Apparently, Maria Kang hasn’t gotten enough attention lately, so she has decided to stir the pot again. In an opinion piece that she did for the Time, Maria decided to continue on with her shaming of overweight and obese people. Saying things like, “Will a “real woman” please stand up? In the age of Photoshop, plastic surgery and celebrity idolatry, it seems women are constantly debating what is considered a ‘real’ woman. And, as I found out recently when I posted a picture of myself looking fit and healthy in workout clothes with my three sons (playfully asking the question ‘What’s your excuse?’), apparently I don’t count.” Or, “Constant campaigns promoting self-acceptance and embracing one’s curves are placing the psychological need for a positive body image ahead of health.” Or, “So, let’s set the record straight. There’s the normal, overweight woman. There’s the photoshopped fake woman — and then there’s an array of real women.” Well, here‘s what I felt compelled to say on her Facebook page:
If you want to have your opinion count as a “real woman”, then perhaps you need to stop shaming other “real women” just to make a name for yourself. When your “playful” little picture came out, I felt horrible about myself, my body, and my past (or, as you would call it, my excuses) for days. Your attitude does real harm to the self esteem of people. Your idea of playfulness is the same as any bully on a playground or any emotionally abusive friend, relative, or significant other. You know that this kind of attitude can harm a person’s emotional well-being and, yet, you continue to shame people over their appearances.
Perhaps you should do some research into why people have problems with their weight. Perhaps you should learn that people who have weight problems are often people who have histories of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse. Perhaps you should learn that they are often people who have been bullied, suffer from depression, and are at greater risk for suicide. Maybe if you did that research and learned those facts, you would step off your bully pulpit and realize the actual harm that YOUR words are creating.
You want people to lose weight? Great. Why not be a positive influence? Why continue to stir the pot? Why not try to help people feel better about themselves and feel more empowered, instead of tearing them down? If you want to promote fitness, promote fitness, but do not tear another human being down in the process. Don’t continue to be rude. You can promote fitness and healthy weights and all of that without hurting other people in the process, but you choose not to and that is something that is really disturbing to me.
I have no problem with people who are fit, as long as they don’t promote an attitude of hatred, intolerance, and ignorance towards those who are not. There are people out there who are fit who manage to promote fitness without coming off as dismissive and rude. Maria Kang is not one of those people. She seems to be out to make a name for herself as the biggest bully on the playground, and I am so sick of that. If I wanted to be exposed to people’s hateful remarks about my body, then maybe I would just go hang out with some of my relatives or go to a mall or a store or any number of public places where it is very easy to encounter people who body-shame others.
Maria Kang’s words may be meant to inspire people into losing weight and improving their lives, but every time that I see them, I feel the need to go stuff my face full of food. Her “helpful” and “motivational” words make me remember just how much I hate myself, my body, and to remember the things that have led me to the place that I’m at today. I would love to be skinny and fit the societal ideal of beauty, which is not one that includes the overweight or obese, but that’s not the case right now. And every time that some person is given the chance to continue to tease people based upon their waist size, I feel like they aren’t helping, but hurting.
Is it her fault that I cry or overeat after seeing those words? No. It is her fault that she said them. And she needs to realize that what she is doing is not going to inspire a lot of people, but will, in fact, hurt them. I would love if the media would step away from giving her more opportunities to be in the limelight. She’s the kind of person that if you ignore their bullying, then eventually they will go away. Unfortunately, they keep promoting her and allowing her to make these statements, and they are enabling her abuse.
And it isn’t just her. There are stories on the news about obesity that can inadvertently harm people’s self-esteem. And by doing that, they can end up causing both physical and mental health issues for the people who view them. Yes, it is important for the world to know that being obese can kill you. It is also important for every person to feel valued and worthy of love and respect. Every time that we promote this bashing of individuals, though, we teach the opposite.
It enables people out in the real world and on the Internet to make comments about people based upon their looks. The other day, I was told by a stranger that she was only arguing me because she thought that I looked like a linebacker and that my appearance offended her. In other words, she felt that it was okay to be rude to me because I’m fat. That compelled me to make this post on Instagram.
Size alone doesn’t determine a person’s worth, value, or even their health. While obese people are more likely to have certain health problems, it doesn’t mean that they will actually end up with them. And there is no guarantee that a person who is physically fit or skinny will end up being healthy. I had several relatives who had health issues that were, shockingly, skinny as a rail. Maybe she shouldn’t be advising people on their health or lack there of since she isn’t their health care provider–or anyone’s, for that matter.
Basically, I just want her to shut her mouth already.
Ms. Kang, stop hurting people just to make yourself famous or feel better about your own body. If you want to do some good, then do some actual good. Don’t fat-shame/body-shame. Don’t tell people that you know more about their health than they do. Don’t put all the blame on the people who are offended by the things you say. Take some responsibility for your own callous attitude. Grow up and grow a pair.