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Click “Read More” to see the rest of the comic!
Warning: LOTS and LOTS of swear words coming up. You’ve been warned.
Now let’s get down to business.
There’s already been a ton written about super-fit mom-of-three Maria Kang. If you haven’t been living on the internet recently, you can read a decent summary over here. I understand her intentions weren’t to shame people, and I think her accomplishment is amazing. I even think it’s a great thing to set as a goal and pursue, if that’s what you’re into.
HOWEVER. (Let’s pause before the following paragraphs to put a big ol’ “IMO” in front of everything I’m about to say.)
Using “What’s your excuse?” is a inflammatory, snarky, highly privileged and damn insensitive way for her to brag about her body, whether she means it that way or not. Imagine if this phrase were being used in other contexts — say, c-section versus vaginal birth. Is it really appropriate for natural birth moms to ask c-section moms what their “excuse” was for having a c-section? Fuck no, its not. Ditto for breastfeeding v. formula, earning a good salary v. earning minimum wage, never having needed government assistance v. living on welfare. I’m sorry, but NOT EVERYONE’S LIFE IS THE SAME AS YOURS. You don’t know what’s going on with them; this is *not* your chance to shine as the enlightened city on a hill of fitness/birth/breastfeeding/employment/welfare, etc.
Asking “What’s your excuse?” as a general question instead of directing it at a specific person/group doesn’t make it much better. I mean, let’s be real about this for a second — if you’re someone who struggles with body image and/or eating disorders, this is going to be some triggering shit for you. As someone who *has* recovered from bulimia and trying really hard to learn to love her body, this is HUGELY triggering for me. Even though she’s not addressing me directly, that whole “YOUR” part really makes it seem like she is. Which then sends me down a whole bunch of nasty thought pathways — shit like “See, if I wasn’t so inadequate and just worked hard enough, I could be like her!” The entire appearance industry is based around feeding us poisonous gems like that — as long as we buy in, we will be able to appear among the desirable elite.
Which gets me to the crux of the issue — who the fuck is she (or anyone else) to say that looking other than she does is something to make excuses for?? There’s a lot of different types of bodies out there; as the wise Sir Mix-a-Lot once said, “You ain’t it, Miss Thang.” And to contribute to the propaganda that anyone need make their body fit a certain aesthetic in order to not have to apologize/make excuses for it? I’m sorry, but when you do that, you deserve to be called out.
Quite frankly, if you’re alive and capable of doing what you need to do to live, then your body is fucking perfect, just the way it is. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fitness goals, or find her athletic look attractive, or prefer one body type over another. Personally, I would love to live in a world where we all had glorious flat abs and perky asses - it would make clothing swaps so much easier! But asking “What’s your excuse?” implies that my pale-as-fuck, big-assed, big breasted, more-belly-than-I’d-like, and able-to-run-a-5K-without-dying body is somehow *less* than her svelte muscle-icious form. And I am fully comfortable in saying Fuck That Noise.
To sum up, I know she wasn’t trying to say any of the negative things implied by this image when she made it — hell, considering we’re still talking about it, it’s worked out to be some fucking brilliant marketing — but there are lots of other ways she could have celebrated her fitness achievements without stepping all over other people’s struggles. I’m thinking a variation on the Mastercard commercial:
"One wedding: $15,000.
Three babies in four years: 968,254,348 Minutes of Lost Sleep.
Finally being able to do a double-under and feeling great at 35: Priceless.”
Too bad she didn’t go with that.
I don’t know why “1200” managed to be the magic number of calories women should consume if they want to lose weight. I don’t even know how I know of this number. Only that I know it, and my friends know it …
Damn. I wish I had a time machine to go back and slap my 14-year-old self with this stone-cold truth.
Be Beautiful: How 30 Days Nearly Naked Changed My Life
Submitted by Guest Blogger, Artist, Educator, Activist Denise Jolly
[In this image there is a blue sky and blurred light brown field in the background. There is a white woman with a chubby face she is grinning with a closed mouth….
Here are ten powerful body affirmations to help young women to stay strong and love their bodies in spite of all the insidious messages to the contrary.
Maybe a new one every week for my mirror :)
1. Saying Things Like, “She Would Be So Pretty If…”
Have you ever uttered anything along the lines of, “But she has such a gorgeous face” or “She would be more beautiful if she put on a few pounds?” You are limiting your idea of beauty to a cultural stereotype. Beauty is not conditional. If you can’t say anything nice, maybe it’s time to learn how.
2. Judging Other People’s Clothes
While it’s fine for you to choose clothes any way you want, nobody else is required to adhere to your style.The person wearing that outfit is, in fact, pulling it off, even if you think she’s too flat chested, big chested, short, tall, fat or thin. And fat people don’t have to confine themselves to dark colors and vertical stripes, no matter who prefers it. And spandex? It’s a right, not a privilege.
3. Making It an ‘Us vs. Them’ Thing
The phrase “Real Women Have Curves” is highly problematic. Developed as a response to the tremendous body shaming that fat women face, it still amounts to doing the same thing in the opposite direction. The road to high self-esteem is probably not paved with hypocrisy. Equally problematic is the phrase “boyish figure” as if a lack of curves makes us somehow less womanly. The idea that there is only so much beauty, only so much self-esteem to go around is a lie. Real women come in all shapes and sizes, no curves required.
4. Avoiding the Word “Fat”
Dancing around the word fat is an insinuation that it’s so horrible that it can’t even be said. The only thing worse than calling fat people “big boned” or “fluffy” is using euphemisms that suggest body size indicates the state of our health or whether we take care of ourselves. As part of a resolution to end body shaming, try nixing phrases like “she looks healthy,” or “she looks like she is taking care of herself,” and “she looks like she is starving” when what you actually mean is a woman is thin.
5. Making Up Body Parts
We could all lead very full lives if we never heard the words cankles, muffin top, apple shaped, pear shaped or apple butt ever again. We are not food.
6. Congratulating People for Losing Weight
You don’t know a person’s circumstances. Maybe she lost weight because of an illness. You also don’t know if she’ll gain the weight back (about 95 percent of people do), in which case earlier praise might feel like criticism. If someone points out that a person has lost weight, consider adding something like, “You’ve always been beautiful. I’m happy if you are happy.” But if a person doesn’t mention her weight loss, then you shouldn’t mention it either. Think of something else you can compliment.
7. Using Pretend Compliments
“You’re really brave to wear that.” By the way, wearing a sleeveless top or bikini does not take bravery. “You’re not fat, you’re beautiful.” These things are not mutually exclusive — a person can be fat and beautiful. “You can afford to eat that, you’re thin.” You don’t know if someone has an eating disorder or something else; there is no need to comment on someone’s body or food intake. “You’re not that fat” or “You’re not fat, you workout,” need to be struck from your vocabulary. Suggesting that looking fat is a bad thing is also insulting, so also out the door are, “Does this make me look fat?” and “I look so fat!” when you are a size 2.
8. Thinking of Women as Baby-Making Machines
One of my readers mentioned that her gynecologist called her “good breeding stock.” Also awful: “baby making hips.” Worst of all is when people ask fat people when they are due. As has famously been said, unless you can see the baby crowning, do not assume that someone is pregnant.
9. Sticking Your Nose in Other People’s Exercise Routines
A subtle form of body shaming occurs when people make assumptions or suggestions about someone’s exercise habits based on their size. Don’t ask a fat person, “Have you tried walking?” Don’t tell a thin person, “You must spend all day in the gym.” I have had people at the gym congratulate me for starting a workout program when, in fact, I started working out at age 12 and never stopped. I had a thin friend who started a weight-lifting program and someone said to her, “Be careful, you don’t want to bulk up.” How about not completely over-stepping your boundaries and being rude and inappropriate?
10. Playing Dietitian
If you have no idea how much a person eats or exercises, you shouldn’t tell her to eat less and move more or suggest she put more meat on her bones. (Even if you do know what she eats, don’t do it). How do you know she’s looking for nutritional advice from you or the newest weight-loss tip you saw on Dr. Oz?
(taken from here)
…with how awesome you are :D
Why hurt anyone? Let’s get some more namaste up in here, people.