Have you seen it yet? The “What’s your excuse” photograph posted by Marie Kang; blogger, fitness advocate, former fitness instructor and mother of three boys under three years old.
After listening to the news reports, web searching, and reading the Facebook posts I felt it was my civil duty to contribute my opinion to the subject matter at hand so let us address the issues:
Women are feeling insulted and judged by the question.
Women are feeling accused as lazy for not being in shape.
Women are feeling bullied about body image.
These assessments are all valid “feelings” for people to have but my question is why do we become so threatened by a photograph that we feel the urge to berate and vilify other women. In Maria’s case she’s passionate about health so she wants to drive others toward success in what she believes to be important. Does she not deserve the right to post a positive message to her family, friends, followers and fans, because it is in fact positive. I understand without tone of voice it can be misread but if you look into her story you see her true meaning is to motivate. Now, I’m certainly not a man hater but if you’re looking for someone to lash out at why not try the Facebook group Memes For Men and their vile posts hashtagged #fatshamingweek. My sprightly reaction to the amount of backlash she’s receiving compelled me to write this at eleven o’clock on a Wednesday night because I may be wrong but I think we’re looking too far into the words on a picture. I will also add that she’s not the first to post something of this nature. Click the hashtag #whatsyourexcuse on Instagram or Google and you will find these photos.
What I want to say is now I bet you feel like an asshole for jumping on the hate wagon but I’ll be diplomatic and say now aren’t these types of photos inspiring! After listening to a few interviews of hers, internet stocking her nutrition and lifestyle website www.mariakang.com and trolling then choosing to follower her Instagram I unequivocally believe that her main purpose for this photo and all of the health and fitness material she posts are to motivate and propel us into reaching our hidden potential. That is not to say that I think you need to be ripped, slender, fit or any other of the oodles of euphemisms that there are out there for skinny so please do not misunderstand me. If you are fit hooray for your health, if you are not fit hooray for your taste buds. I post more food and desert photos and recipes on my Facebook than anyone I know, in fact I have a separate Instagram from my personal account dedicated just for food… and my point is I like to eat too. My take on the picture is that we need to own who we are. We need to own the decisions we make. We need to elect to not making excuses and just say what we mean. It’s only four words, I chose not to. If someone wants to harass, heckle and hound you about why you chose something, you let them. If they bother you then you let them know that you don’t have to explain yourself. This will drive those people absolutely bonkers but what do you care. You live your life, you make your own choices and you stop justifying yourself and making excuses. If we stop making excuses and stand behind what we do we wouldn’t be tearing this mom down for being who she is. Insecurity is an ugly thing. It makes you hate people you don’t even know.
A few virtuous words…
“Comparison is the thief of Joy.” -Theodore Roosevelt
“The jealous are troublesome to others, but a torment to themselves.” -William Penn
“Comparison is an act of violence against the self.” -Ivanla Vanzant
“Bigotry and judgment are the height of insecurity.” -Jasmine Guy
“A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.” -Robert A. Heinlein
“Don’t waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind.” -Mary Schmich
“Most bad behavior comes from insecurity.” -Debra Winger
“Jealousy… is a mental cancer.” -B. C. Forbes
“As iron is eaten away by rust, so the envious are consumed by hatred.”
“There is no greater glory than love, nor any great punishment than jealously.” -Lope de Vega
“It’s insecurity that is always chasing you and standing in the way of your dreams.” -Vin Diesel
“It’s a completely useless emotion – jealousy. I don’t go there.” -Joy Behar
For anyone struggling with insecurity, jealousy, low self-worth or low confidence: My girlfriends and I read So Long Insecurity by Beth Moore together and it’s a beneficial book for any woman to read. I’m proud of this post because it took me years to get to the point of seeing people that I wished I was before I could acknowledge them for the successes they have accomplished. I wish that every woman could be aware that years of working put into bettering yourself can be annihilated with one string of vicious words tied together. No one else is as worth your self-value.
I’m not perfect and I wish I had more muscle. Physically I’m weak and out of shape but this is me today and this is the body The Lord gave me. I make no excuses for it. People should not have to defend themselves from hate because of another’s insecurities.