'No Excuses' Mom Maria Kang Calls Out Filmmaker on Body Positivity

Maria Kang, aka “Hot Mom,” who once enraged the Internet after posting a chiseled bikini shot and challenging moms to whip their bodies into prepregnancy shape, is back in the spotlight: She’s calling out a fellow mom for sending women a muddled message about body positivity.

On Monday, Kang posted to Facebook a split-screened photo of herself and Taryn Brumfitt, an Australian mother of three whose 2013 before-and-after pregnancy photos went viral after she confessed to preferring her postbaby curves to her prebaby six-pack abs.

“There are two pictures here of two different women who have six children combined and two separate movements,” wrote Kang in the new post that acquired nearly 2,000 reactions and hundreds of comments. “Taryn Brumfitt wants us to ’embrace’ our bodies, while I want us to ‘progress’ our bodies.”

Kang’s goal, she said, was to provide feedback to Brumfitt after recently watching her body-positive documentary Embrace. 

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Taryn Brumfitt (left), Maria Kang (right). (Photo: Maria Kang/Facebook)

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She wrote, “Taryn, you often retell your experience of competing in a fitness contest where you trained long hours, ate boring diet foods and spent little time with your kids. This triggered the popular ‘before and after’ shot in many of your posts (where you’ve gained weight in the latter). I definitely think you had a bad coach and experienced all the wrong ways to properly diet and train — it doesn’t mean you should seemingly hate the health industry and condemn the people within it (like yours truly). In other words, don’t hate me, hate your coach.”

Kang also vented her frustration with comments Brumfitt made back in 2013: that in order to look like Kang, women would have to “sacrifice the things you love and selfishly and obsessively train and meal prep with little regard for your family.”

In response, Kang wrote: “I’m not going to stand here and pretend we are speaking from the same platform. We have similar but different views.”

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Maria Kang (Photo: Maria Kang/Facebook)

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The women took slightly different roads to Internet fame. In September 2013, Kang, of Sacramento, Calif., posted the infamous photo kneeling among her sons, then ages 3, 2, and 8 months, labeled with the question, “What’s Your Excuse?” That post received almost 250K reactions, 23,000 shares, and a firestorm of debate — some called Kang an inspiration, others accused her of body-shaming moms.

Two year later, Kang surfaced promoting a new fitness calendar of diverse body types and a more compassionate perspective. “Do I still think there are excuses?” Kang told People. “Yes. And I think many can be overcome. But my approach has become a little bit softer in terms of promoting non-judgment and progress.”

In 2016, 10 pounds heavier, separated from her husband, and having battled depression, Kang published a book called The No More Excuses Diet. She also posted two new bikini shots to https://www.instagram.com/p/BK8qB88gd4v/, writing, “I shot this in the afternoon after eating a donut….I didn’t exercise for 4 days prior and was tired after a day working and being with my kids….So here I am.” That post received thousands of likes and comments.

Brumfitt’s message was softer. In 2013, the Australian ex-body builder posted photos of herself before and after the birth of her third child. In the before shot, Brumfitt is fit but miserable, obsessed with regaining her prebaby body; in the after shot, she’s heavier but happier. She posted the shots on Facebook, conveying the message that women can love their bodies at any size. Her post received 3 million likes and a flood of positive feedback.

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Taryn Brumfitt. (Photo: Taryn Brumfitt/Facebook)

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Yahoo could not reach Brumfitt or Kang for comment, but it seems as though Kang wasn’t totally interested in igniting a body image war, ending her post with, “You’ve got a beautiful spirit Taryn, from one woman to another, congrats on your success.”

Read More:

How We Can — and Should — Change the Negative Way We Talk About Eating

Mom on Why She Got a Postpartum Depression Tattoo: ‘It’s Me, Surviving’

Instagram Is Good for People With Insecurities and Depression, Says Study

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