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What's Your Excuse: Empowering or Enraging?

(The Verge) – Maria King, work out enthusiast and mother of three, has taken the media by storm after posting a controversial profile picture of herself on Facebook.  In the picture, King is dressed in a sports bra and micro shorts, exposing her fit physique, surrounded by her three young sons with a caption that reads, “What’s your excuse?” above her.
After the picture went viral this year, King has received a myriad of responses ranging from positive words of encouragement to vicious attacks on her character.  While some find the image empowering for women, others find it offensive and unsupportive of women and mothers.
It is easy to see why so many women would find the image, and the caption in particular, offensive.  We live in a world where women are constantly being scrutinized concerning their physical appearance, a world where women are taught to compete with one another rather than raise each other up.  So, it is understandable for the immediate response to a picture like this is one of insecurity and anger.  In many ways, the term “What’s your excuse” can be seen as belittling, as though King is saying, “Because I am thin I am better than you.”
But what if we, as women, took down our defenses and viewed this image as a message of empowerment.  In a recent interview with Bethenny Frankel, King stated that the intent behind the image was to show women that being healthy and fit after having kids is entirely possible and attainable.  Are we so indoctrinated with the idea of competition and jealousy that we are unable to recognize a motivational message when we see one?  In a world where so many of the images that we are exposed to in the media are altered beyond reality, let’s embrace a real woman is who proud of her real body, regardless of how thin she may be.  Let’s empower women to be their best selves, whether that means they are a size 2 or a size 12 and to be proud of their bodies.  What’s your excuse?

A look at the 'controversial' new image of the workout buff posing before her children. Image taken from:
A look at the ‘controversial’ new image of the workout buff posing before her children. Image taken from: