Oh, look, another Western, white*, well off woman using her body to feel superior to other women

Young woman isolated  - surprise

Maria Kang is shocked, shocked that anyone could have misinterpreted her “playful” suggestion as hate speech.

Kang has sparked internet discussion with this image, posted on her Facebook page:

mariakang

And like other vicious women taken to task for making women feel bad, she thinks SHE is the one who is being discriminated against:

Will a “real woman” please stand up? In the age of Photoshop, plastic surgery and celebrity idolatry, it seems women are constantly debating what is considered a “real” woman. And, as I found out recently when I posted a picture of myself looking fit and healthy in workout clothes with my three sons (playfully asking the question “What’s your excuse?”), apparently I don’t count. My voice as an apparently nonreal woman counts so little, in fact, that Facebook recently banned me temporarily from the site — shutting down my account for almost three days for supposedly violating the site’s terms of service — after a number of users flagged a post of mine venting about the damaging culture of fat acceptance. After my post had garnered thousands of likes, comments and shares, these users apparently reported what I wrote as “hate speech.”

Maria is right. Her image is not hate speech. It is hateFUL speech. And it is depressingly familiar. Yet another Western, white, relatively well off woman promotes the notion that women should be judged by the functions of her body, not the power of her mind or the accomplishments she has achieved or the people she has aided.

And like natural childbirth advocates who think women’s virtue is located in her vagina, or lactivists who believe that women’s virtue is embodied in lactating breasts, Maria thinks women’s virtue is determined by how closely they approximate the Western, white ideal of the thin and toned body.

Not suprisingly, King justifies her viciousness by appeals to “science.”

Overweight women are now standing up (often half-naked) in defiance, exclaiming: “I have a beautiful ‘curvy’ body” and “This is what a real woman looks like.” These campaigns send a message that being overweight is normal…

Constant campaigns promoting self-acceptance and embracing one’s curves are placing the psychological need for a positive body image ahead of health. When you normalize a problem you create complacency. After all, you can’t fix a problem if you don’t see a problem…

Sound familiar? It should. Consider the lactiviciousness of Allison Dixley, the self-proclaimed “Alpha Parent”. She posted this gem:

breastfeeding is like marriage

Wow, what a coincidence! This picture also depicts a Western, white woman who is thin and toned.

And she also attempts to justify a hateful meme.

Aside from the important supply-related issues, there is also the fact that combination feeding dilutes much of the protection afforded by breastfeeding the way nature intended … To use the marriage analogy: a marriage can still exist when cheating has occurred; likewise breastfeeding can still exist when supplementation has occurred, but it will not ‘work’ as nature intended. Both mother and baby will not reap the normal physiological advantages.

Yet another startling coincidence! Both women justify their viciousness by appeals to “the science”; King appeals to “the science” about obesity and Dixley to “the science” about breastfeeding.

Charlotte Faircloth, a sociologist of parenting, has written about the abuse of science by lactivists (‘What Science Says is Best’: Parenting Practices, Scientific Authority and Maternal Identity) and her words have relevance for Kang’s abuse of “the science” of obesity.

When ‘science’ says something is healthiest for infants, it has the effect, for [lactivists], of shutting down debate; that is, it dictates what parents should do…

… [U]nder the assumption that science contains ‘no emotional content’, a wealth of agencies with an interest in parenting – from policy makers and ‘experts’ to groups of parents themselves – now have a language by which to make what might better be termed moral judgements about appropriate childcare practices. [But] ‘Science’ is not a straightforward rationale in the regulation of behaviour, rather, it is one that requires rigorous sociological questioning and debate in delimiting the parameters of this ‘is’ and the ‘ought’.

Kang, who judges women by their weight, justifies it with a similar appeal: it’s okay to be vicious to overweight women because being thin is “healthier.” Leave aside for the moment the fact that the scientific evidence actually shows that being slightly overweight is healthiest. The point is that both Dixley and Kang are exponents of health moralism, the practice of moralizing personal choices by appeals to “health.”

This is just an new gloss on an old phenomenon, the locating of women’s value and worth in the function or appearance of their bodies.

It is long past time for us to take a stand against viciousness masquerading as concern about health. Do we want our daughters to believe that their worth resides exclusively between in their breasts, across their flat, toned abdomens and in their vagina? Or do we want our daughters (and our sons!) to recognize that their worth is in the content of their character, the way they use their natural gifts, and how they treat others, including others who differ from themselves?

Here’s the meme I’d like to see:

iStock_000028624238XSmall copy

I’m not holding my breath, though. Images that question privilege are not nearly as popular as those that further entrench it.

 

*Someone pointed out to me that Kang is Asian-American. Nonetheless, she promotes the Western, white, well off ideal of the female body.

  • mkimbee

    Normally I agree with you, but I feel that on this one, you’re way off base. As a medical professional I feel like you’d agree with her Ms. Kang’s assertions that looking after your physical well being is important. I feel you’ve bought into the hype surrounding this specific post without reading further into it. She never once says that she thinks people need look like bikini competition ready models. I suggest now that some time has passed you go back and actually reread Ms. Kang’s posts with a fresh perspective. Then I think you’ll see that, while her posts were inflammatory and obviously struck some nerves, that there is nothing inherently anti-feminist or prejudicial about them.

    Also, for what it’s worth, this post came across as rather… Immature and ill formed? Honestly I reread just to make sure you didn’t have some guest author posting satirically.

  • Yay Bubbles

    “It is long past time for us to take a stand against viciousness masquerading as concern about health.”

    The fact that you have taken what is clearly intended to be a positive and motivational message and twisted it into a bitter infantile rant, tells me that you have a serious personality disorder. Get Help!

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      QED.

      • attitude devant

        Indeed! I was just about to post that this was the most unintentionally ironic piece of hilarity I’d seen all week.

        • Yay Bubbles

          Without the benefit of context, being the first article I had read, it was impossible to ascertain intent.

          …and in all honesty, I stopped reading somewhere around line three.

          • attitude devant

            Well, at least you’re honest about not having a clue about what you’re weighing in on….

          • Yay Bubbles

            Which was what, exactly? Obsessing over a harmless yet vacuous health nut doing what upbeat health nuts tend to do?

            Whose next? Shaun T?

          • MaineJen

            Who’s

          • Yay Bubbles

            Thanks.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            And yet you felt the need to share your opinion about something you hadn’t read. Why?

          • Yay Bubbles

            Do I have to point at the moon for you to see my finger?

            You’ve assumed that you’ve written something unique, whereas I noticed a derivative pattern and skimmed through the rest.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Pro tip: when you’ve dug yourself into a hole, it’s best to stop digging.

          • Yay Bubbles

            Sorry to rain on your prayer circle, but I’m more than bit surprised, that as a ‘skeptical’ doctor you aren’t telling the underprivileged to always park as far away as possible and walk.

            Instead, you appear to have fallen in with the
            dernier cri of ‘Eating For Two’ and are just encouraging more of this:

          • MaineJen

            That’s a novelty sign. They post them in the parking lots outside of Babies R Us as a gag to make new/expecting moms chuckle. It’s not a commentary on weight gain during/after pregnancy. It’s a joke. Try a sense of humor next time.

          • Yay Bubbles

            + blank stare +

          • Trixie

            Dude I lived for those signs. They’re the best thing ever.

  • Sue

    As a person who is Asian (not Asian American), I am surprised Dr. Amy confused Maria Kang with a white, European woman as she looks 100% Asian. This comment is for people who seem to be bashing small women: I hate to break it to you white women, but a curvaceous body is also a sign of Western privilege. Us East and Southeast Asians will never have that pear or apple shape that you white women admire so much. We will continue to be born small, slender and small breasted even as our standard of living and nutritional intake continues to rise. Maria Kang would seem to have the figure typical of East and Southeast Asian woman without working out. Even the majority of people born and growing up in underdeveloped and developing countries would have trouble reaching the Marilyn Monroe or Christina Hendricks ideal. Us Asians with tom boyish figures are just as healthy or even healthier (Japanese) than you bigger, white, Western women are.

    • Wren

      Yes, there are no heavy Asian women, anywhere in the world. And all Asian women have those abs with no effort.

      “Us East and Southeast Asians will never have that pear or apple shape that you white women admire so much” screams Poe, and I hope it is.

      • Sue
        • Wren

          Not so much a strawman as a restating of what you said.
          You laid out the argument that East and South East Asian women do not get an apple or pear shape. I believe the word you used was “never”.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “We will continue to be born small, slender and small breasted even as our standard of living and nutritional intake continues to rise. ”

      Huh? I don’t understand what you are saying here. Are you claiming that genetically Asian women will always be small-framed and small-breasted even if their standard of living changes and their diet changes along with it? Because actually the so-called obesity-epidemic has hit Asia too now. I know plenty of Asia-born women with significant obesity.

      The part I agree with you about is that people with thin, tomboy figures can be very healthy. However eating disorders are never healthy, and that’s apparently what Maria Kang has said she has used to stay slim in the past. Whether her eating disorder is still active, I don’t know. But a number of my former eating-disorder patients go on to develop unhealthy relationships to exercise.

      • thepragmatist

        I went from being anorexic to being obsessive about dance and exercise. It was a good step, to be honest, I suppose, away from starving myself. When I started to run I HAD TO EAT. So, I learned to eat well, and I developed a good relationship with my body through exercise. When I became physically injured and couldn’t dance or work out, then I had to confront that new reality, too, and realize how much of my self-identity was wrapped up in my body. Now I am back to being anorexic but it is not intentional. I work really hard to put weight on. I am not better than anyone else, but people tell me all the time they wish they were as skinny as I am, while meanwhile, I live in fear that I am going to catch pneumonia again and die, for real, because my thinness is a sign of frailty, not health. It’s really weird to me that extreme thinness is so exalted when it flies in the face of anything related to health. A prof of mine once pointed out it is because the fashion industry is run by gay men and so the models are selected as sexy based on how closely they resemble a slightly pubescent teenage boy. Not sure if anyone has done any sociological studies on that one.

        • fiftyfity1

          “the fashion industry is run by gay men and so the models are selected as sexy based on how closely they resemble a slightly pubescent teenage boy.”

          Eh, I doubt it. The women designers and the straight male designers prefer tall skinny women also. The gay men I know in real life are attracted to MEN, and women who look like teen boys do nothing for them. Kind of like how straight women are attracted to men, and don’t find thin women shaped like teen boys to be any substitute.

        • LibrarianSarah

          The reason the fashion industry likes to use super thin models has more to do with pragmatism then who is “running” the fashion indusrty.

          Designers look see models pretty much as walking hangers. They want their audience to focus on the cloathes not the women wearing them. Thin models are best at displaying cloathes on a runway. Designers also save money on fabric by using thin models.

      • Sue

        I am not saying obesity does not exist in Asia. I have been to India so I know a diet full of ghee and fried bread is not the best diet. Obesity also exists in East and Southeast Asia. To say it’s non-existent is silly. However many women in East and Southeast Asia are naturally skinny and small framed. You go to Japan and South Korea where the standard of living is higher or on par with majority white, Western nations and you don’t find too many naturally big framed women who have trouble losing weight like you do in Western nations. It’s the same thing in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia. We’re not skinny because we are anorexic or don’t have plenty to eat. Genetics plays a role. Many people are discussing toning down on the fat shaming, the same could be said about skinny shaming.

        • Amy Tuteur, MD

          We have a long standing commentor who posts as “Sue.” Could you please add an initial to your screen name to distinguish yourself from her?

          • Suwana

            Is there a way to change the screen name once a comment has been posted?

          • Yay Bubbles

            If you had used Disqus to comment here, then yes, however, I can tell that you did not, so no probably not.

    • AmyP

      “I am surprised Dr. Amy confused Maria Kang with a white, European woman as she looks 100% Asian.”

      Nah, she’s obviously got a lot of European ancestry.

    • LibrarianSarah

      Granted I haven’t read every single comment on this thread but I haven’t see any comments “bashing” thin women. There has been a lot bashing Kang and the idea that thin is the equiventant of healthy but I haven’t seen anyone bashing thin women. Doctor Amy’s point is that the reason this woman has that body is that she is privileged. She doesn’t live in a food desert, she has a career the is nothing but exercise, and she can afford to do whatever crazy fad diet that she is into this week. Then she has the gall to turn her nose up at anyone who isn’t as privleged as her and justifies it as some faux “concern” for their health. Amy was right to call bullshit in that.

      • Guest

        I’m sorry to rain on your prayer circle, but, while you should be parking as far away as possible and walking, you seem to want more of this:

        • LibrarianSarah

          Actually, I’m infertile so I would never be a new or expecting mother and now I walk plenty. But keep projecting whatever stereotypes you want on to me because I have the integrity to acknowledge my privilege unlike you who wouldn’t know what integrity is if it walked up to you an smacked you upside the head.

          • Yay Bubbles

            When a person deletes a comment, there is usually one or more reasons.

            For instance, the user might have wanted to see which image looked better, or if an image was obnoxiously large, but unfortunately learned, only after posting, that you cannot edit an image like you can edit the text of a comment without deleting the post.

            Another, and more important reason, might be, that the individual was distracted by ongoing activities at work and happened to reply to the wrong person entirely and so quickly deleted the comment so that it could be posted back to the intended recipient.

            To bring this down to your level: stuff it, it wasn’t intended for you.

          • An Actual Attorney

            What are you talking about?

          • Yay Bubbles

            Both of those comments were deleted by me, for the above stated reasons, only to reappear as guest comments, and then replied to. They were drafts and weren’t even posted to the right person.

            That’s why I deleted them.

          • LibrarianSarah

            Whether or not they were deleted by you I still get an email saying that someone responded to a comment I made and they still appear on the screen accept this time it is under “guest.” It also doesn’t mention anywhere that your post was deleted so maybe you should be more careful instead of coping an attitude with me because of your mistakes. An appology won’t hurt either.

          • An Actual Attorney

            Oh, they show up for me under your name. Not sure that there is a delete function on Disqus. It is very confusing to figure out what you are getting upset about.

          • AlisonCummins

            Maybe you could edit the comments you don’t want (Disqus allows this) by replacing them with “Deleted by Yay Bubbles.”

          • Yay Bubbles

            Yes, that’s a good suggestion.

      • Yay Bubbles

        Sorry to rain on your prayer circle, but…

        …you should be parking as far away as possible and walking.

        You seem to want more of this:

  • Ash

    Oh look, another Western, White, Well Off Woman using her BLOG to feel superior to other women.
    So is your problem with this because she is white or because she is a woman with abs? While I could see how the meme could be offensive, I think you are being over-the-top. She is propagating white ideals? please. You are ignorant if you think no other culture finds an in shape woman attractive. Would this many people honestly be so angry at her if she didn’t look “white”? isn’t that a little bit racist? And you are doing the exact opposite of what you preach. You are saying how horrible these women are while making sarcastic comments berating them for being in shape, (that sounds petty and like you are trying to take cheap shots). As though being fit were only something for the privileged. Also, you seem to be quite the hypocrite, you’re a WHITE, WOMAN, and you are a DOCTOR with a med degree from HARVARD. I’d say that makes you a white and well off woman.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Are you denying that poor women and women of color are often stigmatized for not meeting arbitrary ideals created by privileged white women?

  • knottymama

    As a mother that supplemented and breastfed for around six months each, I’m far from a lactivist. However I found the breastfeeding meme in good taste and making a valid point, unlike the “what’s your excuse” meme. I’ll hold off on being offended by lactivists until I see a babywearing, tandem breastfeeding mama saying “what’s your excuse?” Either photo could be inspirational without the obnoxious, accusatory tagline.

    • knottymama

      It would be amusing to watch Ms Kang hash it out with a hard core lactivist though!

  • Laural

    Does her blog say if she breastfeeds? She looks like she has very little bodyfat at all. My body will quit milkmaking as soon as I start any kind of calorie restriction (diet). I hate myself for being so jealous! And breastfeeding is my excuse. And my age. And I have five… but I didn’t look like that since I was like, okay, maybe since I was a waitress in college and lived on caffeine and nicotine. Healthy.

    • knottymama

      There’s no way, I forget how many hours per day she spends working out but it’s A LOT. Basically her job is to work out.

    • fiftyfifty1

      She looks to me to have a reasonable body fat percentage, because there is a large range of reasonable body fat percentages. I don’t think she looks unhealthy. But just because she looks thin doesn’t means we can assume she is healthy either. Healthy comes in a lots of different body types. The Queen Mother never had a six-pack I’m pretty sure. But she lived to 102 if I remember right.

  • Siri Dennis

    Trying to read Kang’s blog is like wading through treacle. It’s quite possibly the worst blog in the world – boring, repetitive, self-centred, smug, self aggrandising and full of malapropisms. And the comments! Can you say sycophantic? There is also enough syrupy faux-spiritualism to slay a hippo.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      You had me at “syrupy faux-spiritualism” slaying a hippo….

      • Siri Dennis

        And as you’re no doubt aware, it takes a LOT to slay a hippo, even a small defenceless baby pigmy one.

  • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

    Ugh sorry to serial post but I think I did you all proud today. After court (not knowing who tara tulley is, and what she stood for) I said “you know they dropped a baby on its head, right? Its a string of women that got harmed by that place, not just me.” Her and suzanne looked teary eyed flustered, finally directly confronted for the bullshit that midwives do in other peoples lives. The bailiff wasn’t too thrilled but it was worth it to me. Tara Tulley had the balls to call my blog (intended to warn potential patients of the history of the birth center) “attention seeking behavior”. ??? She diagnosed me with a personality disorder based on my blog. I think she is going to be in for a shock when she finds out that being a social worker is a lot more responsibility than her old job (midwife), you can’t do this kind of stuff and get away with it. I’m meeting with my therapist tomorrow to discuss the ethical violations involved with Tara Tulley’s conduct today.

    • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

      Hang in there. You are being so strong, I am in awe.

  • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

    oh wow, there were a bunch of undisclosed ties between the expert witness and the business owner. What a surprise. Her name is Tara Tulley, and she decided that the death of a baby from an unlicensed midwife should be a rallying cry to start a legislative push to protect midwives from ‘harassment’ (ie being investigated for killing a baby). It was the valerie lady from utah who used vaccuum extraction and drugs even though she was just a DEM. I’m gonna blog the crap out of this. Oh yeah, and she ran for city council. Do you think her constituents would like to know what she thinks about midwives who kill babies??? I’m just livid right now

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      found a post on this website about tulley. eeew. She is running for office in Utah pretty soon. Dr. Amy should help spread the word that she ‘stands united’ with baby killing scum. Keep an eye out for her in 2015. https://www.facebook.com/TaraTulleyForSpringvilleCityCouncil

  • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

    this is off topic- I hope thats okay. its an update for anyone who is interested.

    My court case against better birth was today. The judge was inclined to rule in my favor until another midwife decided to lie for her friend. She appeared for free to say that there is no way a forced vaginal exam could have caused PTSD and that its normal to continue an exam while a woman begs you to stop. She even said that it was okay because it was an emergency (lol I thought birth was ‘normal’). Its so gross. Im going to try and file an appeal.

    • Karen in SC

      Sorry you are still going through this.

    • Lisa the Raptor

      I must not be familiar with your case Do you have a blog with your story?

      • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth
        • Lisa the Raptor

          Thank you I’ll check it out once all the kids are in bed and I have two minutes to myself.

        • Lisa the Raptor

          I read the initial story. I’m sorry that happened to you. Would you be able to find a psychiatrist to witness on your behalf that it is in fact possible to get PTSD from that type of violation ESPECIALLY, and most importantly for a sexual assault survivor? There is protocol for such situations for a reason, because it can be traumatic. That in and of itself is the very reason they asked you if you were a sexual assault victim to start with. In their own contract they are admitting that you treat sexual assault victims differently, because of the risk of trauma. Also, the judge should know better A midwife is NOT a mental health worker and is NOT qualified to make such assessments or to act as such a witness.

          • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

            Hey thanks. I have a therapist that I will see tomorrow and I will ask if she will testify. I am hoping I can introduce my own witness in appeals but if not I am pretty sure I can get Tara’s testimony thrown out. I mean they started a political group to protect midwives from legal proceedings, then pretended not to know each other well so that she could be used as a witness during a legal proceeding. ???How can that be legal? I don’t think they consulted an attorney at all.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            What were you charging them with exactly? There may be a similar charge you can level against them and it will be like starting over. For example, if you went for medical battery you might be able to try again with simple malpractice ( I am NOT a Lawyer! NOT NOT NOT. This is not advice,My only advice is to get a lawyer. This is just me pondering, me, the “not a lawyer”. )

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Also, do you think you could locate any evidence you could find that they DID know each other? Might be useful, message boards where they are talking to one another( use IP addresses to show who it is), pictures they posed online of the two of them protesting together?

          • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

            got pictures of better birth’s crew at tara’s midwifery school. I’m golden.

    • Dr Kitty

      Oh wow, I’m so sorry for you, is there any hoe of getting on OB or psychologist to testify refuting that?

      • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

        I will have to ask. The judge at the case wasn’t sure if you could introduce new evidence (like a new witness) in an appeal, but I found out that tara tulley didn’t disclose her relationship with Better Birth fully, so that seems like a very fruitful way to get an appeals judge to hear my case. I think I might try to get a lawyer to handle this if possible. it seems complicated.

        • Lisa the Raptor

          You need a lawyer. Yes, a med mal lawyer. I’m not sure if I know anyone in Utah, but I’ll look around.

          • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

            I contacted a sympathetic attorney to perhaps get me through the appeals process. Better Birth clearly didn’t consult anyone except Tara Tulley beforehand- they seemed pretty clueless during several parts of the hearing….

          • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

            WHAT?! They just made up their own rules and used “different ways of knowing?” How unprecedented for midwives!

          • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

            Yeah well… I hope this blog investigates Tara Tulley more, because she has posted some really idiotic things online that will help my case (like that midwives need less accountability because patients are greedy and entitled, midwives are persecuted by the law too often, her clients never labor during her marathons bc they respect nature, etc). Shes a real nutjob, seriously. This blog gets way more traffic than mine, I wish it was the first thing that came up when you google her name. Her new licensure as a LCSW will give her more room to discredit women hurt by NCB and midwives in the state of utah. She was willing to do it for free.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            Considering this is a case where a sexual assault, and post trauma was the issue, talk to your local Battered Women’s Shelter, sexual abuse survivors group, anything of that nature. They often provide lawyers for women. Might be worth a shot or at least a referral. A lawyer who handles sexual assault cases would be very helpful too.

    • Siri Dennis

      Before starting an examination per vaginam on a labouring woman, I would say: I’ll be as gentle as I can, but if I hurt you, say so. You may have a contraction during the exam, and if you do, I’ll hold really still until it’s over. If you want me to remove my hand, just say, Out! I would then keep my eyes on her face throughout, both to observe for distress, and to give reassuring eye contact as needed. Most women are able to cope when they know they have a choice to stop the exam. Also, I would say sorry if I did hurt them! Even if the exam was necessary. Even if I didn’t mean to cause pain. And you know, when I apologised, they would reply, it’s ok, it needed to be done and you didn’t hurt me on purpose. It’s common decency, manners, respect!

  • Peter

    So being fit and healthy has something to do with being a westerner and white? I know people personally from all over the world who are not western or white and are fit an healthy. You are racist!

    • Lisa the Raptor

      No no no, being fit and healthy has to do with Privilege (Usually found among white , westerners), but I’m sure you know extremely wealthy people of all races.

      • Ash

        I didn’t know I wasn’t allowed to be healthy because I wasn’t rich!!! I will now stop looking for time to run since it is only for the privileged to get to do such things. How dare I trample into their territory. Also I will tell my black and asian friends to stop making money so they can fit into your tiny stereotypes.

        • LibrarianSarah

          I am going to guess you also don’t work 14 hour a day to make just enough money to be flat broke. Then come home and pull a second shift with your kids. You also can run because you are not physically disabled.

          Butreallykeep pretending that privillege doesn’t exist and that we live in a just world. It must be nice to live in a world were we have concord poverty, racism, classism, sexism, and physical disability. But we don’t live in that world and like or not you have privillege and it shows.

          • Mishimoo

            Also – “my black and asian friends” – how hard is it to just say “friends” without having to quantify them based on appearance?

  • Sue

    This info from her website might help explain things:
    ” When I first began writing, I was a single woman living in San Francisco recovering from an eating disorder after a string of fitness and beauty competitions.”

    • Anj Fabian

      I find it explains many things.

  • theNormalDistribution

    I want to know what her excuse will be for not being able to help her boys with their calculus homework when the time comes.

  • Thankfulmom

    I didn’t read all the replies so I may be repeating what someone else said. Is this the woman who admitted to having an eating disorder in the past?

    • SkepticalGuest

      Yes. Though some of us disagree with her use of the past tense.

      • Ash

        I think she looks strong and healthy. Does her saying something offensive make it okay for you, in turn, to accuse her of having an eating disorder? Muscle tone on a woman does not equal disorder. That sounds sexist. It would be okay for a guy look muscular though I guess. But a woman should not step out of her place.

        • fiftyfifty1

          “Muscle tone on a woman does not equal disorder. ”

          You’re right, it doesn’t. But shaming other women for NOT having muscle tone (especially in the postpartum period) indicated a serious over-valuation of body image and appearance. This over-valuation is one of the hallmarks of an eating disorder. In addition, eating disorders often morph over time. They may start out as anorexia or bulimia, but later improve on the eating front only to worsen on the compulsive exercise front. To wonder whether this could be the case with this woman is not an unreasonable question.

  • Lisa the Raptor

    See the real issue here is that weight is not a reliable indicator of health anyway, not in the way she sees it. I’m skinny as a rail and am so because of chronic pancreatitis. So what if the girl my height who is 30 pounds overweight (based on the insane BMI system), is healthier than I am? I’m Skinneh!

    • Lisa the Raptor

      Not to mention my SIL who works out like it is her job, eats perfectly healthy, does not smoke and drinks very little has cholesterol off the freaking chart because IT’S GENETIC!

      Even thought I may weight the same as this woman, I would not look like that undressed because carrying three kids has made it’s mark, to be simple, my genetics didn’t leave me looking the same way she does even when I didn’t gain more than 30 pounds a pregnancy Again It’s GENETICS! Bah!

    • KarenJJ

      Yeah that was me. Skinny with an undiagnosed chronic syndrome. Not so healthy.

  • SkepticalGuest

    Amy, I HEART you for posting this. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Hating “fat” people, especially “fat” women, is one of the few remaining prejudices that seems to be tolerated no matter what your philosophical or political persuasion is.

    Sadly, these women can’t see past their own bigotry to realize exactly what you said about the scientific data–those of us who are slightly overweight (especially if we eat decently and get a modicum of exercise) are actually the healthiest.

    These rich bigots also can’t see that their flat abs and toned bodies require HUGE resources–money for healthy food, money for the gym, and money for childcare so there is time to work out–or, perhaps, money to hire services, like housekeepers, to do the work most of us do at night after our spouses come home, which frees up time for that trip to the gym, or that run, or whatever.

    • OBNurse

      I have a “frenemy” who has a big wallet and ONLY buys and eats organic food and uses only expensive, green cleaners and diapers etc. She is so judgemental towards me b/c I simply can’t afford to eat/live that way. She shrugs her shoulders and says to me, Pay for it Now, or Pay for it later. It’s infuriating. If I bought the same groceries as she does, I probably couldn’t pay the heating bill. What annoys me most is that these hard core fitness fanatics/lactivists/granola crunchers are so eff’ing pretentious about it.

      • Young CC Prof

        Actually, what bugs me about people like that is whether they’ve really thought through what they’re buying and doing, or if they’re just buying it because the label says “organic” or “natural.”

        There are lots and lots of things I simply cannot have in the house, because I have so many allergies, but “green” doesn’t enter into it. Heck, sometimes the allergies save me money, because I wind up cleaning the house with plain water, and most of the personal care products I can tolerate aren’t the priciest ones, either. The people who try to push those expensive green products on me are so arrogant about how it’s the best, and it’s totally safe. They haven’t got a clue.

        Eating cheesy poofs and cookies instead of actual meals is a situation where pay for it now or later might possibly apply. Buying cheap appliances or clothes that fall apart in a day, same deal. But fancy green cleansers, as opposed to vinegar and water? Not really seeing the “later” price tag.

        • thepragmatist

          My son’s first MASSIVE allergy response was to an “organic” sunscreen my obnoxiously alt-med MIL forced on him despite me asking her to stop, because she was giving him rash after rash. While finally, she did it, and put him in the hospital with hives over 75% of his body. What ended up working was the cheapest Banana Boat sunscreen. LOL

          ETA: God, I am glad I am divorced from that family. All the deprivation and struggles of a single mom ain’t nothing compared to having to live with that woman up in my business constantly. She was so overbearing and protected her philandering, con-artist son to the last moment. And they tried to take my baby because I was disabled (and failed miserably), and while they had him, failed to treat a chest infection and instead used homeopathy for TEN DAYS until they dumped him at my door struggling to breathe and off to the hospital we went for chest x-rays and real medicine. Negligent woman. I have a hate-on for all alt-med.

          • Young CC Prof

            Heh. I’m now allergic to ALL sunscreen. I have a large hat instead.

            And yes, the arrogance of the alt-med people is so offensive. If the alt-med fails, it’s because you did it wrong, or you thought the wrong thoughts, or you ate a piece of bread, or a sauce with preservatives. It’s never because the alt-med just didn’t work. And “Science doesn’t know everything” therefore science can’t possibly be used to prove that they are wrong.

      • fiftyfifty1

        My term for it is “Food Prude”.

        • KarenJJ

          Good term for it.

      • Sue

        “Organically” grown foods might be good for the soil because they are generally grown without pesticides, but they aren’t actually any better nutritionally – there is lots of evidence that shows this.

        Cotton diapers aren’t any ”holier” across their life-cycle, if you consider cotton-growing (water, chemicals) and laundering.

        Hit her with a bit of real evidence. And a few pertinent questions.

        “Oh – was that cotton organically grown? What was the water consumption on that farm?”

        ”Why is your green cleaner coloured green? Isn’t that articifical coloring? And why is it in a plastic bottle? SHouldn’t you just re-fill a glass bottle with homemade vinegar?”

        etc

        • Elizabeth A

          Oh you can hit her so much harder then that about cotton. How much slave labor was involved at each stage of production?

          • Young CC Prof

            Like I said on the knitting post, cotton is one of the most evil crops on the planet, organic or not. It’s brutal to the soil and brutal to the workers. Heck, the reason peanuts became so popular in the USA was because the Old South farmers were desperate for something that would grow on land exhausted by a hundred years of cotton.

          • Zornorph

            Cotton killed the South Aral Sea.

          • thepragmatist

            I like to hang around here because every so often I get a good starting point for a wikistroll … Last week, it was that Razing Ruth blog that turned out to be a scam (and I’m still reading it, it’s actually pretty good even if she was lying) and now I’ve learned something about the Soviet Union I probably should’ve absorbed at some point but didn’t even know. I had no idea cotton has been so environmentally destructive. I’m such a geek. Thanks for giving me a few more hours of reading while I preside over a child sleeping off the norovirus. ;)

          • Zornorph

            Glad you found it interesting. I have this fantasy that someday the Aral Sea will come back, but I realize it’s probably never going to happen. King Cotton has taken all the water.

          • thepragmatist

            Where do you live? Are you in the former USSR then? I want to watch that movie Psy — but I can’t find a good download. It’s apparently filmed there and sounds post-apocalyptic. Nothing goes with norovirus like some good post-apocalyptic cannibal dog hunting.

          • Zornorph

            No, I live in The Bahamas – about as far away from the Aral Sea as you can get. :) But it caught my interest after seeing some satellite photos of it shrinking. And I’ve been interested in it ever since – one of my weird little things. I am glad that there has been some recovery of the North Aral Sea, but the South Aral Sea looks like it’s totally screwed.

          • thepragmatist

            First of all, I think it’s interesting that as time passes we are learning all of the things that the USSR desperately wanted to hide. So many failed experiments and disasters. It’s fascinating and sad. What really got my interest at one point was that so much of their scientific work was lost during the fall of the USSR: the fridges and labs degraded rapidly without maintenance and electricity. It really was the death of a separate civilization in a sense. And so fast. I get really into ghost towns and lost missiles and so on, too. And lost lakes apparently. It doesn’t stop there: safe to say I am just as much a geek about WW2. I once spent an entire weekend reading about tank manufacturing in Canada during WW2 and at other times I’ve read the entire collection of Hilter’s and Churchill’s speeches, in chronological order, back to back. This is what I do for fun! Perhaps this is why I am divorced. Twice. I would rather be reading.

            It’s also how I found this site, because I got obsessive about reading about pregnancy and birth politics and I never really left here, even though I will never have another child.

            So I suppose I shall pass the night tonight reading about EVERY SINGLE DEAD LAKE IN THE WORLD. Haha. Thanks… ;)

          • thepragmatist

            And the Bahamas… ugh! So jealous! The sun is setting at 4pm here and it’s raining and miserable. Can we trade places?

          • Young CC Prof

            The fall of the USSR really was catastrophic. Double-digit negative economic growth for years. There were widespread epidemics of freaking dipheria, of all things. For a while, the abortion rate in Russia was higher than the live birth rate, which is usually a sign that people are incredibly unhappy and unhopeful.

            Things have improved somewhat the past decade, though they’re still trying to be horribly oppressive politically.

          • Spiderpigmom

            OT, still yesterday I was wondering what’s with the North-American obsession with peanut butter. It’s not necessarily atrocious, but even the best ones are not very good at all — and they put it in everything. :-)

          • Young CC Prof

            Peanut butter is the staff of life! It’s cheap and never spoils. Smooth-textured and every bite tastes the same means it appeals to preschoolers, especially picky eaters. And as quintessentially American food goes, it’s fairly nutritious.

          • An Actual Attorney

            This is where the rest of the world is just wrong. Peanut Butter is the most amazing food. Fresh ground is heaven on earth.

          • Trixie

            You could argue that organic cotton is just as bad, because of how labor intensive it is, and how much land it takes to grow it.

          • Young CC Prof

            The cotton growers who did so much damage to the soil in places like Georgia WERE growing organically. With pre-industrial tools and slave (or later heavily exploited paid) labor.

        • knottymama

          You’re going a bit overboard trying to deny the benefits for consumers and the planet of organic foods and cloth diapering. I can not afford to follow the golden standard of healthy natural living either, but I try. In fact I clean my entire home with vinegar. Though in my circles this gets me looked down upon because my home doesn’t smell like lemon pine-sol and glade air freshener lol.

          • Young CC Prof

            Cloth diapering, yes. Organic food, well, the organic label isn’t enough, you have to consider the whole resource chain going in to producing and transporting the food. Working conditions of farm and food-processing laborers may also be relevant.

            It’s worth thinking about where the stuff you buy comes from, but people who get taken in by corporate greenwashing and then get arrogant about it annoy me.

          • Wren

            Organic foods imported from far away really are not likely to be better than non-organic but locally grown foods. I probably didn’t do the cloth diapering thing right either, especially when I bought a diaper imported from Australia. I did love it though. I hoped it was balanced out by the diapers made from recycled towels my son wore at night. Those things were incredibly absorbent, especially when paired with locally knitted wool soakers (from locally reared sheep even).

          • thepragmatist

            Well, Wren, you officially outcrunched the entire freaking thread.

          • Wren

            I spent a while being pretty crunchy, but the diapers my son wore at night (not made by me as I can’t sew at all) and the wool soakers (also not made by me) were used because the boy could soak through anything, including disposables.

          • thepragmatist

            Local wins over organic, IMO.

          • resaurus

            Thank you for mentioning the laborers, Young CC Prof. It takes so much more work to produce edible locally-grown, organic food, and that burden is born by the immigrant workers who harvest the fields. They work incredibly long hours at back-breaking work, without the worker protections many of us in the U.S. take for granted, often without overtime or health insurance. The most haunting statement I ever heard about their situation was re: why people care more about the care of animals used for organic meat versus the welfare of the workers who harvest your organic eggplant? “[Consumers] don’t eat the workers.”

          • Trixie

            Actually, since organic requires far more cultivated land and more fertilizer to yield the same crops, and in many cases still uses pesticides, you could argue that GMO crops are better for the environment.

          • vyx

            Acre per acre it seems as if gmo crops produce either the same yield or slightly less than organically grown crops. The difference is in the man hours it takes per acre.

          • Trixie
          • knottymama

            Oh good lord, that’s such a crock! The information is readily available on frankenfoods and the social, environmental, health, and economic havoc they wreak.

          • Trixie

            You’re right. From now on I’m just going to eat teosinte. Not evil, hybridized corn that’s been genetically engineered by evil humans over thousands of years.

        • thepragmatist

          I’ve recently discovered vinegar and I LOVE IT! It’s great and cheap and can be done on a dime. And it works all over the place. I always kind of frowned on it but now I’m really happy because it’s the only thing that takes the smell of mildew out of my front loader and towels! Awesome sauce!

        • resaurus

          Organically-grown, local food isn’t great for the people who harvest it, either. The industry relies upon the extremely cheap, arduous labor of immigrant workers. Here is an WNYC article/radio piece I heard on the subject (re: the local, organic movement in New York): http://www.wnyc.org/story/252235-upstate-new-york-immigrant-farmworkers-are-hidden-part-locally-grown-food-movement/

        • theNormalDistribution

          No commercially grown foods are grown without pesticides. “Organic” farms use organic pesticides. Whether or not they’re good for the soil is a matter up for debate, because we don’t know much about the safety of organic pesticides. Unlike synthetic pesticides, which are pretty much at known quantity at this point, very little research has been done on the safety of organic pesticides. There is some evidence that they are actually pretty dangerous, comparatively.

          http://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~lhom/organictext.html

    • auntbea

      Or manual labor and insufficient access to food. But I doubt that is the explanation here.

      • fiftyfifty1

        That’s an interesting thought. Privileged women delivering in their homes so they can pretend to be from some unspoiled native people. Privileged women purging their food and pumping iron at the gym so they can look as if they led the sorts of lives that didn’t have enough food or any leisure. Very weird when you think about it.

        • Young CC Prof

          And in many poorer societies, especially in past eras, beautiful women are round and soft-bodied, with soft hands and untanned skin: the mark of someone who’s never had to any sort of physical work. It’s all about status symbols.

    • Ash

      I’m confused why you guys are saying only “privileged” people can be in shape. Some young people who are not “privileged” go on to have athletic careers. And there are some “underprivileged?” moms who can find a way to exercise somehow. I find your stereotyping that athletes/athletic types are “rich bigots” (of course who doesn’t like a little name calling?) offensive. I also, personally, as a woman do not want to be considered “soft”. I find it disgusting that you people are taking things so far in the opposite direction that you are bashing women who look strong and being presumptuous about their lives. I don’t see how it is any better to bash a woman for having a physically strong appearance. Let me clarify, I am not trying to say anything mean about overweight people. But how can you say that that would be wrong and make all kinds of presumptions about people who are smaller? I could make stereotypes about overweight people and that would be wrong. But small people are fair game?

      • Wren

        In general, having the time and money to exercise the way this woman does and eat a more healthy diet are tied to privilege. Yes, there are always exceptions, but there are very few mothers of three young children who could even begin to spend the same amount of time exercising as this woman, and the majority are privileged. When you work two jobs to feed and house your kids and live in a food desert, working out that many hours a week, whether in a gym or just at home, really is not a priority or even a possibility.

      • fiftyfifty1

        You are also making an assumption by creating the false dichotomy of “physically strong” vs. “overweight”. Lots of overweight women are also physically strong. You can be both! Look at female shot-put throwers and competitive weight lifters. Lots of strength and muscle there but no visible “muscle tone”. Strong AND soft. I have absolutely no problem with fit-appearing petite women. I’m one myself. But I also know that it’s not a sign of moral superiority or automatic guarantee of health.

  • Anaesthetist

    Do I really need an ‘excuse?’

    I really want to do a series of womens photos listing their achievements to parody this

    eg Marie Curie – I discovered two new elements – whats your excuse?

    • Captain Obvious

      I have delivered more babies today than she has her whole life. I help correct a women’s DKA at 27 weeks this week. I have made hundreds of women happy and feel good about themselves this month. I have operate on several women correcting year long issues they were having. I have provided support to women who have miscarried or were diagnosed with cancer. I have removed condylomata and molluscum from a couple of different women making them happier too.
      “What’s your excuse”

  • Squillo

    What’s Ms. Kang’s excuse for not being a Nobel-winning scientist? A Pullitzer-winning journalist? The CEO of a multi-national corporation? The founder of a billion-dollar philanthropic organization?

    What’s that you say, Ms. Kang? You’re not interested in doing those things? They’re difficult to attain because some combination of genetics and your environment/education/socio-economic circumstances put them out of your reach? No excuses. How dare those without significant intellectual or cultural accomplishments expect to be accepted and treated without discrimination?

    • araikwao

      One upvote is not enough :)

    • GiddyUpGo123

      Can you please post this on her blog?

  • araikwao

    More than a hint of weirdness (to me at least) about her doing such a “admire me for my hotness” pose in super-skimpy clothing with her young children sitting right there.

    • AmyP

      It will be weirder to repeat the shot 10 years from now.

  • Lynnie

    I have never been “thin”, even while running cross country in high school. In fact, when I got down to a near my “ideal weight” I had people accuse me of being anorexic. (This was before I learned about bone structure and how much that can affect a person’s weight. I have lumberjack Alaskan genes and I was trying to fit my large frame in a small frame.) I genetically tend to be a little larger (of course, right now I am a lot heavier than even my large frame needs to be), and my ideal weight may be heavier than another person at the same height. That picture is nothing new, it has been around for several months at least. It doesn’t really offend me. I just know that some people naturally look like that and others (like me) have to struggle to keep a healthy weight.

    Yes, for some women, breastfeeding and staying thin isn’t a lot of work at all. But there are a huge amount of women who has kinda lost the genetic lottery. I have a family history of diabetes, obesity, heart problems, and even infertility and breastfeeding issues. So it’s work to counter act my genetics.

    I have suspicions that people like Maria Kang and the Alpha Mom are people that didn’t have genetics fighting against their goals. I have struggled with my weight my whole life, took years to get pregnant, and once my son was born, had breastfeeding issues. I will never look like Maria Kang, I didn’t look like that in high school. And if I hadn’t “cheated” on breastfeeding, I’m sure my son would have had failure to thrive and if I was particularly stubborn about it, he would have starved.

    We need to accept our bodies, imperfections and all.

    • Lynnie

      Oh, and went I said Alaskan lumberjack genes, I meant it literally. I am a third generation Alaskan. The granddaughter of homesteaders. Both my father and grandfather worked in the logging industry. (My grandfather did it with handsaws instead of chainsaws.)

    • Maya Markova

      Genetics definitely is a factor.
      I am thin (so is my husband), my friend is overweight (so is her husband), we have boys the same age. When they were babies, her son wanted 2 slices of bread for breakfast at an age when a bottle of milk kept my son perfectly sat till lunch!
      When I was a child, I was skinny. So was my husband, judging from the photos. So are our sons now. My MiL is anxious because of this. She fears that people will think we do not feed our kids well. In summer, she always insists that they wear knee-long trousers instead of shorts, so that their skinny upper legs are hidden from view. I am angry, because sun exposure is important for kids (esp. skinny ones) and because I think skinny children’s bodies are beautiful in their own way, there is nothing to hide here. Not to mention that broad knee-long trousers actually do not fit skinny boys. The slightest wind comes as the moment of truth :-).

    • thepragmatist

      Agree so strongly. I have a ton of genetics against me, too. Tyranny of the healthy. Ain’t life grand!

  • Gwen Barnes

    Amy, I am perplexed by your assertion that “the scientific evidence actually shows that being slightly overweight is healthiest.” This article (http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1784291) concludes that “there is no healthy pattern of increased weight”. I originally saw the article discussed here: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2013/12/02/248206955/overweight-and-healthy-a-combo-that-looks-too-good-to-be-true Have you seen the article and what do you think of it?

    • Young CC Prof

      Some studies do find that the mildly overweight live longer than the thin, but they mostly didn’t separate out the obvious factor of pre-existing illness. If you’re dying of cancer or liver failure, you’re probably going to get pretty thin before you die.

      Now, it does seem like gaining a little weight as you get older is a sign of health. If you’re thin at 20, it’s normal to weigh a bit more at 40 or 50. Again, though, it’s tough to sort out cause and effect.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        The NHANES studies supposedly corrected for pre-existing illness. I admit I don’t know what exactly they did or how effective it was. But there is at least some doubt that pre-existing illness alone explains everything. My personal guess is that if a thin person has, say, borderline hypertension or cholesterol it gets blown off by practitioners because, after all, they’re skinny and so can’t get heart disease. A fatter person will get told that they should watch their diet or exercise more or get started on a statin and thus have the benefits that better diet, exercise, and statins provide in reducing cardiac risk factors. In other words, being fatter isn’t healthier per se, but it invokes behaviors that are healthier because of people’s assumptions about thinness. (Caution: the above is a guess, not a well documented hypothesis.)

        • Jen7

          Balance that by overweight people being less likely to go to the doctor. Why waste the money when so many doctors “prescribe” weight loss as a cure-all?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      The link to Annals fails for me.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Ok, found article and am puzzled, because the data to me looks like a bunch of not statistically significant differences, with the only really significant difference being metabolically healthy versus unhealthy.

    • JC

      This is what I thought the studies meant: If you are slightly overweight, but exercise and eat healthy, you will probably be healthier and live longer than a sedentary, thin person who eats fast food for every meal. That just seems like common sense to me. I’ve been about 5 to 10 pounds overweight for a long time, but I exercise and eat right, so I don’t freak out about being a “perfect” weight. And I am in my late 30s and have no health issues, I take no medications on a regular basis, and I almost never get sick or go to the doctor.

      • JC

        Having said that, I am referring to the study that came out a while back. I have not read the articles you mentioned above.

    • Hannah

      Strictly speaking the risk bottoms out at the high end of what would currently be called a healthy BMI:

      http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2009/05/12/obesity-a-new-study-and-what/

  • GiddyUpGo123

    I’m not a health professional so I really have no idea. But to me it seems like mental health ought to come before physical health, because if you’re overweight but otherwise happy I’m betting your overall health is better anyway. Less stress, less depression, etc … Personally I can’t see how you could even begin to tackle things like weight loss if you’re mentally unhappy or have poor self esteem. Mental health ought to come first–that way even if you don’t ever lose those extra pounds and you end up shaving a few years off your life because of it, at least you’ll be able to say you lived a good life and were happy.

    • B.

      Mental health ought to come first–that way even if you don’t ever GAIN
      those extra pounds and you end up shaving a few years off your life
      because of it, at least you’ll be able to say you lived a good life and
      were happy.

      FTFY (as Dr. Amy said, being slightly overweight is healthiest)

    • An Actual Attorney

      ‘Zackly. My anti-depressants made me gain some weight. But I’m much healthier than without them, because without them I’d be bleeding out on the kitchen floor. from self inflicted wrist wounds.

      • KarenJJ

        I’m overweight now, but the healthiest I’ve ever been now that my immune system is under control.

    • Sue

      Mental health and body image are apparently serious issues for this woman – her site says that she has recovered from bulimia. Under her list of accomplishments and award are a stack of body-building and modelling awards.

      Reminds me of so many people who pontificate on health because they have recovered from a disorder or addiction that most people never had to begin with. They tend to cycle from one extreme to another, while the rest of us tend to tread the happy medium.

  • Dr Kitty

    I wonder how much time Maria Kang spends exercising.
    I wonder who cares for her children while she exercises.
    I wonder who pays for that childcare.

    Because most people who work 40hr weeks and have to keep a home and clean and cook and care for 3 children simply don’t have the energy or opportunity to exercise for more than 15 or 30 minutes at a times.

    My husband runs or does weights every weeknight, and he does it while I make dinner and care for our child. If I wanted to exercise I’d have to do it at 5am or 9pm…which ain’t going to happen. Thankfully I’m blessed with the jockey-coxswain genes from my father, so weight has never been an issue and I have no huge impetus to exercise at unsociable hours.

    Perhaps Maria Kang needs to be grateful for the factors in her life which give her the opportunity to maintain her fitness regime, rather than belittling those who are not as fortunate, or who choose to use their time and resources differently.

    • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

      She’s a personal trainer – exercise IS Mrs. Kang’s work.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        So the answer is, “My excuse? I’m not a personal trainer who gets paid to join others in workouts.”

        • auntbea

          When I feel bad about not looking like a movie star, I remember their livelihood depends on being thin, and that therefore working out three and four hours a day is part of the job description. If working out was a requirement of my job, I imagine I would be quite thin too (because I try to be good at my job.)

          • fiftyfifty1

            I’m pretty sure nobody would cast me in any movie at any weight, so for me it’s a moot point.

      • Dr Kitty

        Well that explains it then!

        Her “excuse” is that she gets paid to exercise for 30 hours a week.
        We’d ALL bloody look like her if that was our job!

    • Wissa

      I wonder how much time Maria Kang spends exercising.
      I wonder who cares for her children while she exercises.
      I wonder who pays for that childcare

      This! Even being a SAHM I don’t have the time get back to my pre-baby self. Sure I could be thinner, but it would cost me more than just time…Babysitters are not cheap.

      • Allie

        Don’t say “even” being a SAHM… I think SAHMs have even less time than working moms, who at least get their lunch hours free.

        • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

          THIS. SO FREAKING MUCH. My god, it can take a week of plotting to get enough time to shave my legs and people “envy” all my “free time”

          • FormerPhysicist

            Yes, and some children are just easier than others. If she has high-sleep need children with easy temperaments who are happy to watch her exercise from in a playpen or room, she might not even need a gym out of the house.

          • Young CC Prof

            Some babies will happily sleep in a backpack while you go hiking or something. My father used to go cross-country skiing with me as luggage, and he claims I loved it.

            Some babies won’t put up with that, though. Others might not be sturdy enough physically to go outside so much. I know he didn’t try that trick when I was a newborn, only the winter I turned one.

          • Lisa the Raptor

            My third is the only one that would put up with this He is 18 months and I wear him at work 3-6 hours a day. It’s helpful but exhausting

        • KarenJJ

          Exactly. Working is my day off. I have friendly chats with other adults that are rarely interrupted, can drink a cup of coffee while it is still hot, go to the toilet without someone coming in and trying to pull me off and if someone makes a hideous mess it’s not my issue to deal with. Sometimes I get to go for a walk and yesterday I spent my lunch break at a toy shop (with a whole bunch of other parents in their work clothes) doing a bit of quiet Christmas shopping.

    • OBNurse

      Are we married to the same man? Mine has an hour lunch break every day to work out, prior to that, he went after work while I was at home chasing toddlers. He suggested I go at 6am or after I put the kids to bed. But why stop at one excuse? Middle age, hypothyroidism that had gone untreated despite a diagnosis of hashimotos at age 26, for another 10 years (the good old wait and see approach! weight goes up! Weight goes down! Muscle weakness! Water retention! Extreme fatigue! Depression! Good times!) Shift work. Unreliable childcare (no, day cares don’t want to look after a shift worker’s kids). Guilt about leaving them at the unreliable babysitter longer than necessary. No housekeeper, cook, or personal shopper. Finances. And two children who play sports 4 evenings a week. I’m surprised I have time to sleep. My friend is a trainer and about once a month invites me to sign up for one of her thrice weekly bootcamps. I have tried explaining shift work and on call to her, how some weeks I am on days, others nights, and other times pick up shifts for extra $$ for essentials. She just.doesn’t.get.it. While I salute this woman for looking so great, I really think she doesn’t understand how lucky she has it.

      • resaurus

        I’m sure this permutation has come to the spouses with husband who work out every night but… what are the reasons you cannot rotate and split the after-work care so that 3 nights of the week he gets to work out (and adjust his workout plan so he does more during the time he has at the gym), then 4 nights you get to, and adopt the opposite schedule the next week? It does seem quite unfair that you don’t get the opportunity to exercise simply because your spouse called dibs first and that’s “just how it is.” It speaks to me that their suggestions are still for you to work around their established schedules – which calls for further sacrifice on your part – versus them making accommodations. It strikes me as yet another way for women to have to be “super women,” instead of saying “No, that doesn’t work for me” and finding a happy medium.

    • antigone23

      Not to mention, how will getting up at 5 am impact your health? Sleep is very important to health, and yet those who are more interested in body policing seem to think it’s best for everyone to sacrifice sleep to go to the gym. And doing vigorous exercise too late at night can also interfere with sleep. I’m a SAHM and I have a gym with included childcare that allows me to work out regularly at a reasonable hour. But I recognize this is privilege and not all people have it.

  • AL

    I’m pretty sure she’s Filipino-American like I am. Her name is Maria and she has a Chinese last name, that’s quite a typical of Filipinas around my age, and she looks Filipino. I’m sure she has self image issues based on her blog. She’s obsessed with her weight and seems to have logged every up and down she’s had HER WHOLE LIFE. She’s also saying that she started getting obsessed with “fitness” in high school. And no I don’t agree with that statement, it seems that she developed her eating disorder in high school. She’s also showing off (exploiting) her very fair skinned boys on top of showing off her body (from what I saw her husband is Caucasian). In the Philippines the more fair, more “mestiza” looking you are the more attractive you are considered. I have lived this first hand as my mom is very Caucasian looking and I was ALWAYS compared to how much I didn’t look like her since I looked very Filipino. She’s got all these image issues and I can see it so clearly considering I’ve lived it. I am a completely recovered bulemic, and a lot of that was tied to not feeling pretty because I wasn’t mestiza looking, which I wouldn’t be surprised is similar to her self image issues. (I am over that by the way. In my mid 20′s I basically woke up and realized there was nothing wrong with looking the way I looked). It just sucks that the way she deals with her insecurities is by being a total bitch to those that don’t fit the perfect body image she’s created in her head.

  • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

    Kang has an excuse – a very good one – she works as a personal trainer. Being toned and fit is her job – she can dedicate 35-40 hours a week to it. If she’s happy, good for her. I’m sure most women are “good” at the work they pursue – whether it is raising their children, being a health care provider, teaching, being a scientist, being a policy advisor or an academic. What I’m annoyed with is that Kang is pretending she doesn’t have an excuse – her physical appearance is directly a result of her ability to dedicate a lot of time and attention to it – it is what she has chosen as being a worthy pursuit. Is it something I’d choose – no, but that is because I value other things and would find the sacrifices needed to do what Kang does to be downright awful. I like good food – I like good wine – I like sleeping in an extra 20-30 minutes – I like playing with my kids – I like writing. I don’t need a toned body to feel good about myself, I need a sharp mind, I need meaningful work, and I need to set an example for my children of what I think is “a good human being”. In my books “a good human being” is tolerant, values themselves for their own gifts, and seeks to help and support others. In my books we don’t shame people for what they can’t do, we celebrate them for what they can do.

    • attitude devant

      So in other words, she’s basically drumming up business by shaming others? Great.

      • Elizabeth A

        Yup! As an ad for personal training services, this might well work.

        • Siri Dennis

          Anyone seen Dodgeball? You’ve only got yourself to blame if you don’t hate yourself enough to do something about your fat, flabby body.

    • Are you nuts

      That’s flipping unbelievable. She’s a personal trainer?!?!? Holy moly I can only imagine how good a shape I would be in… IF IT WERE MY JOB!!!!

  • Sorin

    And this woman obviously said, “I’ll see your 8 month postpartum body and raise you a day FOUR selfie!”

    http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/mom-under-fire-post-baby-body-selfie-215700858.html

    There is so much dysfunction in this kind of one upmanship.

    • Carolina

      Can the uterus really go down that quickly? Every woman I’ve ever seen at a few days post-partum, regardless of height or size, still has a really significant pooch.

      • anion

        The article mentions that people thought her pregnant belly looked awfully small, but it doesn’t have any solid info. I’d be interested to find out how big that baby was.

      • Lauren

        I didn’t have much of a pooch after my kids – just a lot of luck and not a ton of weight gain in pregnancy (also luck) I presume.

      • mom4474

        My first thought was, “Where is she hiding the industrial-size maxi pad that I was wearing 4 days postpartum!?” I have a really hard time believing this picture is real.

        • Siri Dennis

          She’s wearing a tiny pink jewel – encrusted tampon specially created for WAGs.

    • Zornorph

      Ew. Now that one really is too much of a frame.

    • Are you nuts

      That is so gross.

    • B.

      She probably took the “after” shot early in the pregnancy and the “9 months pregnant” shot at 5 months.

    • Siri Dennis

      That’s me, that is. On a bad day. See that gap between her thighs? She stole that from me.

  • Burgundy

    Actually she is promoting the typical wealth Asians point of view. Girls only worth something by how many sons she produced and how thin she is. The TV programs in Taiwan are terrible, they wants the girls to have “a child face but with big boobs” and thin like a paper doll.

    • B

      So she was showing off her three sons (and their whiteness) as well as her fitness?

      • Burgundy

        I take it that way. Girls back home also want to have “white skin”. I have random women asked me on the street in Taiwan “How did I get my daughter’s skin so pale, did I drink a lots of milk when I was pregnant?” (Myth — if you eat a lot of “white color” food, like milk, rice etc, during pregnancy, your baby will have pale skin tone). I really want to reply something like “No lady, you need to divorce your Asian husband and married a white due, then your kid will have my daughter’s skin tone.”

  • Zornorph

    All I know is I really, really want to have sex with Maria Kang. The very definition of a MILF.
    (Oddly, I usually go for the more curvy look, but I’ve always had a thing for Pacific Island women. Probably from watching Mutiny on the Bounty.)

    • Therese

      Just curious, is that something you’d be willing to announce at a dinner party? If not, why do you think it is appropriate to come on here and discuss your sexual urges in front of hundreds of people? What makes you think anyone wants to know who you want to have sex with?

      • Zornorph

        Well, first of all, depending on the dinner party, yes, I might. More to the point, this woman is clearly putting herself out there as promoting her sexual attractiveness. Why does it offend you so much that I say so?

        • Burgundy

          “dang, how bad does she want to get lay?” popped into my mind when I saw this picture for the first time couple months ago. ;p

          • anion

            Considering that she seems to have had three children in about as many years, I don’t think the availability of sex is a problem for her. :-)

          • Elizabeth A

            Didn’t used to be, but baby, she’s got three mobile kids in the house now.

        • Therese

          So if you saw a woman dressed like that working out at the gym, would you feel that you were entitled to go up to her and express your desire to her to have sex with her? If not, why not, since clearly the only reason a woman would show that much skin is if she wants random men to have sex with her, right?

          • Zornorph

            No, I would never go up to a random woman and express my desire to sleep with her (unless I was really drunk, in which case she’d be justified in slapping me). But to me the message of this picture is (for men) ‘Don’t you want me? and (for women) ‘Don’t you want to be me?’

          • Elizabeth A

            As a human being with a working brain, when I encounter the want her/want to be her thing, I’ve learned to think on it. Do you want her? Dude, I don’t know. Maybe she’s the kind of person that your favorite advice columnist’s most entertaining pieces are about. You have no way of knowing. Do I want to be her? Well, maybe she’s the kind of person my favorite advice columnist’s most entertaining pieces are about.

            Just because the photographer wants me to think a thing doesn’t mean that I have to go along with it.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            So let’s change it. If you saw some woman in the gym, you’d certainly tell your buddies there, “I’d sure like to hit that! Ha ha ha” right?

            I have no doubt you would. And you know what? As an adult male, you know what my response would be? I’d roll my eyes. I’d probably be too polite to tell you to grow up, but that’s what I’d be thinking.

            It’s not funny, it’s not cute. Speaking as a guy, other guys that do crap like that are annoying. It’s lame college boy behavior.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        What makes you think anyone wants to know who you want to have sex with?

        I agree. Besides, it pretty much goes without saying…

        Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
        Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
        Harry Burns: No you don’t.
        Sally Albright: Yes I do.
        Harry Burns: No you don’t.
        Sally Albright: Yes I do.
        Harry Burns: You only think you do.
        Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?
        Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.
        Sally Albright: They do not.
        Harry Burns: Do too.
        Sally Albright: They do not.
        Harry Burns: Do too.
        Sally Albright: How do you know?
        Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.
        Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?
        Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ‘em too.

        • Therese

          Yes, that is pretty much exactly it. I’m not surprised that any straight male would want to have sex with Maria Kang but why they think it necessary to announce it out loud baffles me.

          • Zornorph

            Well, look we were discussing balls of yarn up women’s vaginas a couple of days ago. I really didn’t expect anybody here would be offended by me saying I wanted to have sex with somebody.

    • Elizabeth A

      Ow. Zornorph, that was just tacky. And a couple kinds of creepy, including racist. Yes, we discussed vaginal knitting a few days ago, but there’s still a line you just tap danced across there.

      Can we please just delete the term “MILF” from the culture entirely? Get a time machine, rewrite a couple of American Pie movies, find their sources and stomp on them?

      • Zornorph

        Was that where the term MILF came from? I have no idea. But I thought the source for that scene was ‘The Graduate’, so you’d have to re-write that movie, too.
        I really didn’t mean to offend anybody and I do apologize but I do not see how me saying I find Pacific Island women pretty is racist.

        • Elizabeth A

          On the Pacific Island thing:
          1. Filipina. In this case. Pacific Islands, they’re not all the same.
          2. Eroticizing the exotic can be quite racist. It’s not a compliment.

          3. Creepy colonialist overtones.
          4. “I’ve always had a thing for Pacific Island women” – doesn’t seem to mean that you’ve spoken to any. If you had, you might have a better handle on the not-all-the-same-island. So no, you don’t “have a thing” for them. You like the way they look in some movies and some pictures.

          • Zornorph

            Well, we’re getting somewhat off topic, here, but I did want to respond because you are making a few assumptions. While it’s true that my first exposure to Pacific Island women was movies, I had a good friend in HS who was from those parts and I’ve also got a good friend who is married to a Filipina. I really don’t see how it’s any different from saying one has a thing for redheads. I’m well aware that people in Oceania have very different features from island to island – I’ve actually been to both Christmas Island and the Tahitian islands. Really not at all sure where you are getting that there’s something ‘colonialist’ about it. As for exotic, sometimes that appeals to me (I had a thing for Grace Jones back in the 1980′s, that’s pretty exotic) and sometimes it doesn’t. How is it racist to be attracted to somebody who is exotic? I think that’s just a human reaction.
            Incidentally, speaking of Mutiny on the Bounty, Marlin Brando actually wound up marrying one of his co-stars from the islands.

          • auntbea

            It’s generally considered gross to have an Asian fetish because A) It groups all members of a race into a category of physical appearance, and thereby suggests that all people of X race are interchangeable. If you like brunettes (or whatever), then say so, and leave race out of it: I notice, for example that you can like redheads without making statements about the Irish.

            B) Usually when someone is attracted to an entire race, specifically, it is because they believe those people are “exotic”, when, in fact, most “exotic” people would prefer just to be their ordinary selves.

            C) Many women like to be appealing because of who they are, not because they got a certain eye-shape in the genetic lottery

            D) What many men who have an Asian fetish *really* like is the stereotypical patriarchal Asian culture and the idea of a woman who will keep house and home, put out, and keep her eyes down.

            E) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it’s cliche.

          • Zornorph

            I really will drop this after this, but I just wanted to add a few points. With regard to item ‘D’, I can’t speak for the average guy, but I am not interested in women ‘who will keep house and home, etc’ – I mean, I’m a single dad by choice, if that’s what I wanted, I’d have gone for a mail order bride.
            As for the whole exotic thing, that cuts across all lines – people from other regions will find Europeans exotic – that was half the plot of King Kong.
            And finally, about comment ‘C’ – I mean, most men are attracted to appearances, at least on the first look. But it’s not just her body – I find that her motherhood actually is sexy in this case. Now it’s probably just my lizard brain responding to the proof of her fertility, but it’s certainly a factor. I’m sure if I got to know her there would be things that would take the bloom off the rose – she’s almost certainly way too ‘Type A’ for me. But she’s offering up a rather shallow representation of herself and that’s all I’m responding to.
            Don’t worry – lesson learned – I won’t share such thoughts in the future on this site. :-) My purpose is not to offend!

          • auntbea

            It does cut both ways. Which is how I know it is unpleasant for people talk about how they find your racial group attractive. A non-negligable number of men I talk to in Uganda tell me within five minutes of meeting me how much they LIKE white women. Even though I am the only white woman they have ever interacted with in person, so it is impossible for them to know how they feel about “white women”, even if we assume that all white women are the same. I therefore understand why many Asian women in the US similarly do not like having white men consistently tell them how much they like Asian women.
            Seriously, this is a real thing and many people feel strongly about it. You should probably not share statements like that on any mainstream site, unless you are willing to get pushback,

          • fiftyfifty1

            “As for the whole exotic thing, that cuts across all lines – ”

            If it cut across all lines, Asian men would be considered a hot item. So obviously this is not just some universal attraction to “the other”.

          • Young CC Prof

            Well, I definitely know some Asian men who are into white women. That’s a thing. Not sure how it plays out with the genders reversed.

          • auntbea

            At least in experiments in the US, Asian men are consistently found to be the least attractive by women of all races. Which is not something I really understand (although my husband is Korean and I think he is quite dreamy, so perhaps I am unusual.)

          • AmyP

            “What many men who have an Asian fetish *really* like is the stereotypical patriarchal Asian culture and the idea of a woman who will keep house and home, put out, and keep her eyes down.”

            From what I hear, some of them are in for a BIG surprise.

          • Young CC Prof

            Young CC Prof imagines her tiny Chinese mother-in-law with eyes down. Ever, to anyone, even as a young bride. Brain explodes.

          • thepragmatist

            My brother has had quite few “Asian” girlfriends, none of whom I would call demure, and one of him who gave him quite the cuff in the face when they were breaking up!

          • fiftyfifty1

            I’ll take it one step further. Can you imagine a culture where one of the first things that someone says when describing a man is if he is a “brunette” or a “redhead” or “a blond”. e.g. “I met this blond last week at the gym and….”

      • thepragmatist

        I’m half-heartedly dating in my “spare” time (like you know, that time I don’t have to spare) and I’ve been called a MILF so much that I might actually punch the next person who calls me a MILF. I HATE THAT TERM SO MUCH. It’s just so abasing. And it combines two things– mothering and fucking– that should never ever go together! And these guys think this is a compliment. GAH!

    • Karen in SC

      I wasn’t offended by this. If the post was had a picture of a hot stud, I might say something similar.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “If the post was had a picture of a hot stud”

        Well I won’t hold my breath for that. It’s hard to imagine a society where new dads felt they needed to prove their worth by posing in their undies with their toddlers. Where they needed an “excuse” if they looked in any way different from how they looked when they were younger. Where onlookers felt it was their birthright to comment on whether they were “FILFs” or not (bonus points for looking like “the exotics” that the onlookers were exposed to as horny teenagers!!)

    • auntbea

      I am not offended by mention of sex (on an OB board, duh) but I would prefer not to know that you have no criteria about who to enter into a sexual relationship other than how she looks in a photo.

  • Carolina

    I’ve read a considerable amount about this woman, and I don’t think she’s over her eating disorder at all. She’s just switched her focus a bit. She doesn’t write like a mentally healthy, secure individual. As a fellow recovered (ing?) bulimic, I’d feel sorry for her, if she weren’t so mean.
    And my excuse for not having her abs? I don’t need one :)

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Wait a minute! This woman had an eating disorder? And she’s telling others that they need to be as skinny as her?

      Holy smokes!

      • Carolina

        Yup. Bulimia. She also had a severely overweight, diabetic mother who missed Maria’s wedding because she was hospitalized due to some weight-related complication (according to Maria). It all sounds really sad. The woman has a seriously warped relationship with fat/fitness/health/food. But, she should work it out with a therapist instead of abusive rants from her “fitness” blog.

        • Squillo

          One wonders what her excuse for being bulimic was.

          Because like many obese people, she probably knew perfectly well that her bulimia was not healthy. The difference is that no one other than her family and medical providers thought it was their business, and no one believes that pointing out how unhealthy it is changes anything for bulimics.

          While she’s patting herself on the back, she would also do well to remember that the recurrance rate for bulimia, though less than that for overweight, is between 30 and 50% in the short term. There is little long-term data, so we don’t really know how bulimics generally fare long-term.

    • AmyP

      Yeah–no normal woman until about 1995 even realized she had abs. If you look at old-time cheesecake, those women had totally differently shaped bodies than what is currently fashionable. There’s a famous pin-up photo here of Betty Grable.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pin-up_girl

      There’s no way that Betty Grable’s rear end would pass muster these days.

      • Dr Kitty

        The reason the photo of Betty Grable was taken from that angle in the first place was because she was pregnant and the studio wanted to conceal the bump…

        • AmyP

          Aha!

          I assumed it was just because they wanted to showcase her rear view, but that makes sense, too.

      • Allie

        Ha! Nope, she totally has mum-bum.

    • fiftyfifty1

      A number of my patients who work as personal trainers have a history of eating disorders. Also nutritionists.

      • KarenJJ

        That’s what I’d heard too. Not sure where though. Don’t think I’d be racing to a nutritionist for eating advice…

        • Sue

          There are trained dieticians who do sensible things like help diabetics, and then there is new-agey pseudo-scienific dietism that follows fads – from fructose-is-poison to wheat-is-toxic, from all carbs to no carbs, and lots of kale and green smoothies. Saturated fats and coconut oil are very ”in” at the moment.

          Lots of personal trainers and ”wellness” providers seem to have a layman’s misunderstanding of physiology and chemistry, and add some faddiness they read about.

          • Young CC Prof

            It’s tough to fully separate the two. I saw a dietician a few times who was about half and half: Mostly about reasonable portions of a variety of foods, but with random myths thrown in, like probiotics cure allergies. Also, she kept telling me that X expensive packaged food was way healthier than Y packaged food, but when I read the label, I couldn’t see how.

          • Laura

            I’m not too fond of personal trainers.
            I think that some of them really overdo it and I’m not so sure those protein shakes that some people take are that good.

      • Dr Kitty

        I have a (male) friend who is a personal trainer.
        He can eat 6000 calories a day because he works out constantly, and he did a degree in sports science.

        Him, I trust for advice about exercise.
        Ms Kang…not so much.

        • thepragmatist

          When I was running and dancing, I had to eat about 4000 calories a day to maintain a reasonable weight. I actually had to cut back on running because I was just not capable of eating that much. It was a balancing act. I enjoyed my newly womanly body (I was about 24 when I recovered) but I loved to run and dance. Too far and I would lose my boobs and my butt, and that was no good.

          I have a six pack right now and cut arms, but I’m parenting a toddler and I’m at least 15 pounds underweight. I weigh myself every time I go to the doctor (do not keep a scale at home) and celebrate every pound I can hold onto and eat those god awful replacement drinks in between meals.

  • tacticalnuke

    Maria Kang fails at imagining other people complexly. Or herself, for that matter.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Just by eyeballing the picture, I’d say that there’s a good chance that Kang is underweight. Being underweight is associated with a higher mortality rate than being normal, overweight or, even, IIRC, mildly obese. Why is Kang promoting an unhealthy lifestyle?

    • GuestB

      Shit, really? I am that seriously thin person – though not at all on purpose. I wasn’t even ON the growth chart when I was growing up. I eat normally. Do I really have a higher mortality rate? Yikes!

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        Hard to say. This is based on the NHANES data, which is population and aggregate. People who are naturally thin may not be at risk in the way that, maybe, people who are dieting are. There was some attempt made to correct for illness (i.e. sudden weight loss), but I don’t know how thorough it was. Osteoporosis is higher in thin people, so watch your vitamin D levels and exercise. I also have a suspicion that cardiovascular risks get blown off in thin people so be aware that you can get heart disease (though you’re probably lower risk than a fatter person) and don’t ignore your chest pain, if it occurs. Other than that, I wouldn’t worry too much. The population level numbers may not apply to you personally.

        • GuestB

          That was great info. Thanks! I feel better now :-)

    • fiftyfifty1

      No, she’s not underweight. I eyeball her at a BMI of 20-21 (I do this for a living).

  • anon

    Truthfully, I’m sick of fat people blaming everything but themselves for being fat…only here is fat a disease of poverty

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Why should they blame themselves?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      And yet here (in the US and most of the western world), fat is a disease of poverty. It’s hard to get perfectly balanced, ADA approved food if you don’t have a grocery store in your neighborhood. Or can’t afford an apartment with a kitchen. Or work 100+ hours/week (not unusual for a poor person in the US). Or don’t have time to go to the gym every day. Or have insulin dependent diabetes and are always hungry due to the insulin. Or have an autoimmune disease and are on steroids constantly. Or are stressed by poverty and racism and have high levels of endogenous steroids. And so on.

      • Carolina

        Nicely said. I think it takes considerably privilege to stay fit in American society. It’s a societal problem that needs societal solutions, not fat-shaming. I’m sure most overweight people feel plenty bad about their weight.

      • Sorin

        And don’t forget that there’s a high level of “just don’t give a sh$t” because everything in my life is so damn hard, so I’m going to have hot chips and juice drink for breakfast if I damn well please.

        And I say this as someone who grew up in one of those impoverished food-desert neighborhoods where all the “fresh” food at the corner food was expired and rotting. (Yes, even the canned food.) It was actually safer to buy the Doritos.

        • Kate B

          Yep. That’s true.
          Often, the only healthy meals I’ve been able to produce within budget have been so bland that my kids have refused, point blank, to eat them.
          The temptation to just buy them a bag of fries and crisps – which is cheaper and which I know they will eat – is pretty big sometimes.

      • Bombshellrisa

        Poverty indeed. When I see those commercials that say “you can feed a family for pennies a day”, I know that those meals are going to be based on canned, frozen, or packaged high carb things that won’t include fresh fruit or veggies.

        • me

          Exactly. Cereal, ramen, mac n cheese – these are all super cheap foods. Also really, really bad for you.

          Not to mention the one-size-fits-all USDA guidelines that have been an overwhelming failure. Imagine telling people to eat 6-10 servings of grains per day (the same thing we feed to cows and pigs to fatten them up for slaughter), then seeing obesity and diabetes rates skyrocket. Whodathunkit?

          Sure, some people do seem to do well on a low fat, high carb diet. My husband is one of them – he could eat pasta six times a day and never gain an oz, so long as he keeps his fat intake in check. Other people do much better when their macros are more balanced (33-33-33, or some close approximation). And some of us (like myself) need to strictly limit carbs, and thrive on a high fat diet. But it’s easier to tell everyone to all follow the same recommendations, then claim that those who aren’t seeing good results must not understand the food pyramid and proceed to regurgitate the same tired advice into a drawing my first grader could have come up with. But telling people to try different ways of eating and find what works for them doesn’t lend itself to cute graphics…

          • Bombshellrisa

            When I saw what was on the WIC approved list, I wanted to scream.
            Couldn’t believe it.

          • AmyP

            I really like the new MyPlate with the plate split up into 4 quarters: starch, protein, fruit, veggie. That’s visually a lot more informative.

            The implicit message of the old food pyramid was “Pig out!”

          • me

            Except protein is not a food group (it’s a macro nutrient), fat is not mentioned at all, there is still too much grain being promoted, no distinction between whole and processed grains (at least not on the graphic itself), dairy is added as an afterthought (and in what appears to be liquid form, when obviously there are options like cheese and yogurt), no distinction between starchy and non-starchy veggies (so you could eat nothing but corn and potatoes and think you are meeting the requirements), juice is still considered an appropriate fruit serving, and on and on and on.

            Yes, there is an improvement, visually, over the pyramid. But I like the old 1940′s food wheel a lot better (back when obesity and diabetes were rare, and heart disease and stroke were also far less common):

            http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/MyPlate/ABriefHistoryOfUSDAFoodGuides.pdf

            Note that butter was its own food group (ah, the good old days) and you only “had” to eat one serving of grain per day. They also separated out potatoes and sweet potatoes from other types of veggies. It wasn’t perfect (we didn’t know how harmful margarine was back then, and it didn’t include serving sizes, for starters), but it strikes me as dramatically better than what we have today.

          • fiftyfifty1

            Ramen is pretty bad for you. Mac and cheese less so. Cereal on average is not bad.

          • me

            I don’t mean homemade mac n cheese, I mean the white pasta, powdered cheese, $.50/box stuff, especially when made with the new directions (margarine (trans fats, anyone?) and skim milk – wouldn’t want any pesky fat to slow down the metabolization of all that sugar, now would we?).

            Cereal, we may have to agree to disagree on that. I know it has been successfully marketed as a “health food”, but I think that is just that – successful marketing. I don’t think grains are inherently bad, but I do think we consume way, way too much of them. Sugary cereals are obviously not good, refined grain cereals, even without a lot of added sugar, spike your blood sugar and leave you hungrier later than if you hadn’t eaten at all, and whole grains contain phytic acid that interferes with the absorption of important vitamins and minerals, and they still cause a spike in blood sugar, it just is slightly less than with refined grains. And while they are promoted as “high fiber”, compared to non-starchy veggies and seeds or nuts, they are decidedly low fiber. They are only “high fiber” as compared to refined grain products.

            Don’t get me wrong, I do eat grains/grain products. I limit it to less than one serving per day. Some people will tolerate more than that, and some people would think I eat them too often. But that is the level that works for me.

            And that’s kinda my point. The guidelines currently promoted by the government are great. If you happen to be a teenage boy or a professional athlete. Otherwise, it’s simply not balanced enough – too many carbs, not enough fat. I did the food pyramid thing for two decades. I was consistently 20 lbs overweight, hungry all the time, and left wondering what I was doing “wrong”. Turns out, I wasn’t doing anything wrong. For me (and many other people, I suspect) the guidelines are wrong.

          • Anka

            If you don’t mind my asking, what do you eat for breakfast? I’m asking because I think I have similar food needs to you and am sort of out of ideas.

          • me

            Mostly eggs, cooked in a variety of ways, sometimes with bacon or sausage, but usually by themselves. When I need a change of pace, berries with heavy cream and a teaspoon of chia seeds is an awesome treat (not to mention fast and it reminds me of cereal, especially if you add a tablespoon of pecans and a sprinkle of cinnamon). Plain whole milk yogurt is also great, and a small amount of fruit (peaches are nice) makes for nice flavor. The kids love when I make smoothies with frozen berries and cream/full fat yogurt (I add some honey to theirs). I avoid “low carb” food replacements because they seem to be heavily processed. Keep in mind I am the type that can eat the same breakfast day in and day out (my go-to breakfast for about 10 years was shredded wheat n’ bran with skim milk). I tend to look for s.i.m.p.l.e. first thing in the morning, and get variety at lunch and dinner when I’m more awake ;)

          • Anka

            This is very inspiring–thanks! :)

        • Kate B

          Yeah. And what pisses me off with that claim is that, when you look at suggested meal planners, they don’t cost in the FULL cost of each ingredient; they assume the family already has a bulging storecupboard.
          So, rather than costing the 1.00 it may cost to buy a pot of spice, they will cost it as like 5p because you’re only using a small amount out of a jar they already assume you have.
          As someone who is currently living on the breadline, there’s been plenty of times I simply couldn’t afford to have a bulging storecupboard.
          The tinned fruit and veg thing is tough too, because let’s face it, tinned veg tastes FOUL. I have never been able to get my children to eat it. Trying to make cheap, tinned ingredients into something that your kids will eat and be satisfied with…it’s brought me to tears of frustration at times.

          • thepragmatist

            do you have a freezer? If so, frozen veggies are great. They last forever and they’re cheap (here in Canada anyway) and nutritious and taste like food.

      • Kate B

        Absolutely true.
        I am living on the breadline now, in a poverty ridden area.
        I seriously struggle to provide a healthy, varied and interesting diet for my children. Many times, we have eaten just a small portion of pasta with a tin of tomatoes for dinner; many other times I have gone to bed hungry to feed my children.
        Fruit and vegetables are very expensive and they go off quickly too.
        I have the advantage of coming from a middle-class, educated family. I was taught what a healthy diet is and how to cook. And even with those advantages, I have often struggled to provide a healthy diet for my children.
        Given that we can often only afford to eat healthy food when it’s either bland or in very small portions; I absolutely understand the appeal of cheap, plentiful junk food.
        Let’s compare a few costs, of a fairly healthy dinner for a family of 4 versus an unhealthy dinner. I’ve costed in the cheapest ingredients I could find from the sort of local supermarkets that are likely to be operating in poor areas in each case.
        I’ve also kept in mind that poor people often do not have a storecupboard full of ingredients to use and have to buy each element in full rather than just dipping into their supplies.

        Spaghetti Bolognaise with fruit for dessert
        Onions, Carrots, Garlic, celery: 2.00
        Minced/ground beef: 4.00
        Spaghetti: 70p
        Tinned tomatoes: 50p
        Tomato paste: 90p
        Bananas x4: 80p

        Total cost: 8.90

        Versus

        Fries and chicken nuggets with chocolate biscuits for dessert
        Fries: 50p for a large bag
        chicken nuggets (the cheapest available made with very poor quality meat): 1.50
        Chocolate biscuits: 1.00 for a pack of 7

        Total cost: 3.00 (all prices in British pounds)

        As you can see, the junk meal is very, very cheap. It’d be hard to make healthy, balanced meals for a family of 4 for under 3 pounds every single day.
        It’s possible, but difficult.
        And personally, living on the breadline is HARD. Sometimes, you crave fatty, filling and satisfying food that you know your children will eat without complaint.

    • auntbea

      Damn those poor people who face constraints in how they live their lives! Why can’t they just blame themselves for their poverty and their obesity like all the skinny rich people do.

  • Amy M

    I’m not holding my breath either. Recently, there was yet another (NYT opinion piece) about nutrition, the “obesity epidemic”, breastfeeding vs. formula, what pregnant women should eat and how, no matter what, it is all mom’s fault. So women need to always look good (thin), eat perfectly at all stages of life and will get blamed when their children are sick, fat or otherwise imperfect. Our brains don’t even enter into it.

  • EllenD

    Western? Yes. Well off? Indeed. First world privilege? Most Certainly. White? Not exactly. I believe she is Asian/Pacific Islander.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks for pointing that out. I just amended the post.