One of my Facebook friends posted this picture of these two women.
I thought everything about this picture is interesting. Most importantly, the idea of fitness and discipline versus body acceptance. In this discussion they are made out to be two separate things, but as you (hopefully) understand, the two are not actually mutually exclusive and actually go great together.
But I have a few opinions about the general ideas behind the “what’s your excuse” discussion that this picture stirred up. More below.
BACK STORY: Maria Kang is a fitness blogger (I guess) who posted the picture above on her Facebook page in response to “constant body (fat) acceptance campaigns strewn all over the internet.” More specifically, the Curvy Girl lingerie campaign, that is FUCKING CUTE, by the way.
In her defense, she was thinking about the negative effects of obesity on a person, family, communities and even countries. Not so much in her defense, she feels the people with discipline should be the ones who get celebrated instead of the ones with ‘unhealthy’ sizes. I don’t know how to tell her this, but…society already does that. All the time. Okay?
Her picture evoked outrage in women who don’t look like she does, including the woman on the right who in response took this adorable picture of herself with her babies saying “my ‘excuse’ is that I’m okay with this.” There are loads more women who responded like that, some quite hilariously. I like their point.
First of all, I went to her webpage and Maria Kang seems like a nice enough person. If you read her articles, you can actually see someone who is striving to make herself but also the world healthier and happier. From what I gather, she is in the ‘fitness business’ and her motivation to speak out about fitness is that she lost her parents to health issues that could have been avoided with a healthier diet. Therefore I understand why she speaks the way she does. I don’t have anything bad to say about her as a person, even though I don’t completely agree with her philosophy or method.
If she wants to dedicate a part of her life to being fit and -it has to be said- looking spectacular for a 30-something year-old woman, she totally should. She looks healthy and happy. I bet she is a great motivation for some. Good for her.
I totally feel the one on the right too. It took me some investigating, but her name is Jule Ann and this is her reponse to Maria’s picture. I like her self acceptance and what she wrote is actually very kind and self reflective.
And in regards to that, there are a couple of points I would like to make on this subject.
First of all, YES I am FOR eating healthy and exercising. If it’s important to you and a way for you to take care of yourself and your body. I feel it should come from a place of self love and taking care of yourself. Again, if that’s what YOU want to do. Therefore I quite like fitness blogs and reading about exercise and healthy food.
But I personally dislike fitspo that goes “what’s your excuse” and “I do today what you won’t so that tomorrow I can do what you can’t” and “stop being so weak.” It’s very aggressively phrased, it contains an element of “I’m better than you because I exercise” and negative self-talk whilst implying anyone who doesn’t work out is ‘weak.’ But that’s just me. If it works for you, by all means.
More importantly, I don’t believe in body shaming, whether it’s fat shaming or thin shaming. Women should not be put down because of their size. Being thin is not some magical quality that makes one person better than the other, and the curvy girls should not make comments that ‘real men like curves’ and ‘sticks aren’t attractive’. Just, stahp it.
While health should absolutely be kept in mind, body acceptance is best. You can work from there so much easier than from a place of self-hatred. In my opinion thin girls looks gorgeous, but curvy girl are magnificent too and any size in between can be beautiful as well.
And size doesn’t always say EVERYTHING about how healthy someone is. On average, it might. But there are also thin, fit-looking women who are unhealthy (physically or mentally) and there are big(ger) women who have perfect cholesterol scores and who do pretty well in their spinning class.
Plus (size, haha), if a woman is happy with how she looks, who are you to tell her she’s not allowed to be?
Raining on the body acceptance parade will not make anyone happier. If you tell someone they’re not allowed to be happy with the way they look now, you’ll only make them unhappy. And most people who are unhappy are even less inclined to make healthy choices in diet and exercise in the future.
Therefore, logically I’m all for curvy girl lingerie, beautiful plus-size clothing, as little photoshop as possible and as much body acceptance as is necessary for everyone to be happy.
And what I’m saying is that if you’re happy with how you look and don’t feel that inclined to get (even) thinner or fitter, that’s fine. Good for you.
HOWEVER. (And now we’re taking it into the whole other direction…)
You DO want to train like a beast?
You want to eat a lot of weird-looking crap that is good for you? You want to not eat any normal looking crap that is a bad for you?
You want to be a go-hard-or-go-home kind of girl/boy?
You want to work out in all kinds of weather?
You want to track all your progress on all sorts of different devices?
You want to have epic, awe-inspiring goals in terms of fitness?
Because it makes you feel great, because it makes you look great naked, because it improves your self-esteem and your health, because it’s good for your skin, soul and sex life, because it helps you grow into the person you want to be, and because it’s just something you really want to do?!
THEN DO ALL OF THAT SHIT.
NOBODY is saying you that any of that isn’t okay to want or do. All of that is awesome and a constructive, fun thing to spend time and effort on. You go on with your bad self. Chances are you’ll feel and do great and inspire other people along the way. So to you I also say: Good for you.
What I’m trying to say is that the encouragement to work for health and fitness is great. But body acceptance and self love is also awesome. I sincerely hope the two coincide in most cases because that makes for happy, healthy people.
And the women who love fitness and the women who don’t can peacefully co-exist (if they stop with the back-and-forth.) because neither is better than the other. We all have different ideas and priorities, and that’s okay. We should celebrate each other and what these differences bring to the table.
Okay, enough of my opinions for the day. I’d love to hear yours, though. See you in the comments.