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Caster Semenya (Track & Field)

 
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CamrnCrz1974



Joined: 18 Nov 2004
Posts: 17672
Location: Phoenix


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PostPosted: 03/04/19 3:17 pm    ::: Caster Semenya (Track & Field) Reply Reply with quote

The Obsession With Caster Semenya's Body Was Racist From The Very Beginning
Dvora Meyers (Deadspin)
March 4, 2019
Quote:

In other words, while seeking to prove that women with naturally high testosterone have an unfair advantage over their competitors, Bermon admits no one has actually studied the effects of testosterone on women’s athletic performance. Instead, he assumes that because female athletes have used synthetic testosterone, it must provide an advantage.


Quote:
Two weeks ago, Semenya and her lawyers appealed the latest version of the IAAF’s testosterone limits, which specifically targets female middle-distance runners like her, to the Court of Arbitration of Sport. (The decision is expected later this month.) While the IAAF is dressing up these rules in the language of science, Bermon’s presentation and others from researchers reveal their true character: a racist, sexist policy intended to police cultural ideas about what an ideal female body should look like and how it should perform.



https://deadspin.com/the-obsession-with-caster-semenyas-body-was-racist-from-1832994493?utm_source=gizmodo_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2019-03-04


justintyme



Joined: 08 Jul 2012
Posts: 7388
Location: Northfield, MN


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PostPosted: 03/04/19 11:00 pm    ::: Reply Reply with quote

This article has some serious issues with the way it is presented. It is taking a very complex and nuanced issue that I am not sure there are any great solutions for at the moment and reducing them to "sexism and racism".

Now that isn't to say that there aren't racist and sexist ideas behind how some of this is being handled. It would surprise me greatly if that wasn't the case. The initial slideshow, if it was an accurate portrayal of the presentation is highly problematic and needlessly reductive for a scientific forum
However, here are a few issues that this writer either ignores outright or blatantly manipulates away quite disingenuously (imo):

1) This is actually an attempt by the IAAF to be pro-science and figure out how to define their gender breakdowns of their sport. Because these same rules that are being lambasted as Racist and Sexist by this author is how sports are finding ways for transgendered individuals to participate. That little nugget is being ignored here.

2) The author is, imo, being disingenuous with the phrasing "high testosterone". While technically correct, the issue is actually testosterone that is so high because of some underlying genetic, hormonal, medical, or developmental issue that the person is actually considered "intersex". So the question is not what to do with people with "high t" but rather what should be done with intersex athletes. And it is a complicated question that needs serious discussion because we do, in fact, differentiate between genders for a reason in sports.

3) The author classifies the practice of discovering intersex athletes racist by pointing out that many more are discovered in the Global South than in the Global North, while the condition is not known to be racially selective. Yes, that sounds potentially racist. However, the author provides the logical conclusion for why that is, and yet just glosses over it. In the Global North, the condition is routinely caught and treated early in a child's development. No whether or not that in and of itself is the right thing to do as often as it is, is it's own bag of worms, but it explains quite well the racial component amongst who is discovered to have it as adults.

4) The author also has this gem: "no one has actually studied the effects of testosterone on women’s athletic performance. Instead, he assumes that because female athletes have used synthetic testosterone, it must provide an advantage."

Sure, this sounds good, unless someone actually reads the linked journal article. The reason no study has been done is because of, you know, that whole ethics thing. So direct medical experiments are simply out. But that is much different than the way this is being characterized here. Someone used this as an example, and I thought it fitting: we have no direct studies done to show that giving a healthy woman drugs while she is pregnant can lead to having a baby with birth defects, as it would be terribly unethical to do that
But we do have enough data points to conclude reasonably that that is the case.

So the sort of characterization of this that the author makes is extremely manipulative.

Anyway, just my 2c on this, for whatever it's worth.



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