This isn’t what I was planning to write about today, but because friends and news sites and blogs keep posting about this subject, asking what we all think about the photo, I figured I might as well weigh in. Because you know I usually always have an opinion on things. And coming from a person who does regularly work out and who eats very nutritiously, I’m figuring my point of view won’t be seen as coming from guilt or defensiveness.
When I first saw this photo and read just a few of the thousands of comments attached to it, I’ll admit that my knee jerk reaction was to agree with those who said that the only ones who take issue and offense at it are those who are suffering from some sort of “guilt” (whatever that may be). The whole notion of, if it bothers you, then that’s your own issue. For some reason though that gut reaction didn’t sit well with me.
But then I read that she was a recovering bulimic. And then I started thinking. The bulimia gave me reason to pause because it immediately triggered a thought that Ms. Kang’s relationship with food, fitness and overall health may be slightly unhealthy. Yes, of course people can recover from bulimia and other eating disorders, but it just made me wonder if she had swapped one obsessive behavior for another, one that is more socially acceptable and praised. And I say obsession because she has admitted that her workout routine involves hitting the gym 5-6 times a week for at least an hour a day, and she is a self-proclaimed fitness enthusiast. To get a body like this, you have to be utterly devoted to your routine, almost to the point of obsession. Believe me, when I looked like this, and weighed less than 130 pounds, it took obsessive determination to get me there.
Perhaps I’m over thinking this and she has a perfectly reasonable, healthy fitness routine that is no cause for concern.
But here’s my real problem with this photo; it makes the focus of healthy living for the sake of a hot body, not for the sake of just being healthy.
By posing in that skimpy outfit, she takes the focus off of healthy eating habits, a reasonable and sensible fitness routine, and a balanced full life, and turns all eyes on that amazing, killer body of hers. It tells us to forget what true healthy living is, because really what it all comes down to is getting the body you’ve always wanted.
Not to mention that here we go again with the over-sexualization of women for no good reason at all.
I have no doubt that her intentions were to inspire and I don’t even take issue with her wording really. But when she posed in that teeny tiny outfit, she lost all credibility in my eyes. Because in the end, what she’s really telling us all is to be healthy, be physically active, so you can look like this.
We have a major food and fitness problem in the United States, that is inarguable. But true change is only going to happen when people see fitness and nutrition as approachable, achievable and within their reach, and for more than just achieving a perceived ideal body image. It’s not going to happen by showing off photos of hot bodied women whose physiques are utterly lust-worthy and highly unachievable without some Herculean effort.
Work out and eat right so you can keep up with your kids (or grand kids), to improve your quality of life, to live a longer life, not to get flat abs and a great butt.
A for effort Maria Kang. D for execution.
What do you think? Am I too, over-thinking this? Or is her photo inspiring the wrong thing?