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Anti- ‘Fit Mom’ Fights Back, Posts Very Different Before/After Photos (NSFW-ish)

By Hanssie on December 26th 2013

Warning: Content may be considered NSFW for some.

A few months ago, we wrote an article about Maria Kang, dubbed, “Fit Mom” by the Internet. Kang caught a ton of flack for posting a photo of her very toned body, her three small children at her feet and the caption, “What’s Your Excuse?”

[REWIND: Controversial Facebook Photo Sparks Debate and Haters For Fitness Mom]


Cue the backlash by angry mobs ready to burn her at the stake. She’s been called every name in the book, from a bad mother to a fat shamer, and was temporarily banned from Facebook over a comment she made in regards to obesity. Read Kang’s “apology,” ‘Sorry, but not sorry,” post.

Now, an Australian mom has joined in the melee by posting a very different type of Before/After photo of herself to promote her own, Body Image Movement, a website to facilitate “positive body image activism.” And she’s sending out her own remarks to “Fit Mom,” Maria Kang. Taryn Brumfitt, also a mother of three, also became an Internet sensation when she posted this before and after photo of herself:


Brumfitt’s message:

Our bodies will go through many changes in our life. Our bodies change through aging, pregnancy, illness, weight loss, weight gain, the list goes on. One thing we must learn to do is love our bodies, before, during and after…

Brumfitt hated her body so much that she went to a plastic surgeon to price out a “mommy makeover.” After pondering it for about a week, she had a change of heart though, when she was watching her young daughter playing and realized that, unless she loved her body the way it was, she could never teach her young daughter the same. She decided to enter a fitness competition instead. She trained for 15 weeks, stuck to an extremely disciplined diet and went on stage in her bikini (as shown in the before photo).

She gave up the extreme dieting and exercise immediately after. Now, she lives what she describes as a healthy lifestyle – eating balanced meals and exercising a few times a week. She is free to enjoy dessert and chocolate and can choose to skip the gym once in a while. Brumfitt is “on a quest to redefine and rewrite the ideals of beauty. She says, “Women have been brainwashed into thinking fat, wrinkles and cellulite are bad. They’re not. It’s just a part of being a human being…”


Brumfitt wants to share her message of “health every size” not only to all women, but especially to Maria Kang. In her post, “Dear Maria Kang…this is my excuse,” she outlines that time with her kids, sleeping in on the weekends, and eating wants is the reason she doesn’t have the “perfect” body that is perpetuated by the beauty and diet industries “that prey on women’s insecurities.”

Screw [them], become unstoppable and learn to love your body from the inside out.


After the mini rant from my last article about this issue, I still feel the same way. Haters need to just stop perpetuating the hatred, et al.

I understand both women’s point of view. Both women have the same goal, but different paths of getting there. Maria Kang chose to go the confrontational, negative route, using a seemingly antagonistic question that fueled the fire of haters as opposed to Taryn Brumfitt’s positive, “let’s just all be friends and focus on health and balance” approach. Which one resonates with you? And let me ask you this, which lady got the most attention?

Honestly, isn’t that the whole point? For two ladies to to get the attention to promote their businesses and platforms? Feel free to debate the issue below. I’m going to go enjoy all the leftovers from my Christmas dinner now. I’ll work out…errr, tomorrow?

[via @Daily Mail, Maria Kang, and Body Image Movement]
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Hanssie is a Southern California-based writer and sometimes portrait and wedding photographer. In her free time, she homeschools, works out, rescues dogs and works in marketing for SLR Lounge. She also blogs about her adventures and about fitness when she’s not sick of writing so much. Check out her work and her blog at Follow her on Instagram

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Berneck

    I think there are two things at play here. People feel threatened by Maria’s picture, and they do NOT feel threatened by Taryn’s. The problem is, they both send good and bad messages. The message in “What’s your excuse?” Is that most of us don’t prioritize nutrition and fitness. That’s a very real problem. However, because she’s hot and genetically blessed, people take issue with it.

    Taryn, on the other hand, is sending a message that you shouldn’t have to go to extremes to be healthy and fit. That’s also very true. However, the message of “health every size” is wrong also. The VAST majority (95%) of obese people would not be that way if they weren’t sedentary and making poor food choices. I argue, even Taryn could be in better shape if she changed things around a bit. And, I’m not talking about the extreme measures she took to get to her before picture.

    Both have positive and negative meassages. Maria’s gets more heat because most people just aren’t going to look that good no matter what they do, myself included.

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    • David

      Well said!

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    • Christina

      I think the point of Taryn’s message is that she does not want to change anything around in her nicely balanced lifestyle to get in “better shape.” She is empowering women to love their healthy yet imperfect (to society’s unrealistic standards) bodies because as you said yourself, not everyone is blessed with great genes and looks yet many beat themselves up over not being able to look thinner and longer and more muscular and insert endless list of things women wish they could change about their bodies. None of these things, by the way, necessarily equate to better health. Our society puts way too much emphasis on looking more like Ms. Maria when the reality is that all bodies are unique and different and everyone should love their bodies as long as they are maintaining a healthy lifestyle. In my opinion, a healthy lifestyle constitutes things beyond just physical fitness and well being.

      And for those who are complaining about the relevance of this issue with regards to photography – It seems to me it’s relevant beyond the fact that photography is used as a means to market these campaigns. I think we should think about our role as photographers when it comes to women’s body image issues. There is a great emphasis in the photography industry to make people look their “best” in photos. That it’s our job to take people’s “imperfections” and correct them to bring attention to the real focus of the image but oftentimes we totally disregard that we are essentially telling people that the way they look in real life is just not good enough. That they need to be post processed because their imperfections might be distracting. I get it. I’ve been there. But while many will be glad to have been slimmed down or to have had blemishes removed in post, perhaps we should consider whether or not there are also people out there who are totally happy with the way they look and it’s not up to us to decide what their “best” is.

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    • Hanssie

      Very well put, Christina! Ever consider becoming a writer (for us, maybe?) ~H

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  2. SM

    Different strokes for different folks… I see both sides and respect both. Both sides are using photography to help make their points; I see how this is SLR Lounge related, C’mon people! hahahahaha lighten up!

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  3. James G.

    I don’t understand what this topic has to do with SLR Lounge. Don’t want to be a troll, but I come here for photography-related news, not issues mothers have with weight loss and their self-image.

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    • Tom

      Maybe the point is that this is an untapped market and its time to swoop in.

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    • Dennis from C’Ville

      Personally…I’ve taken an array of photo ideas from the article and the exchanges. I like SLR Lounge as a good technical for the camera-wonk stuff. But I’m always looking for goods material on how images can be used to affect the world — and just plain good ideas to go out and shoot.

      I think this is great stuff.

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