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“Fit Mom” Maria Kang Clashes With Curvy Girl Lingerie Owner Chrystal Bougon

Posted by on December 5, 2013

Last weekend, you might have seen “Fit Mom” Maria Kang chat with the owner of Curvy Girl Lingerie Chrystal Bougon on CNN. Previously, IGIGI mentioned Curvy Girl Lingerie in a blog post about their bid for a Superbowl ad.

The full interview here for your viewing pleasure:

However, if you don’t want to watch the thoroughly frustrating five minute segment, here’s a brief summary and some history behind this little feud.

Maria Kang first became associated with fat-shaming after a photo that she shared on her Facebook page of herself wearing tight spandex shorts and a sports bra while posing with her three children under the banner “What’s your excuse?” went viral.

Maria Kang

This photo, originally posted to Facebook, gained a lot of backlash from feminist and body positive bloggers, since it is effectively a criticism of every other mother who does not have the physique of a personal trainer. Credit: Maria Kang

Faced with criticisms from women and body positive activists all over the globe, Maria quickly tried to shrug off the negative reactions with a non-apology saying that she was “sorry” that people seemed to be taking her “inspirational” photo the wrong way and that she really isn’t responsible for the insecurities of others.

Jes from the Militant Baker then proceeded to stage the best photo response that I’ve ever seen (below) and wrote a blog post that brought me to tears. To quote from Jes:

“The world, like Maria Kang, asks me daily for my excuse for ‘letting myself go,’ but I know better than to apologize. I understand the history behind why we hate ourselves and that it’s a brilliant business plan. I understand how connected our bodies and minds are; how much our mental health influences our physique. I understand that economic inequality is a bully that we like to ignore. I understand the subtle complexities that comprise who we are and that they cannot be explained within a book, much less a blog post. And certainly not in a body shaming photo.”

Jes the Militant Baker

On her blog, Jes says that she has carved out her little slice of Internet “to support, contribute, and join with other women that also challenge the status quo through their thoughts, lifestyles, and self acceptance.” Credit: The Militant Baker

Maria, unfortunately, didn’t seem to learn anything about tolerance or…you know…genetics in the few months since this posting, because her CNN interview was sparked by her most recent controversial comments, in which she claimed that the beautiful and inspiring advertising campaign that Curvy Girl Lingerie has been working on to showcase real plus-size customers in lingerie is hurting the American people by “normalizing our unhealthy nation.”

It appears that Maria is also under the unfortunate impression that she can judge someone’s health by simply looking at them. It’s important to note that Maria is not a doctor nor any kind of healthcare professional.

Chrystal Bougon’s ad campaign for Curvy Girl Lingerie garnered national attention because many women were able to identify with the women of all different ethnicities and body-types that submitted their photos to be showcased on Curvy Girl Lingerie’s Facebook page. In a press release, Bougon said, “Inspired by a customer, I wanted to show that women with rolls, bumps, lumps, scars, stretch marks, surgery scars, and natural breasts that have nursed babies can be stunning and beautiful.”

Not every woman looks like Maria after having three babies and that is perfectly okay. You don’t need an excuse for having a muffin top or flabby upper arms.

Laura Beck from Jezebel said it best,

“This helps normalize larger bodies and makes us more comfortable with body diversity. We’re so bombarded with images of thinner women that when we see fat bodies, it can be cringe-inducing. But if we see bigger bodies more and more often — and not as the headless fat army coming to eat all your high-cholesterol treats — the more we’ll just accept these images as normal. Because they are normal — it’s what many bodies look like, and all bodies are worthy of respect.”

Bloggers like Maria are the reason that fit bloggers can be so destructive, because it is a slippery slope from promoting a healthy lifestyle to criticizing those who you deem unhealthy. There can be health at any size, beauty at any size, and love at any size.

How do you feel about Maria’s comments and Chrystal’s ad campaign? Tell me in the comments.

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