What’s Your Excuse? …seriously, what is it?

HEAR YE! HEAR YE! Oh dear, oh my, I’m going to talk about a current-event pile of bullshit today! I’m going to be blunt, I’m probably going to be an asshole, I’m well aware of both of these facts, and I don’t give a shit. This whole situation is bullshit, and I’ll get to the ‘why’ in a minute.


If you’re not up to date on the latest stupidity of the internet, may I present mother of 3 and fitness goddess, Maria Kang. This woman obviously works her butt off (both literally and figuratively it seems) to stay in shape despite having 3 children. She decides to take a photograph with her lovely boys, include a little phrase with it, and post it on her Facebook page yesterday afternoon. The result was an internet, and therefore worldwide, uproar. Big surprise.

Apparently it is a crime to try to be inspiration to other people. The phrase included on the photograph – “What’s Your Excuse?” – can (and therefore was) harshly misconstrued to suggest that Ms. Kang was mocking those people who are not in the perfect shape that she is so obviously in. To be specific, Ms. Kang was called out for ‘fat-shaming,’ for generalized bullying, and for being inconsiderate toward other individual’s personal situations in terms of weight loss. These messages were sent via comments on her Facebook, her blog, and her personal email. She basically went viral through people’s misunderstanding and personal outrage at this one photograph, on which she decided to include a three-word phrase.

Now to a point, I can understand that this short phrase can be misinterpreted in a few different ways. I get that, with the proper inflection, it can come across as condescending, insulting, and rude. (I’m not even going to go into the fact that despite her very clearly and directly explaining her intention behind the phrase and the use of it, she was still receiving flack for it even today…) I get it, I really do.

Here’s the thing, though. The woman is a fitness trainer. She owns her own non-profit as well as her own private business. Her whole life revolves around motivating people to push themselves and lose weight against the odds. She is the prime example of what she stands for in life. With this context in mind (again as well as her direct explanation of the intention behind the photograph and phrase in question), I do not and cannot understand how people can assume that her intentions behind the text of this photograph were malicious in any way.

No, actually, I can understand it, I just don’t want to.

Here are the three categories of people who interpreted this phrase negatively. I guarantee every person who looked at this phrase and decided to complain about it fits in one of these categories:

1) The Trolls – The obvious first choice, those who actually have no interest in context, but only want to cause pointless angst and mayhem.

2) The Jealous – Yes, there is a collection of people out there (including myself) who do work to lose weight, but it just doesn’t come as easy as it does for Ms. Kang. We work and we sweat and we push ourselves as far as we can, but we just can’t manage to tone down to this form. Perhaps we are on our way, but it’s just such a long process. These people don’t really apply to the phrase in the first place; they don’t have an excuse because they are already working toward a goal. But the process is so stressful, so arduous, that seeing this kind of fitness success gives us a bad taste in our mouths. We get jealous, and that jealousy is released through anger toward those who have accomplished what we haven’t (yet).

This group of people, however, is very likely to calm down easily, put the phrase into context after a good venting session, and recant their statement of anger, realizing it was unfounded and inappropriate. The third and worst group (in my opinion) however, is a different story.

3) The Lazy Ones – Yup. I’m calling out all the lazy fatties who saw this phrase and had no answer. These are the people who DON’T have an excuse, and when forced to recognize that they don’t, took offense to their own laziness. There are people who don’t have a choice, who have medical problems which prevent them from losing weight and staying in shape. But guess what? A medical condition IS an excuse! This phrase does not pertain to you! You are exempt! You have a doctor’s note! Go home! Those who don’t, and are simply fat and out of shape because they won’t get off their bulbous asses and do some jumping jacks? Yes, this is directed at you. You have no excuse, and you are ashamed, but you cannot admit that to yourself, so you take it out on someone who doesn’t hold excuses over her head and actually works for the body she has.

There, I said it. These are the people of the hour, the people with a beef. My message to them all? GET OVER IT! (Of course the trolls will lol and keep at their trolling, and that’s fine, they are easy to spot and even easier to ignore.) Those who are jealous have two options: take the phrase to heart and realize you can push yourself to be better, or recognize that you’re not mad at Ms. Kang, you’re frustrated with your progress, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you can take it out on her. Calm down, breathe a little, and get back on the treadmill. You can do it, and she is proof. Those who are lazy, you also have two options: accept your laziness and get over yourself and her, or read the phrase as it was intended, accept that you have no excuse, and get up off your ass! It’s not her fault you’re fat, it’s yours! You can change that, and if you don’t want to put in the effort, then stop complaining!


*breathes slowly* Okay, I think I’m better now.


7 thoughts on “What’s Your Excuse? …seriously, what is it?

  1. I would agree that some of the negative feedback from the masses about this campaign(?) was uncalled for. It’s no secret that the Internet is prone to hype, drama and misinformation. Some also cannot resist to be trolls. However, this message does, on the surface, include what can be interpreted as hostile. I think the combination of those surfing the Internet having a penchant for drama, and some impulsivity; this woman’s message was lost to many. It also doesn’t help prevent misinterpretations by its brevity, as well as missing some message cues by tone, inflection, etc.

    Speculating about the angry response, I think it may have to do with an implication that her perceived ‘perfect’ life includes more than just fitness. The presence of her children in the picture seem to imply that she’s also a Super Mom, too. The message potentially becomes “I’m better than you.” People don’t respond well to that. Along with it not being likely, it’s also very annoying to be around people who tell you how fabulous they are. Role models, as a rule, tend to be too busy actually leading by example than telling everyone about how much of a role model they consider themselves. I get that she’s a motivational trainer, but it’s still annoying, on some level. I know there is an obesity epidemic. I know it takes work and a series of good, tough choices to get into better physical shape. However, I’m thinking that evoking the right emotion might make the approach more effective. Of course, there is always the marketing angle. Even with some notoriety, she will promote her services without having to spend coin to do so. I believe she even had some media face time on CNN, as well as Good Morning America. Then, the apology/non-apology banter didn’t help. My annoyance with this topic has more to do with the fact that the morning news can’t seem to focus on more of the political current, socioeconomic information, healthcare issues and academic debates. The entertainment/gossip industry seems to have bled into the daily news. This approach becomes more dramatic than informative. Anyway, I appreciated your post….and wanted to share. My hope is that my approach is considered academic.

    • Well, aren’t you quite the whiney bitch? I agree with this article 100%, and I’m sick of people having to tiptoe around strangers on the internet, just because they might unintentionally point out something that makes the viewer wake up to themselves. People need to grow some balls and take some responsibility for their lives instead of complaining about how bad they have it because of their own dumb choices.

*Insert your thought here*

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