When Maria Kang, a 32-year-old mom of three, posted a professionally taken picture of herself and her children on her Facebook page last year, she had no idea that a year later she would find herself at the center of the latest internet outrage-fest, after her photo somehow went viral.
The original photo (below) showed a smiling Kang clad only in sports bra and workout shorts, appearing slim and toned, with particularly good definition in her abs. She headlined the photo, “What’s your excuse?”
But once the photo began circulating on the internet many took it to mean that the Sacramento, Calif., mom was telling other mothers, whose bodies may not appear quite as ripped as hers after bearing three children, that they should be ashamed of themselves.
“You are part of the body shaming problem that is going on in North America and other parts of the world,” said one commenter.
“You are a bully with a super inflated sense of your own self,” declared another.
“Those precious little things [i.e. the kids] need their mommy more than they need you to have glamour muscles,” sniped yet another.
More commenters deemed Kang “obnoxious” and “self-righteous,” accusing her of faking the picture, being a bad mother or saying that she must not have a job, which gives her the time to work out excessively.
Kang is now responding to the attackers, saying none of that is true. She does work, in fact, she is a businesswoman who owns two elderly-care facilities. She does not have a nanny. She exercises only 30-60 minutes per day.
And she does not claim to be perfect.
In a Facebook update that accompanied the picture at right, Kang wrote, “I have stretchmarks. I have excess skin. I get depressed. I'm often overwhelmed and I'm not always motivated to eat healthy and exercise. But, I do it. I may splurge on chocolate or miss a workout - but I never stop, I never quit, and I never stop striving. I am a real mom, with real obligations and this is a real picture of me - excess skin and all - saying YOU are beautiful.”
Responding to the accusation that by posting her original photo she was “body shaming” women who look differently than she does, Kang, a recovering bulimic, said that he actual intention was to inspire people to exercise.
“I wanted to say, ‘I know you think you don’t have time if you have kids. But if I can do it, you can do it, too,’” she told Yahoo! Shine.
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A TV interview with Kang is viewable by scrolling down to the end of this article.