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Women, Fitspo and Putting Yourself First

The other day I posted an article critiquing the fitspo below to Facebook.

I was interested to hear what everyone else thought not only of the photo but also of the critique.

Personally, the fitspo doesn’t bother me. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of the saying, which has been posted on a ton of different pictures, BUT I like what she stands for and what she shows is possible.

But it does sound like the fitspo bothers quiet a few women.

Which I can truly understand.

I am not a mother. I’ll be upfront about that. But I am a woman. And I am a woman with a great desire to empower every other woman I come in contact with.

Which is why many of the critiques of the photo really really struck a nerve and made me angry.

Ok yes…”What your excuse?” may not have been the best phrase. But that is really what we are focusing on? Ok she was PROUD of her body so decided to show it off. And we are condemning her for her body acceptance?

I’m sorry but the real issue isn’t the photo. It is the fact that most of the complaints about Maria Kang and the photo all seem to stem from the fact that most women feel obligated to take care of others FIRST.

It’s almost like women try to shame each other into NOT taking care of themselves instead of supporting those women who do make the decision to take care of themselves first.

Society, in my opinion, tells women to put their family first. To take care of others and make sure their needs are met before their own.

But being a good wife, good mother, good friend doesn’t have to mean putting others before yourself.

I think taking care of yourself FIRST actually makes you a better person and more able to support others.

If we aren’t healthy or happy how can we TRULY support others? I mean let’s face it….We are way better friends when we can truly listen and help – when we are self-possessed and happy and feeling good.

And all too often I feel like those women who put themselves first, who make sure they are healthy and happy so that they can support others, are condemned. They are told they aren’t good mothers. Or actually criticized for not putting their children first.

I even saw a comment saying that Maria Kang wasn’t a good role model.

A good role model?

Is the mother who is self-sacrificing really a good role model?!?! Is the mother who puts everyone before herself a good role model!?!

No! I’m sorry…She isn’t.

I would never want my daughter to think that she has to put everyone around her before herself. I would want her to know that her needs and wants and dreams and goals shouldn’t come SECOND.

That SHE IS IMPORTANT. That she doesn’t have to blindly follow traditional expectations. That she can be a wildly successful career woman and still be a great mom.

That she CAN HAVE IT ALL.

I can accept that people don’t like the slogan. But seriously all this negativity about a stupid picture makes me feel like we are burying a more important message.

Like we, women, are so focused on this “thin” vs. “fat” thing that we are almost holding each other back from overcoming more important things.

I will finish with this last statement….The other day I was reading about successful women who had become CEOs and business owners and how many of them, instead of mentoring another generation of women to become successful too, actually did very little to help other women because they felt their grasp on success wasn’t secure enough.

In many ways those successful women did more to hold other women back from gaining equal, or even greater, success.

And honestly, that is kind of what all the criticisms of this picture feel like to me. It feels like we are too scared to recognize her success and the fact that she broke with traditional values and PUT HERSELF FIRST so we criticize and tear down a freaking photo.

The end. That is all this non-mother, but girl who was raised by a strong mother, has to say.

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