From my understanding this picture made a lot of people angry this weekend. Let’s talk about it.
Meet Abby, AKA “Super Abs.” She’s a Mom to a cute little girl (five-ish?) and according to her Instagram profile she’s also a trainer, WBFF competitor, sponsored by Monster Supplements, has a six-pack and “no excuses.”
This woman has made her life her body. She’s a professional model and her body is her paycheck, how she puts food on the table for her daughter. She’s invested a lot of time and money into looking the way she does. I imagine that comes with quite a bit of pressure to look a certain way. If she woke up tomorrow twenty pounds heavier, sick with cancer, or was in a terrible car accident and lost limbs or disfigured her face, her contracts would be gone. She would not be a model anymore. ☹
She’s also working in an incredibly competitive industry. There is always another “perfect” body ready to step up and take your place on stage or in front of a camera. Fitness models rise and they fall, here today and gone tomorrow. All of these model’s Instagram accounts look the same. Bikini-clad body followed by #noexcuses #workhard #motivation #sacrifice #worthit blah, blah, blah. Yawn!
Some stand out, yes! It takes something special in such a competitive industry. Personally, the only fitness models I care to follow are Jamie Eason and Brooke Erickson. Both women are kind and warm and it shines through in their social media interactions. Being honest and humble goes a long way in my eyes. That’s why, after unfollowing every single fitness professional I knew two years ago, I continued to follow those two women. They don’t make me feel like I’m not doing enough. They make me feel good about myself! And normal!!
Another way to stand out in this very competitive industry is to create controversy. What do you think this picture was posted for? She knew some would hate it, others would love it, but EVERYONE would be talking about it, and talking about her. This was Abby’s attempt at getting noticed. And it worked! Her social media following has now EXPLODED. There you have it, how to get instantly “internet-famous” overnight – post a provocative photo with a rude comment directed towards mothers.
Yes, rude. It’s rude!
“I have three kids and a perfect marriage, what’s your excuse?”
“I have three kids, a mortgage, and no financial difficulties. What’s your excuse?”
“I have three kids a successful career, and my house is always clean. What’s your excuse?”
(None of these are true, by the way…!! ;) )
So. Freaking. Rude.
I’m tired of this message. Just SO tired of it. There’s nothing new or original about this message. I don’t feel anything when I look at it, except sad for the women who are struggling and feel hurt by it. I remember when Maria Kang’s famous “what’s your excuse?” photo went viral. It stung. I was two months postpartum, completely exhausted and run ragged, and still feeling I was falling short. Fed up, I posted a photo of MY postpartum body!
Here are a few things I want you to think about, if you’re feeling upset by this photo:
1. Anyone could be as lean as this woman, if you adhered to a strict exercise and diet regime. But there is always a trade-off to this. Is that something you really want to make a priority in your life? If it is, great! Go for it. If not, then move along. I would have to give up way too much of what I love to be this lean. It’s not for me.
2. As my friend Lauren of Moms Done Dieting said best “abs aren’t made in the kitchen or the gym. They’re made in the womb. The visibility of your abs is totally genetically determined.” (**When I was at my leanest, and I mean starve-mode lean, I did not have a six-pack.)
3. Very few people walk around with six-packs. These photos are often taken in a state of dehydration (in the morning, after cutting water, or manipulating carbohydrate intake).
4. Photoshop is a thing, and is used enthusiastically by photographers, magazine editors, and Instagrammers.
5. Last but not least: your value as a human being has nothing to do with how your body looks, the visibility of your abs, or if you have a supplement sponsor. Personally, I follow and am friends with people for who they ARE not for how they LOOK! Abs are Abby’s thing. You have your thing whether it’s abs or something else! Who cares if you don’t have a bajillion followers on social media to share it with.
There’s nothing to feel bad about here. If this was an attention-grab then I pity her. What would be so wrong with “I have a kid, I make fitness a priority, and you can too!” Change the message just slightly and suddenly it’s positive and encouraging rather than shaming.
After having children, many of us are dealing with body shame issues and accepting the way our bodies look post-children. It hurts the most when a fellow mother tries to make us feel even worse about ourselves.
Aren’t we all in this together?
Like what you’re reading? Join the Mama Lion Strong movement on Facebook!