Two years ago, "Fit Mom" made a lot of people mad by posting this post-baby photo, featuring toned abs, three young sons, and the caption, "What's your excuse?"
Out came the online bullies! Not only were they mad that she has an "unattainable" body... but they also decided, based on a single photo, that she is a "bad mom."
Recently, someone asked my thoughts on the whole ordeal. Here's my professional opinion.
First of all, this woman is a marketing genius. The immediate aftermath garnered 16 MILLION views of her photo on Facebook... And people are still talking about it two years later. Meanwhile:
What would have been 15 seconds of fame for anyone else turned into a book deal. The No More Excuses Diet has over 103 reviews on Amazon, and an average rating of 4.5 stars.
And -- omg! Look what else she made:
Isn't that way too cool? Whoever said moms can't be sexy?
So, in short, she’s a gorgeous, fit, and strong woman, and she’s raising three kids, and she's a marketing genius. That is awesome! and there’s no reason for her to apologize for fauxfending so many people.
She's done nothing wrong. If you found her photo hurtful or insulting, it’s because you have a problem, not because she does.
Maybe it’s because you’re a self-handicapper, and her photo threatens your ego.
This is a plausible explanation. After all, According to Psychology, There Are Four Ways to Feel Better About Yourself. One of which is self-handicapping:
Self-handicapping, to put it simply, is when you sabotage yourself so that you feel better about the outcome.
For example. I've got a big test coming up. If I study for the test and I do badly on it, it hurts my ego. It threatens my identity as a smart person. I worked so hard on something, and I still failed.
That way, you either do badly on the test --- but like, obvi! Right? Because you didn't study?
Or. You do well on the test, anyway, and then you feel especially good about yourself. Everyone else had to study to do as well as (or worse than) you. Read more >
Now, there is something to be said for self-handicapping. Done correctly, it's a great way to relieve stress and unleash your creativity. But more often than not, it's abused. According to famous business professorJeffrey Pfeffer, author of Power: Why Some People Have it and Others Don't, one of the top three reasons people fail to achieve success and power... is because of self-handicapping.
Their fragile ego can't handle the thought of failure, so they invent excuses not to try. And then they never get anywhere.
But this isn't just true for business. Some people invent excuses not to have the body they want, rather than risk trying and failing. Which helps explain why Maria Kang rubbed so many online bullies the wrong way.
Maybe you’re a sexist jerk.
Ever noticed how it’s totally awesome and manly when a man has confidence… but when a woman is confident, especially about her looks, everyone calls her a bitch?
Consider this story, from Dove Wants Women to #ChooseBeautiful. Men Want Women to #ChooseAverage:
In 2014, a woman named Gweneth Bateman was having a problem online. When guys messaged her with a compliment and she didn't reply, they'd lash out -- usually with something along the lines of, "You should be grateful for my compliment!" And often ending with words like "rude" and "bitch." (Sounds kind of like a cat caller, no?)
So she and some other women decided to try something. Whenever a guy messaged them with a compliment, they would agree and accept the compliment.
Here's what happened:
If you’ve seriously got your little (or, perhaps, extra large) panties in a bunch because a woman had the nerve to call herself beautiful, are you seriously any different than gross, sexist trolls on the internet?
No, seriously. Are you?
Maybe it’s because you’re always looking for something to be fauxfended by.
If you’re seriously upset about a picture of some woman you don’t even know… it says more about you than it does about her. And it might be worth turning your life around. You could be driving your friends and family away. Nobody likes a wet blanket.
After all, as I wrote in Saying You "Went to School in Boston" Isn't Modest. It's Condescending,
I suppose there’s a tiny chance that the person you’re talking to will truly be "triggered" when you say the S-word or the H-word. And if they do, they should be talking to their therapist -- not you...
Those people are probably not worth your time. Do you really have the bandwidth to constantly prop up someone else's ego? Do you really want to be friends with someone who requires you to censor yourself? Read more >
If your whole identity is threatened because -- I'll say it again! -- a woman you don't know posted a photo of her abs and expressed an opinion on the internet… you need to develop your resilience, coping skills, and sense of self. You need a hobby or job or something in your life that you’re proud of.
When you feel proud of yourself and your accomplishments, you'll stop worrying so much what others are doing.
Whatever your reason, jealously just looks really ugly on you.
It makes you look petty and insecure.
But me? I'm not jealous. And, sure, I'm "conventionally pretty" (fun fact: if you use the phrase "conventionally pretty" to dismiss a woman's opinion as meaningless, you're being a sexist, narrow-minded assole who reduces women to their appearance, rather than their knowledge, education, and experiences), so I don't really have anything to be jealous of. That's true.
But what else is true is that I admire Maria Kang. She’s found a way to do what so many moms struggle with: find time to exercise while raising kids.
And I think it’s awesome that she’s sharing her secrets online.
If I were a mom, I’d want to be just like her. I'd be happy to know there are other women out there, doing roughy what I want to be doing. With kids, I probably wouldn’t make it to the rock wall as much as I’d like… but that doesn’t mean I can’t work in a couple sets of chin-ups at the playground to keep my climbing muscles strong.
I might not make it to pickup basketball as often as I used to — but I can still do sprints or practice ball handling or shooting skills while my kids are on the swings.
It might be easy to flop down on the couch after an exhausting day with the kids… but, for me, it’s always been so much more energizing to hop on the mountain bike, even if only for 30–40 minutes, than it is to nap. And! It’s even possible to bike with babies, as evidenced by #Arastraduke's Instagram:
I am of the staunch opinion that if dads can do it, moms can, too. Having kids doesn't mean I can't keep doing what I love.
Maria Kang is a master of both self-control and mindfulness, and I’m glad she’s sharing her inspirational story online.
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About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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