I hate myself for giving this image more exposure and drawing more attention than I think it deserves, but as a woman--and one dealing with her food and eating issues--I have strong feelings about this picture. I'm wondering what other women might be thinking and feeling, so please comment and let me know, even if you disagree with what I say here!
And before I go any farther, let me get the legal stuff out of the way...it looks like a Mike Byerly took the picture, Ms. Kang used it on a book she wrote and posted it on her Facebook page. I got the picture from Bing images. Thank you one and all! (I hope this suffices).
In the small amount of research I've done on Ms. King I've learned that she's a former pageant winner, a fitness competitor, (whatever that means) she may or may not have had an eating disorder at one time in her life and she's mom to three cute boys. Apparently, she posted this photo on FB over a year ago. I admit I hardly know anything about the woman, but here's what I get from this picture:
- she's very attractive
- she's a mom!
- she takes care of her physical health in fact, it seems to be a priority for her
Here's what else I got:
- she's better than I am
- she's stronger than I am
- she has better genes than I do
- she's more disciplined than I am
- she places a higher priority on fitness than I do
- she apparently doesn't share my love of ice cream
- I'll never look like her no matter what I do or how hard I work out
Here's what I think now: I don't care. I did at first, I admit. I was angry and frustrated because I thought, "Here we go again...another woman putting herself out there, trying to make the rest of us feel bad about ourselves because after all, she has three kids under the age of 4 and look at her! She's right! What's my excuse for being so fat and lazy?" I chastised her for holding herself up for other women to measure themselves against--a measurement most of us would certainly fail.
But then I thought, "So what?" So what if this woman works out like a fiend and looks how she does. So what? What has that got to do with anything, much less how I feel about myself and what's going on in my life? You know what? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
I went on FB and checked out her page. She has more pictures of herself in bikinis, etc. She also has a post on there that says our negative responses to her photo are just that--our's. She is not responsible for how the rest of the world interprets her picture and on that point I have to agree with her. She also says we need to "stop tip toeing around the (obesity) epidemic in this country and stop worrying about hurting people's feelings." On that point I disagree. It's not about disregarding people's feelings, it's about being more sensitive to them. I think someone with a history of ED would be more sensitive to this, but what do I know? Maybe she's still dealing with unresolved ED thoughts. Maybe she buys into the "diet mentality." If so, Maria Kang is no poster child I want hanging around my house. Her way works for her; it doesn't work for me, and that's fine.
I always tell my family and friends that one of my pet peeves about us women is that we don't take care of each other like I feel we should, (sorry, Jenn, if you're reading this!). I feel as women we should be more supportive of and nurturing with each other. I don't like to hear women tearing each other down. So, in an effort to practice what I preach, I'm not going to dog Ms. Kang for her choices. Instead, I'm going to forget I ever saw this picture, get on with my life and all that's important in my little world and live the life I want to live without caring so much about what other people think. So more power to ya, Maria Kang! And more power to me, too, because tonight after dinner, I allowed myself a piece of chocolate cake and I didn't feel guilty about it. That's part of my journey. Now, if I could just come up with a cool picture to demonstrate that...