Fitness Magazine

What’s Your Excuse?

By Danceswithfat @danceswithfat

facepalmReader Annie sent me a link to a Facebook post by Maria Kang.  It seems Maria put some time and effort into looking like the cultural stereotype of beauty, then took a picture of herself wearing gym clothes with her three sons.

Ok, that’s fine, I’m glad that she is happy.

Then she put a caption on it…“What’s Your Excuse?”

Nooooooo. Nonononono.  This is not cool.

Just to recap, Maria decided to use her time, energy and money to try to make her body look a certain way and she happened to be successful at it while raising three boys.  Now she wants us to ask ourselves what our excuse is for not doing so.

How about this, I don’t need an excuse.  What’s your excuse for having such an unbelievably over exaggerated sense of self-importance that you actually think that everyone should aspire to the same things that you do?

Oh but it gets better.  Some people pointed out to her that her post was fat shaming and added to the unrealistic ideals that women face.  Her response (which she called an apology, which makes me think that she doesn’t actually know what that means)  was to talk about how hard weight loss was for her for oh so many reasons, then say

Obesity and those who struggle with health-related diseases is literally a ‘bigger’ [see what she did there - obese and bigger - Maria is a comic genius] issue than this photo. Maybe it’s time we stop tip-toeing around people’s feelings and get to the point.

And then repeated “So What’s Your Excuse?” because Maria is just too bad ass to respect people when they tell her that her actions are creating stigma and shame.

Also, I don’t know who the hell these people are who are trying to tip-toe around my feelings, but if she could point me in their direction that would be a refreshing change from the people who yell “HEY FAT BITCH” and throw eggs at me. Just saying.

She then created an FAQ page where the justification parade begins:

All the cool kids are doing it

I often saw posters of grandmothers running in marathons, paraplegics competing in the Olympics and even a father performing a pull up with three kids in tow – all with the same caption: “What’s your Excuse?

Yeah, these are problematic as well, especially if they are made about someone without their permission.  That grandmother might not want to be held up as an example, people with disabilities may not want to be used as teaching and motivational tools.  Also, just to review, nobody needs an excuse to not run in marathons, compete in the Olympics, do pull-ups with some kids hanging off of them, or anything else.

I didn’t mean it that way

This one is my favorite:

My intention was not to ask, “What’s your Excuse for not looking like me?” My intention was to imply, “What’s your Excuse for not exercising?” However you interpret the message is dependent on your emotional state when you read the caption.

First of all, maybe it’s time to deal with the fact that your intention is not working out.  Maybe it’s because you put a picture of yourself in a sports bra and boy shorts under the phrase “What’s Your Excuse?”.  Again, I’m for Maria, and anyone else, wearing whatever they want to wear.  But if people are telling you that your image is shaming to them and creates an unrealistic image (which may have to do with all the photoshopping of the image) then may I suggest that instead of speculating about their emotional state, you take some time to think about how all of this went wrong and why you might want to fix it.  Also did I mention that people don’t need excuses to not exercise?  Because they really don’t.

I didn’t mean it that way either

For those of you who have legitimate excuse then that’s your excuse! I’m not saying there isn’t one. I’m saying that for the majority of people out there who use multiple kids (or just one), a job, lack of time, lack of support – as an excuse, then maybe you can take my story and my image and use that as a source of inspiration.

Well thank you for your permission, but the premise is still bullshit. Nobody.  Needs.  An. Excuse.  We especially don’t need to worry about having a “legitimate” excuse. And, not for nothing, but I think you might find out that it’s cooler if you put your thoughts and story out there and let people choose you as their role model, rather than trying so hard to guilt/shame them into it.

One more time: nobody needs an excuse for making different choices than you, or for making the same choices but looking different. All bodies are amazing, there is no single body size or shape that represents actual beauty, fitness, health, or anything else.

Obviously this issue is bigger than Maria’s post – she is part of a much bigger problem wherein people get confused and think that their choices are THE choices and that if others want to make different choices they owe some kind justification.  Um, no.  People are allowed to choose to spend their time, energy and money trying to make their bodies look a specific way. What’s not cool is to suggest that everyone should want/have to do that.  What’s not cool is to suggest that if they can do it, anybody can, or should. What’s not cool is for those people to try to make their achievement feel more important by shaming people who make different choices, or who make the same choices but look different than they do.  What’s not cool is to ignore people who tell them that they are stigmatizing other people.  There’s just no excuse for that.
If you have some thoughts for Maria, you can find the image on her Facebook page here.

It’s Weight Stigma Awareness Week and BEDA has put together an awesome week of chats, blog posts, and contests (I’m a meme hunt!).  Check it all out here!

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