In defense of Maria Kang, the ‘no excuses’ fitness mom

Seriously? This is what it comes down to?


Carin Moonin

Internet Culture

Published Oct 17, 2013   Updated Jun 1, 2021, 3:59 am CDT

Seriously? This is what it comes down to?

The world will not end with a bang, not with a whimper, not with a government shutdown, but with women being horrible to each other.

Forget all the leaning in and girl power: I’ve long given up hope that all women will support each other. It doesn’t happen. It’s just not in our DNA. Women will support their friends—but they’ll also talk shit about them when they think no one’s listening. Think I’m lying? Come on. Even your bestest friend has done something you’ve not been thrilled with and you’ve had to tell someone.

And for women we don’t like? Especially women we don’t like on the Internet? The bloodiest of Ancient Rome sagas look like a day at the spa.

I don’t understand the big deal about this super-fit mom’s photo. I really don’t. Granted, I’m not a mother—and that’s by choice (and the world sighs hard in relief)—but why the outcry? I mean, yeah, the artfully blown-back hair, the heavy makeup, it is perhaps a little try-hard, and I wonder if her kids are going to be embarrassed for her someday. But really, that’s the only mildly negative thing I can manufacture, and normally I’m a bottomless well of pessimism, ire, and mocking. Besides: How is Maria Kang’s Facebook photo different than any magazine cover, advertisement, or Rich Kids of Instagram?


Is it because she’s a mom and moms are supposed to be frumpy? Bullshit! I don’t care if you work out or not: We are firmly entrenched in the cult of the MILF. Gossip blogs turn large lunches into baby bumps. Celeb magazines cover baby showers like awards ceremonies. Mommyhood is glorified, no matter what you look like.

Why should Maria have to apologize? To point out she had an eating disorder? I sometimes feel like the Internet only encourages the over-explain, and you know what? That shit is no one’s business. She should only be proud. Fuck ’em.

I joined a gym recently. It had nothing to do with this article and everything to do with improving my marathon time. Are there women at the gym whose bodies I envy? Sure. There are people in the class who’ve got moves that make me look like Ronny from Can’t Buy Me Love? But then I say to myself, “I bet they’ve never qualified for Boston—twice.”

(OK, sometimes I might say it aloud.)

My point is, we all may not have the genes to look like Kang or whoever’s on the cover of that magazine that’s not supposed to be smugly aspirational but totally is. I don’t have the genes for a runner; I have the genes for someone who falls down a lot and then gets cancer. But I work with what I have in the time I have.

So should you.  

While Kang will probably get a book deal, a reality show, and 14 more minutes of fame, you’re still sitting there bitching and moaning. Step away from the computer and the other judgy moms. Go for a walk.

Any exercise brings an approximate shit-ton of benefits. Study after study has shown that 30 minutes a day of exercise, five times a week can ward off all kinds of health concerns—everything from heart disease to cancer to diabetes to mental disintegration. And less than half of us are even doing that.

If that’s too much for you, then break it down: 10 minutes, three times a day. Go for a walk after you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s not a lot. Really. Go outside and do something—and then see if you still want to post something nasty and stupid when you get back.

Carin Moonin is a writer living in Portland, Ore. Sometimes she’ll even tweet about things she hates at @carinwrites.

Photo via Maria Kang/Facebook

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*First Published: Oct 17, 2013, 3:13 pm CDT