Today in Fat Hatred

by Shaker Esme, a law student at Washington University St. Louis, who is taking a short break from studying for finals to bring you this special message. She is both fat AND bisexual, and is sure that the combination of those two characteristics just blew your mind!

[Trigger warning for fat hatred, body policing, and homophobia.]

Via Facebook, Pam Spalding of Pam's House Blend shared this article from Mother Jones: Army Kicks Out More Gays Than Fat Soldiers. The article takes the tone that kicking gays, lesbians, and bisexuals out of the Army is somehow far worse than kicking someone out for being fat (ignoring, of course, the existence of GLB folk who are fat).
As Congress prepares—again—to debate Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Mother Jones has unearthed data showing the Army in recent years has been tougher on purging gays from the ranks than soldiers who are physically unfit for duty.”
I completely agree that Don't Ask Don't Tell is a terrible thing, and something that should have ended a long time ago. It's absolutely ridiculous that it's still going on, in the face of all the evidence that it's a harmful, discriminatory policy. But fighting for LGBT rights doesn't give you carte blanche to get mad that the Army isn't discriminating enough against fat people. And make no mistake, this article is not about the Army needing to discharge soldiers for failure to pass fitness tests. This is an article about the Army needing to discharge fat people. For being fat.
But the Army's recent discharge statistics given to MoJo by a government source, suggest that the service has been far more concerned about its soldiers' sexual orientation than their waistlines, muscular endurance, or cardiovascular ability. In fiscal 2007 and 2008, the Army brass threw out 592 enlisted members for violating DADT—more soldiers than it ejected for excessive body fat or fitness-test failures combined. (emphasis original)
Yeah! How dare the army not worry about soldiers' waist lines! I know that when my country needs defending, it's important to me what size pants my defenders are wearing.
The service's response was to ease its fitness standards and make it harder for commanders to discharge overweight or underperforming soldiers. (emphasis mine)
That's an or right there. In other words, the author feels that someone who is overweight but not underperforming should be discharged. As in OH NOES THEY AREN'T KICKING OUT THE FATTIES WHO PERFORM UP TO THE STANDARD

And of course, what would a fat-hatin' article be without a little humor.
"In '08-09 it was so bad that I had a warrant officer who demanded we get him XXXL flight uniforms," one active Army officer tells Mother Jones. "He couldn't wear the new [camouflage] pattern ones because they didn't make them for a guy who was 313 lbs." The officer added, "Some people really are too big to fail, I guess."
Yes, the officer demanded a uniform that fit. What an ungrateful asshole. It's almost like he wanted to be clothed while he does his job in service to our country. Silly fat people, clothing, respect, and honor are for skinny people!

Some people really are too big to fail, I guess.

This is the line that really pisses me off. This author is honestly comparing this officer's desire to serve his country with a massive bailout of corporations that have engaged in all kinds of reckless and awful behavior, and helping to drive our country into a recession. This guy's fatness is, apparently, equivalent to destroying the economy.
I hate crap like this. I hate that the liberal bastions that are supposedly a haven for us hate us, and will publish tripe like this, without so much as even considering the possibility that being fat doesn't necessarily preclude one from being in the military. And so, Mother Jones, I wish to inform you that skinny doesn't mean fit, and fat doesn't mean incompetent. I can heartily assure you that when I was in the “healthy” weight ranges of the BMI, I couldn't run a mile in under 15 minutes.
"If military bases and military schools become focal points for advancement of the gay agenda, we can expect serious repercussions among the families of the volunteers who make up our armed forces," the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins wrote in an op-ed Monday.
His editorial never addressed the advancement of a fat agenda in the military.
Yes, we're not kicking fat people out of the army because of the fat agenda. You caught us. Here we are, wielding all this power in society, us fatties. It's a shame that hate groups like the FRC aren't hating on enough categories of people to satisfy Mother Jones.

The table of statistics is similarly awful.

Would Mother Jones be happier with Don't Ask Don't Tell if the Army was also kicking out more fat people for being fat? And people of color for not being white? And women for not being men? They are advocating discrimination, provided that the discrimination is against the right bogeyman for their tastes. This table shows that individuals are already being discharged from the military solely on the grounds that their body fat is too high, without evidence that they cannot meet fitness standards. The military is already kicking out fat people for the sake of fatness. But apparently, the Army is just not discriminating enough for Mother Jones. In fact, if one looks at the spreadsheet of all the statistics, the Army wasn't even keeping track of people kicked out for failing the fitness tests until 1994, only those kicked out on the basis of body fat.

To top all of this off, though, is the aggravation I get from reading the statistics included in the article. There's no information to indicate whether there are more people who can't meet fitness standards in the Army than there are gay people in the army. There are no statistics here, like if you're gay, you have a n% chance of being kicked out, and if you don't meet the fitness standards, you have a n-1% chance of being discharged. There's just raw numbers with none of the necessary context.

Trust me on this one, you don't want to read the comments. We're talking fat hate, homophobia, and all kinds of other assholery.

This post is not about comparing the oppression of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals and the treatment of fat individuals. This is entirely about Mother Jones' argument that fat necessarily disqualifies one from being considered capable.

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