “what’s your excuse” last year and showcased her incredibly fit body as well as the fact that she had 3 children between the ages of 8 months and 3 years. Feminists lost their minds over the “fat-shaming” of this photo, but I see no such thing.
Here’s the thing. I have an excuse and it’s one I’m perfectly happy with. I like sugary drinks and baked goods a lot more than I like going to the gym. I am, never-the-less, fairly happy with my body as it is and seeing someone like Maria Kang who is fit after having 3 kids is not damaging to my self esteem in the slightest.
In fact, she is mildly inspiring, because if she can do it so can I…if I choose too.
I fail to see the reasoning behind acting as if her success (and her encouragement that others can do the same, if they so choose) is “fat-shaming” anymore than a picture like this one is “age-shaming” or anything else.
So maybe you have an excuse, maybe you don’t, maybe you just don’t give a flying flip about weight loss or exercise, maybe (like me) you just like cookies and wine and staying indoors when it’s 110 outside. That’s your business, but Maria Kang isn’t saying you have to look like her or that you have to hit the gym, only that (generally speaking) she won’t except your pointless excuses when you whine about how you “really want to lose weight, but [x] thing keeps stopping me” because if she can look that way only 8 months after giving birth, well I’m pretty sure you can manage your fitness too if you actually really wanted to.
If you don’t really want to, then why do you care what she says or how she looks? If you were really happy with the way you looked then you wouldn’t care one bit what she said, how she looks, or whether or not she’s judging your fitness and weight.
And there-in lies the real issue.
For all the “body acceptance” and “no judgment” you preach, you actually haven’t accepted and aren’t happy with your own choices, body, or life. I have accepted my body is as it is for the time being and if Maria Kang walked up to me today and called me a slob who needed some serious cardio, I would laugh at her and say “thanks for the advice, would you like a slice of this cake I just baked? It’s fabulous.” but you would cry and scream about how she’s too judgmental and she needs to be more sensitive to others and how she’s destroying your body image and she’s going to make you turn into an anorexic.
That’s a you problem, not a her problem. That’s an issue of you not accepting your body and you not knowing how to get to where you want to be or not wanting to put in the work.
Take this woman who Jezebel is saying is the “anti-fit mom”.
Before having children, Taryn Brumfitt was a super jacked/svelte body builder. After giving birth changed her body though, her self esteem did too.
Brumfitt considered getting a tummy tuck and a boob job, until she asked herself how she could teach her daughter to love her own body if Brumfitt couldn’t love her own.
So she’s gone all in—posting the above Before and After photo on Facebook, which is a brilliant inversion of what we consider to be desirable bodies, and a powerful rebuke to Fit Mom. She has also taken to kickstarter to raise money for a documentary that examines why it’s so hard for women have good body image.
I get it, motherhood and pregnancy take a huge toll on your body. What’s more, some women bounce back much faster than others and both body type and age play a factor in that.
However my real issue is that Taryn Brumfitt knew exactly how to get back to that pre-pregnancy shape, it’s not like she sleep-exercised her way to that body in the “before” picture after all. After pregnancy, for whatever reason, instead of taking the healthy and sane trek back to having that body she wanted a tummy tuck and a boob job. I’m not saying she needs to get back into that pre-pregnancy body, but it would be possible to do so without surgical procedures if she really wanted to. It would take time and work, but it can be done.
That’s a hell of a body image issue, to think you need plastic surgery after pregnancy, but it’s also the really silly way to get back in shape. A bunch of plastic surgery doesn’t make you healthy, it just makes your body appear to be back in it’s svelte pre-baby condition a lot faster than exercise would do.
Why not take the slow, but reasonable and less fraught body dysmorphia issues, path back to that body? I’m sure she has her reasons (her excuses) and that’s fine, but that’s not Maria Kang’s fault and Kang was not saying “what’s your excuse for not getting plastic surgery so your body can fit the societal standards of beauty” but “what’s your excuse for not getting in shape again? Oh it’s cold in the morning and you stayed up late? That’s cute. I had three children and I still manage it, you can too.”
It seems to me, and correct me if I’m wrong, that your problem is less that you feel your being “shamed” and more to do with jealousy (and maybe a wee pinch of laziness) that your body doesn’t look like Maria Kang’s and it would take quite a bit of work to get there as well.
I mean, how is that fair? Why can’t these gym bunnies just redistribute some of their weight loss anyway huh?
Either get on with that body acceptance thing you are always touting (and stop angsting and getting angry at those who have succeeding in getting their bodies to the shape they want it) or get out there, hit the gym for half an hour a day or find a good exercise video, and do something about your body to get it to where you want it to be.
Stop trying to tell other people that they don’t have the right to celebrate their own body or offer advice on how to do what they did. It’s not acceptance if the only people you accept are the ones that make you feel good about yourself, just a tip.