California mom and fitness enthusiast Maria Kang stirred up a firestorm of criticism with some calling her a bully after she posted a picture on Facebook of herself, toned and muscular, and her three kids with the title, "What's your excuse?"
Kang said she posted the photo in hopes that it would be inspirational to women, but many others said they found it insulting, particularly the "What's your excuse?" headline.
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"I wanted to inspire people," Kang, who lives in Sacramento, Calif., told Yahoo! Shine.
"I think people struggle with their weight. When you add on being a mother — and the pressures we face to have it all and be everything, including fit — the expectations are so high. I think some moms saw the picture and just said, 'This is ridiculous.' I felt really frustrated. Being called a bad mother and a bad person definitely hurts."
Kang, though, issued an apology on Facebook
, which she admitted to Yahoo! Shine was more of a doubling down on her original intention.
"I'm sorry you took an image and resonated with it in such a negative way," Kang said on her Facebook page. "What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It's Yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn't create them. You created them."
That note has generated 189,000 likes and been shared more than 15,700 times on Facebook as of late Wednesday morning. It has also generated 22,000 mostly positive comments.
"Amen sister!!!! You put the work into achieving that body and owe NOBODY an apology," posted a commenter on Facebook. "If someone is offended by your picture it's their own insecurity speaking. Own it!"
But there were others who continued to take offense to Kang's efforts to inspire.
"I think that ANYONE shaming ANYONE is uncool," posted Heather Lodge. "Based on the tone of your post, I assume you aren't interested in hearing any criticism, but I do hope that you read ... because when you put an image and message out there, it is irresponsible to wholly blame the recipients for reacting. They're reacting to something ... and the caption is most definitely a trigger."
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