“Fit mom” Maria Kang is calling out plus-size model Tess Holliday over a disagreement about body positivity.
Kang is a fitness blogger and mother of three best known for her “What’s your excuse” viral Facebook post in 2013, which showed off her toned body just eight months after giving birth to her third son. The post has been widely accused of mom-shaming and setting unrealistic body-image expectations. Since then, Kang’s made a career out of promoting exercise and health as a priority, despite the challenges of being a busy mom, wife and business owner.
So when Holliday criticized a man named Robbie Tripp for his viral Instagram post, which celebrates his wife’s curvy body, Kang couldn’t help but disagree.
Holliday shared her opinion of Tripp’s post on Friday, with a message on social media about the discrepancy between how people react when a man loves a woman with curves as compared to a woman loving herself. “Stop giving men trophies for doing the bare minimum,” she captioned her post.
On Monday, Kang took to Facebook to call Holliday for her size and accusing her of not promoting positivity. “Did anyone read this story about a husband loving his wife regardless of size? I thought it was a sweet tribute of someone loving their spouse despite any standard. When I see someone like Tess Holliday criticize this, it's disheartening. Tess is an obese model (not thick, plus size or curvy) who has popularized the term #effyourbeautystandards and should promote positivity in all forms,” Kang wrote.
Her post sparked a heated debate on social media, with comments from people who agree with Holliday’s opinion — arguing that the man doesn’t deserve praise for loving his wife “even though” she’s curvy – and those who thought his “endearing” message was about acceptance.
“He should not be praised for loving his wife 'even though' she's not thin. That should be given. He doesn't deserve an award for being so accepting … she is gorgeous and he's lucky to have her,” one Facebook user commented.
“Props to this man for supporting and loving his wife regardless of her size, but I sincerely hope that if his ‘curvy’ wife gets to the point where she's becoming unhealthy and/or obese, that he would encourage her to eat healthier and get moving, not because of the way she looks, but because of the dangers of being grossly overweight,” another person wrote.
Kang spoke with Yahoo Beauty about the controversial post, elaborating on her opinions.
“Tripp’s post was a sweet tribute to his wife, but we live in a highly sensitive culture where people want to be applauded for self-acceptance rather than accept it from someone else,” Kang tells Yahoo Beauty. “It seems like Tess believes it’s anti-feminist for a woman to want approval from any man. She has a hard, militant stance regarding outside validation, as symbolized in her #effyourbeautystandards campaign.” Holliday created the celebrated hashtag in 2014 to encourage size acceptance.
Holliday was not available for comment.