August 20, 2009

"People can say whatever they like but the truth will remain, which is that my child is a girl."

"She is my little girl. I raised her and I have never doubted her gender. She is a woman and I can repeat that a million times."

Caster Semenya.

42 comments:

Bissage said...

I became suspicious the first time I saw the South African word for man spunk emblazoned on her chest.

rhhardin said...

That's a Nat Lamp cover, April 1976

Laura(southernxyl) said...

All kinds of things can happen, from chromosomal abnormalities to hormone imbalances. If one of these is the case with her, and not a scam of some sort, then she has enough to deal with, without cheap shots at her looks.

Lem said...

Doesn’t she have ID? ;)

rhhardin said...

Women's sports, though, relies on a sort of normality for gatekeeping.

Otherwise you're competing against men in various forms.

As Bobby Riggs said, after beating Margaret Court, he'd found his new calling, women's tennis.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If she is female than she truly has my sympathies.

sonicfrog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Awesome said...

OK Ann - here you go:
http://www.iamsorryivotedforobama.com/

sonicfrog said...

A squirrely "Caption This".

sonicfrog said...

A present for Chip.... The "Squirrelizer"!

CarmelaMotto said...

Wow - those arms. Holy tuna.

Lem said...

This is not totally new.

When Martina Navratilova came on the scene there was some consternation at first.

I was put off when she started beating Chris Evert.

Lem said...

In the end I think Martina raised the level of female game.

WV - jessnuse = A distinctively female feature.

traditionalguy said...

She is either an Androgynous missing link between males and females, or she she has a former East German coach.

Bruce Hayden said...

If not sooner, we will ultimately know the truth here, at the next summer Olympics. Genetic and hormone/drug testing are done, and if either is amiss, then she would be stripped of any medals (even decades later, as in the case of one "woman" skier).

I don't think you see that sort of muscle development without either male chromosomes and/or male hormones. But, we shall see.

AllenS said...

It takes a village to raise a child in that part of the world. I don't think they had this in mind, though.

WV: noneweig

South African for, none of the above.

Lem said...

..if either is amiss, then she would be stripped.

How bad can it be?
Considering that it will be in common with turn of the century luminaries such as Bill Clinton and Michael Jackson.

Pelalusa said...

Gotta love this part in the headline: "... she is not worried despite an official IAAF investigation being launched to look into the matter."

An OFFICIAL IAAF investigation - Wow! Will that take 3 months and cost $750,000 ???

Or couldn't this get resolved in 5 seconds and cost nothing with a quick check you-know-where?!?

Kind of reminiscent of the Canadian healthcare bureaucracy!

Lem said...

Or couldn't this get resolved in 5 seconds and cost nothing with a quick check you-know-where?!?

I believe they want to cross every i and dot every t ;)

David said...

Well, I'm going with the Mom unless there's proof to the contrary. Not exactly conventional female beauty stuff but man what a pair of arms. Makes Michelle Obama look flabby.

I hope she is female and that she kicks ass all the way to the bank.

Big Mike said...

@Pelalusa, not necessarily. One of our own past top runners, Mary Decker Slaney, was found to have an unusually high testosterone to epitestosterone (T/E) ratio that may have occurred naturally or may have been a side effect taking birth control pills. And it is not medically impossible for a child to have both a vagina and testes. Caster Semenya may have received illegal hormones from her coaches, or may naturally have her body produce more testosterone than normal for a woman but have 100% female organs, or she could be a genetic mix-up. Or she could be the female answer to Insane Bolt. (Yes, I know how his name is spelled, but he is insanely fast.)

David said...

I think the lady is magnificent and nothing like a body builder, male or female.

The bodies of body builders are created by specialized and customized exercise (and often drugs) to meet a form that most find near freakish. Body building has some similarities to heavy tattooing or body piercing--a tribe apart. It's a pretty druggy scene, Jeremy.

This woman (again I defer to her mom) has a proportionate body that enables her to be a world class athlete. The muscle definition and apparent lack of breasts are mannish, and this make us uneasy, but certainly can be explained by training habits and unusual but still female genetic makeup. There's nothing unattractive about her except for the gender confusion of her looks, which nearly always makes us puzzled and nervous.

I assume that she is a woman. If so, God bless. She has the courage and drive to take her natural attributes and develop them through hard work for her benefit and her family's. Why should she hide what she is, or shrink from what she can be?

Big Mike said...

If Caster Semenya has a uterus, as I'll bet is the case, and she and Usain Bolt got married and had kids ...

Big Mike said...

The muscle definition and apparent lack of breasts are mannish ...

A lot of top female athletes are small-chested. Once the body fat ratio gets down far enough there's no visible mammary gland.

Joseph said...

Some commenters here can say really detestable things.

Jeremy said...

David - Are you saying female body builders are just using drugs?

I don't think that's the case in a vast majority of the people involved in the sport.

I also think anyone who intimates that this woman is really a man is a fool.

Freeman Hunt said...

How awful for this woman. She looks like a natural (read: no drugs) female bodybuilder. Open an issue of Oxygen, and you'll see plenty of arms like that.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Thank you, David.

David said...

From an article by Katie Law, Inkling Magazine January 17, 2007:

Gender testing at official sports events began in the 1960s, when officials became concerned that some of the more beefy female athletes were not as they seemed to be. In those early days, parading naked in front of a panel of gynecologists was the only way to pass the test. Then DNA testing came along, and gender identification was done by looking at the shapes of the sex chromosomes. But even this proved insufficient, as a person could have the XY chromosome combo (male), and yet develop into a female due to a few defective genes. This was the misfortune suffered by Polish sprinter Ewa Klobukowska, who in 1966 was in possession of sufficiently female genitalia to pass the gynecological exam, but then one year later was found to have one chromosome too many to be declared truly female. Her XXY condition gave her no athletic advantage, yet she was still forced to retire and return her medals.

Today’s testers rely on DNA samples from athletes for a more accurate and less invasive answer. The most widely accepted test uses the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to help look for a gene called “sex-determining region Y” (SRY). This gene is found on the short arm of the Y chromosome, and is responsible for triggering the cascade of reactions that leads to the development of the testes, which in turn secrete the hormones that make men manly.

However, an individual may still fall afoul of even that checkpoint. A faulty version of the SRY gene will cause such a person to test as a genetic male and yet develop as a physiological female. Individuals can also suffer from Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), where they possess the SRY gene, but not the receptors for the male hormones they’re producing. In the end you get the same thing: genetics say man, body says woman.

It is possible, even likely, that individuals are unaware of these conditions – as they have practically no symptoms, including a zero advantage in a sporting arena of women. Spanish hurdler Maria Jose Martinez Patino failed a gender test in 1985. She was later found to have AIS and was subsequently reinstated.

Compulsory testing was discontinued by the International Olympic Committee in 1999 precisely because of these inconclusive, expensive, insensitive and complicating testing procedures. These days, only a few sporting bodies, including the Olympic Council of Asia, still do it. Even then, gender testing is not a requirement for entry; it’s only used to settle complaints. In Soundarajan’s case, the complaint was made not by a competitor but by an official. Athletes have to supply a urine sample under official scrutiny, to ensure that no switching takes place. It was here that an official registered “suspicions.”

David said...

Jeremy, you think that everyone who does not agree with you is fool. We know that.

Ann Althouse said...

Don't respond to Jeremy, please. I am deleting him for rudeness.

AmyKane said...

What if she was born a man and "self-identifies" as a woman? That is the rationale behind the transgender rights bill that was introduced in NH last winter.. and became known as "the bathroom" bill.

Cedarford said...

Finding out if this woman is a woman (by international athletic rules) is more than just checking if she has a vagina.

The East Germans and others did not just use steroids. They also pumped their male and especially female athletes up with more testosterone for extra stamina, muscle development, explosive strength.
The East Europeans and Africans were also "caught" using hermaphrodites, women whose ovaries "naturally" malfunctioned as testes, and boys with bad genital birth defects that were surgically "reassigned" as girls.

None were eligible.

BJM said...

Are Americans adopting the poisonous Brit "tall poppy syndrome"?

Why do we not see the foundering, dysfunctional Brit society as a warning?

wv: thstiz: the mark of shame worn by achievers in a "level playing field" society.

John Lynch said...

Denial IS a river in Africa.

Big Mike said...

@Freeman, she may have deliberately chosen to build up her upper body. We think of running as just using your legs, but upper body strength helps in shorter races -- my son ran the 100 and 200 m, and he worked out his upper body as well as his legs.

In my collegiate years (back when we took notes in cuneiform on clay tablets) I dated a female athlete. She was flat as pancake but all woman.

Ah, the halcyon days of one's mis-spent youth.

Big Mike said...

Hmm. In addition to finishing 1-3 in the men's 100 I see that Jamaican women finished 1-2-4 in the women's 100. Dang!

Kev said...

If Caster Semenya has a uterus, as I'll bet is the case, and she and Usain Bolt got married and had kids ...

There'd probably be a genetic hiccup, and all the kids would grow up to be 5'2" adults who played the oboe in high school. ;-)

RuyDiaz said...

Have you folks seen the final? Take a look:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DwWI7E9IwAs

She runs like a man. The way she moves is vastly more efficient--no sideways hip movement like the other runners.

I'm guessing there is a Y chromosome around there somewhere.

rhhardin said...

We can't really tell until we see her throw.

blake said...

Or fight.

Or, wait, as the song goes: break.

Jenifer said...

If one of these is the case with her, and not a scam of some sort, then she has enough to deal with, without cheap shots at her looks.


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