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Meanwhile, on the Internet
Tribune Reporters
'Meanwhile' is a collaborative blog about all the crazy stuff on the Internet. Here, reporters from various Tribune desks tell you what you (almost) need to know about topics ranging from technology to YouTube sensations. Contributors: Jim Dalrymple, Vince Horiuchi, Michael McFall, Dave Newlin, Matt Piper, Brennan Smith, Erin Alberty. Edited by Sheena McFarland.

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| Courtesy California fitness instructor Maria Kang poses for a promotional photo with her three young children.
‘Fit Mom’ Maria Kang, not yet over self, claims fatties are out to get her

"Fit mom" Maria Kang is being persecuted, and she’s not gonna take it anymore!

First the California fitness instructor came under fire for posting a photo that demanded new mothers provide some explanation for not looking like her. Now Maria Kang is back in the limelight over a disputed Facebook post denouncing a plus-size lingerie campaign, because plus-size women do not deserve celebration while thin people are looked down on (and that’s *exactly* how the world works).

"I woke up this morning to news stories about how overweight nearly obese women should be proud of their bodies (as they posed in lingerie). I think we should all accept how any healthy body through good nutrition and exercise manifests but I’m starting to get annoyed .... We need to start celebrating people who are a result of hard work, dedication and discipline."

Some naysayers flagged the post as "hate speech," (OK, I’m with Kang; that’s some lame censorship), and her account was blocked. Facebook said the removal was a mistake and apologized, but Maria Kang is still punching at the air. She posted this week on TIME Magazine’s website:

"A new minority of healthy people are stepping out of the shadows. ... We shouldn’t be condemned."

How brave.

Kang goes on to bemoan the prospect that "being a healthy everyday individual shatters the self-images of overweight people" and argues that "demonstrating possibilities in one’s personal health should not be defined as promoting bullying, fat shaming or gloating."

Welcome to Maria Kang’s world, where "being a healthy individual" means telling other people not to be proud.

Kang claims that she is just a soldier in the war on obesity. Obviously, convincing overweight people to feel ashamed has been a resounding success so far.

Time and again, when critics have decried her unhelpful needling of women’s vulnerabilities, Kang has borne her cross with a wipe of her dewy brow. It’s just so hard to be thin and pretty! If fat people feel sad when they’re told to hate themselves, it’s their own guilt talking! Nobody can make you feel bad but yourself!

(Side note: I don’t know when "You already felt bad about yourself anyway; nobody else can make you feel bad" ascended to some sort of irrefutable Internet defense. I guess the final refuge for cruelty is to believe there’s no such thing.)

Through all of this, Kang’s supporters have claimed that people who have a problem with her publicity tactics MUST be insecure about their bodies.

Well, gosh. Here’s how insecure I am. This is me, in a swimsuit, "being a healthy everyday individual."

See how I managed to do that without picking on anyone else?

— Erin Alberty



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