Friday, September 18, 2009

Maybe it relates maybe not.....

I wanted to post this when I first read it but was torn, thinking that a women's issue might not be the best to bring up. However, after reading "The Enemy Within" last week I decided to post it. This is an article about a woman runner who has been found to have higher then "normal" levels of testosterone. Now people are trying to take her medal away. The sad part is that my partner showed me a thread that was created on a website about this article where lots of contributes believe that she should now compete as a man as well as have her medals taken away.



http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2009/09/10/2009-09-10_caster_semenya_.html

6 comments:

Abigail said...

I thought about posting something about this as well. It's crazy that they are even debating this 18 year old womans hormone level and dictating what sex she is.

Ross said...

I've been following this story for a while. The media has been very irresponsible in their coverage. The absurd thing is that the commission investigating her sex stated from the beginning that it could only disqualify her if she was found to have taken performance-enhancing drugs. If that's the case, why all the attention on her overies? I think this is a perfect case study in both the construction of masculinity-femininity and the dominant culture's response to gender nonconformity.

Leila said...

I want to emphasize that just because this class focuses on masculinity doesn't mean "women's issues" don't have a place here, so please don't censor yourself or second-guess posting things like this. This class is about gender issues and gender constructs; while focused on masculinity, it's still a women's studies class. So please don't feel like you must reject or ignore women's issues here just because our focus is masculinity.

Leila said...

To kind of play devil's advocate, the issue of hormones and sex are valid considerations when competitions are divided by sex, especially when talking about olympic-level competition because hormone levels affect our ability to build muscle, attain speed, and can provide unfair advantages over individuals with lower levels of testosterone. In a way, hormone/sex advantages might act like performance enhancers. If you have six women with female levels of testosterone and one hermaphrodite with much higher levels of testosterone, the competition might be skewed. The question might be, however, where do intersex and/or hermaphrodite individuals fit in or compete in the olympics?

Kelly T said...

So then it's alright to judge a person based on genetic mutations governing their hormone production levels? I think this is absolutely ridiculous. Why then, aren't the men being examined to see if their testosterone levels are too low and people trying to place them into the "female" category. This would never happen though because then their masculinity would be at stake. And if that's the case, then why should we even keep male/female categories? Maybe it should be more like wrestling and instead of a weight category it's a hormone production category. So long as she's not using substances not produced by her body naturally there should be no issue here. This is just another way to sideline people who are "different" and not have a place for them in a sport they love.

Leila said...

I do agree Kelly. It's problematic to say the LEAST. I don't really know what should be done to address such issues in sport because not everyone fits into a neat boxed category. If she is not permitted to compete as a female but not male then where can she compete? I was just playing devil's advocate (which I rarely even bother doing;).