By Jane Smith
It’s the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and I hope you’ve fully emerged from your respective food comas. I’m still trying, so I think I’ll go make myself another cup of coffee. You know, as I’m brewing, the smell of this liquid gold reminds me of something I saw Monday morning, when I was more asleep than awake.
I came across the following article on Jezebel while enjoying my first cup o’ Joe yesterday.
As you can imagine, I rolled my eyes pretty hard and deep upon reading the above headline. I’m no medical doctor, but I’m pretty sure you can’t tell what’s going on with most people’s health just by looking at them. Additionally, I was familiar with Maria Kang because I’d seen that now infamous picture when it first went viral.
I was on Kang’s side at first. I don’t disagree with the statement she’s making in the above image. If you’re out of shape, there’s a reason (i.e. excuse). Most people eat too much and exercise too little, others have medical conditions that make it impossible to lose weight and still others prefer a more ample shape, regardless of social norms.
There’s nothing wrong with opting out of working out. I would never judge someone on that if they owned it. Conversely, if you’re going to “opt out” and stuff your face, kindly shut the fuck up about how you can’t lose weight. No one wants to hear your denial song. This is why, when I first saw Kang’s image asking, “What’s your excuse,” I didn’t see it as fat shaming. I saw it as real talk and if anyone can appreciate real talk, it would be me.
So then, if Kang’s question is, “what’s your excuse?” The proper response would be, “unless I’m outright asking you for advice, fuck off about my body.” Can we all agree on that? None of us wants unsolicited advice on how to best manage our weight, right? I suppose what Maria Kang is failing to recognize, is that she sounds like the fitness equivalent of a religious fanatic whenever she opens her mouth.
Instinct makes me want to hate on someone that comes across like a nitwit, healthy-lifestyle blogger, but then I become the problem and this becomes a dream within a dream and we implode into silence and infinity…
But I digress.
To put it bluntly, Kang doesn’t understand that she’s being a bit of an asshole. In her world, a healthy and fit body is the ideal—the goal. What she can’t comprehend, is that a healthy and fit body isn’t everyone else’s goal too. Furthermore, why does it matter what someone else’s personal fitness goals are?
Recently, I came across another article somewhere that detailed Kang’s banning from Facebook. I learned that she had been banned for stating that she thought telling fat people they looked good, was detrimental to American health and culture or something along those lines. I don’t agree with her underlying sentiment, but that doesn't mean I agree with the banning. Censorship is pretty whack if you ask me. After all, Kang posted her opinion on her own page and wasn't bullying anyone.
Fortunately, after a short while, Facebook restored Kang’s page. They said the whole thing was a mistake. The folks at FB even apologized publicly for the mishap. What they failed to do, however, was restore the offending post.
When I saw this, I did as I do with most things and I took to social media to vent. I’d followed this from the beginning. I shared the original offending image. The post I shared, though, came from a women’s rights group. They were offended by Kang’s image, but I wasn’t. I stated in my status update that I agreed with her.
It all comes down to logic for me; if you’re out of shape, there’s a reason. If you’re looking to change that aspect of your physical appearance you may wan to try changing your eating and exercise habits. Don’t’ make excuses. You’ll only hold yourself back and delay the process if you make excuses. I get all that and this is why I could accept Kang’s picture and not want to claw her eyes out for posting it.
The crazy part is that the original image motivated me to get my butt to the gym that day. The picture turned out to be an effective motivational meme. That’s why I initially agreed with Kang.
Coincidentally, I’d also recently seen another image of a woman that looked borderline morbidly obese, in lingerie (unrelated to Curvy Girl Lingerie). This other photo popped up in my Facebook feed because I follow the women’s rights organization that posted it. The caption accompanying it insinuated something about real women having curves like the woman in the picture.
Believe it or not, that image offended me. It angered me to be told, yet again, that I had to look like something other than my natural self to be considered real, good or even beautiful. What it comes down to is this:
It doesn’t matter what body type you are telling me I should aspire to, you’re wrong and I’ve already told you why. “Unless I’m outright asking you for advice, fuck off about my body.”