Everybody loves a
milf hot mom, right?
A bit more than a year ago, a woman named Maria Kang posted a photo of herself, her three sons, and her abs. It went viral – not because she had a six pack or her kids were supernaturally cute, but because of the question she posed with it:
When Kang came out with this photo and its provocative question, it drew polarized responses. Critics came clamoring with accusations of shame-mongering, while supporters said it was inspiring and that sometimes the truth hurts. Eventually Kang made a public “apology,” in which she said she was sorry that anyone would interpret her photo in a negative way, but that she still stood by the original photo/question. She also mentioned outright that “it’s time we stop tip-toeing around people’s feelings” (a sentiment with which I wholeheartedly agree, but that’s a topic for another time).
Apparently another “hot mom” is making waves now with a similar photo. Abby Pell is a fitness competitor from the UK, and her recent photo echoes Kang’s sentiment.
Pell’s photo is more troubling to me than the one shared by Kang. While I could go on about the fact that her head is cut out of the photo (symbolically shifting the focus of her identity to her body) or the disturbing message/standard being presented to her daughter, the bigger problem is the mindset that both Pell’s and Kang’s photos represent. This problematic mindset is twofold:
1. There is a narrow aesthetic presentation that defines one’s level of fitness.
2. Fitness should take whatever priority necessary to achieve the aforementioned presentation.
These two women are not extremists – the majority of the fitness industry is infected with the same mindset. While some may have good intentions (and the rest I would regard with hearty skepticism), they are propagating a destructive mentality…and, too often, equally destructive training and nutrition habits.
Thankfully, there are some professionals out there who promote healthier mindsets and practices. Jen Sinkler, for example, wrote a wonderful piece on these photos and the ensuing controversy: What Effect are “No Excuses” Photo Captions Having on Young Women? A week ago, I discovered Noelle of Coconuts & Kettlebells when I stumbled across her fantastic article: Why I Don’t Want Six-Pack Abs. This great bit from Lift Big Eat Big remains one of my all-time favorite pieces on body image: The Overrated Image of 6-Pack Abs.
The bottom line is not that having a six-pack is bad in and of itself, but that it’s been made into ridiculous “holy grail” of fitness, and these kinds of photos/captions promote the pursuit of that ideal above all else. Health is important, and we are called to be stewards of these physical vessels. But while stewarding our health is our responsibility, and enjoying our physical abilities is a blessing, having a six-pack is not a duty to which we are indebted. Neither is it an aesthetic feature we should feel shame for not attaining or not pursuing.
Frankly, I’m amazed at some of the women who find time to work out at all in addition to the time spent being wives, mothers, caretakers, business owners, executives, and God knows how much more. Given my current season of life, I should have just as much ability as anyone else to “be shredded” or have a six pack. Of course, there’s the issue of genetics and generally being built like a tank, but that can be combated. And while I have no husband, no kids, and “no excuse”…I also have no six pack.
And I have no problem with it. Health is a priority for me; abs are not. The priorities I do have?
- Living a life that is more like Christ.
- Being a better sister, daughter, and friend.
- Getting into grad school.
- Preparing for my future career.
- Learning to play guitar.
- Keeping my house/life organized.
- Working on personal projects.
- Practicing handstands.
- Playing with my dog.
So I have no excuse, no abs, and no problem. I do have a happy heart, a healthy body, a sharp mind, and a rich life.
If you ask me, it’s more than worth the tradeoff.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please chime in with a comment below!
PS: If you found this article helpful or interesting, feel free to share on facebook, twitter, pinterest, google+, or wherever else you lurk in social media land. I’d appreciate it more than you know!