Maria Kang, a very fit mom of three, is accused of "fit-shaming" women in a Facebook photo she shared, and now refuses to apologize for.
The 32-year-old fitness enthusiast and former beauty queen shared this image of herself in a workout bra and short shorts, flaunting her toned body:
Alongside her? Kang's three sons, ages 3 years, 2 years, and 8 months, with the caption: "What's Your Excuse?" Just motivating others, right?
Depends who you ask. The picture sparked a comment war, with many of 12,000 (!) responses accusing her of fat-shaming, a charge Kang denies.
After she responded with what she calls a "non-apology," the debate escalated. How did she address some of the criticism she received? Read on ...
"I'm sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way," she wrote.
"I won't go into details that I struggled with my genetics, had an eating disorder, work full time owning two businesses, have no nanny, am not naturally skinny and do not work as a personal trainer."
"What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It's yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head."
"I didn't create them. You created them. So if you want to continue 'hating' this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life."
Kang's point is that mom who don't work out are lazy and fat, but that you can and should make fitness a part of your life even when you're a busy mom.
If you saw that photo of her and felt bad about yourself, too bad.
One can understand, up to a point, why someone who doesn't look like Maria would react in an intense, even negative way to the image she posted.
Perspectives are skewed by own unique challenges, and enhanced by our own insecurities. Maybe some felt she was bragging or showing off, too.
It doesn't mean she was "shaming" anyone else here, however. Nor was she going on other people's Facebook pages and writing hateful comments.
Perhaps Kang's approach was the issue, not her intent.
What if she wrote "What's your motivation?" Instead of "What's your excuse?" Or been more sympathetic and less defensive in her reply? Would it be different?
Share your comments on this interesting debate with us below.
Is Maria Kang fat-shaming women with this photo?