June 28, 2016

"No governing body has so tenaciously tried to determine who counts as a woman for the purpose of sports as the I.A.A.F. and the International Olympic Committee (I.O.C.)."

"Those two influential organizations have spent a half-century vigorously policing gender boundaries. Their rationale for decades was to catch male athletes masquerading as women, though they never once discovered an impostor. Instead, the athletes snagged in those efforts have been intersex women — scores of them. The treatment of female athletes, and intersex women in particular, has a long and sordid his­tory. For centuries, sport was the exclusive province of males, the competitive arena where masculinity was cultivated and proven. Sport endowed men with the physical and psychological strength that 'manhood' required. As women in the late 19th century encroached on explicitly male domains — sport, education, paid labor — many in society became increasingly anxious; if a woman’s place wasn’t immutable, maybe a man’s role, and the power it entailed, were not secure either...."

From "The Humiliating Practice of Sex-Testing Female Athletes/For years, international sports organizations have been policing women for “masculine” qualities — and turning their Olympic dreams into nightmares. But when Dutee Chand appealed her ban, she may have changed the rules." in The NYT.

44 comments:

Bay Area Guy said...

First world problems -- whether to compete in the Olympics as a male and lose, or self-identify as a woman, and possibly win.

In the 70s, the winning East German female shot-putter, didn't look like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, and didn't have a reality tv show. She was just very, very, very large.

n.n said...

Transgender/homosexual or crossover (i.e. psychological)?

Or are they discussing physiological ambiguities?

Human sex is binary and a property that is straightforward to ascertain, but emergent physiological differences pose an obstacle to assuring fairness in competition.

buwaya said...

" many in society became increasingly anxious; if a woman’s place wasn’t immutable, maybe a man’s role, and the power it entailed, were not secure either...."

That's dumb. The whole point was fair play among women. If one was going to have women compete against other women, then it would be unfair to women competitors to permit manipulated or ambiguous persons competing because of their natural advantages. There would be few if any normal women in many sports.

Else might as well just have a non-sexually segregated field, and by default have men only.

walter said...

With so much concern over things being "fair", they should drop those pesky gender categories and let all athletes compete on a level field.
Oh right..damn unsatisfactory outcomes...

Achilles said...

Athletics are going to be messy over the next 2 decades. X chromosomes sneaking into the women's events is just the first issue to destabilize competitive athletics and only just for women.

But the "blade runner" from south africa is part of the real threat to all athletics. Within a generation synthetic limbs, muscles, tendons, bones, eyes, bones etc. are going to outperform natural tissue. When they ban the first baseball player with enhanced optic input because he beats all of the batting records people wont be watching the best players anymore. Pretty soon the NFL will have to decide if someone with a synthetic arm 10 times as strong as a normal arm can play.

The synthetic leagues will have a higher level of play than the natural leagues. What happens then?

madAsHell said...

Intersex women? Intersex?
Can they fuck themselves?.....cuz then we might be onto something!!

Virgil Hilts said...

A boy in Alaska won several girl's events at the state high school track championships. I think about half the guys on my mediocre track team in High School could have won several events at State had they been able to claim to be a girl.
http://www.ktva.com/high-school-runner-brings-spotlight-to-alaska-transgender-policy-432/
Stuff like this does not increase compassion and acceptance; it breeds resentment.


Virgil Hilts said...

If people in favor of trans athletic competition want to gain support they should start by having attractive trans women (women who think they are guys) go out for wrestling; this would also allow the sport to finally justify those stupid open singlet uniforms.

Paul Ciotti said...

The New York Times is worried that the Olympic committee might be humiliating intersex athletes in its effort to determine if they are women or not. One way to solve the problem is have the athletes (since they can apparently go either way) race as men. No one could object to that. The other solution is to eliminate separate categories for men and women and let both sexes compete with each other and anyone else (since gender activists seem to be proposing new sexes virtually every day). Feminists routinely insist there are no differences between men and women. Fine. The athletic field is the place to prove it.

rhhardin said...

The same thing got Bobby Riggs thrown out of women's tennis.

rhhardin said...

One compromise is make the suspicious cases wait until they're 50. A 50yo man has the aerobic capacity of a 25yo woman, so it would be a fair race.

Achilles said...

Virgil Hilts said...

"Stuff like this does not increase compassion and acceptance; it breeds resentment."

Progressives have always encouraged and fostered resentment, division, and hate. They supported Slavery, Eugenics, Jim Crow, Segregated public schools by race and now segregated public schools by wealth, and affirmative action. Each policy is meant to divide people by race, create permanent classes of haves and have nots, and so hatred and division.

Lem said...

The governing body that governs least govern best. Right wing Althouse tag.

JCC said...

Perhaps rather than consider the sensitivities and point of view of the woman with the male characteristics, the NY Times should ask how the women with the female's characteristics feel about all this. Certainly, a woman with a surfeit of testosterone is going to perform better athletically than a woman with lesser levels, no matter that authorities say "no studies have proven...etc". And this vague "Intersex" category? Female runners who have the characteristics of males? What the hell does that mean? I mean, isn't it pretty clear what sex a person is via a physical exam, except in the rare case of a true hermaphrodite?

Isn't the old XX or XY valid?

A separate issue is augmented athletes like the murderer Pistorius, who always had an unfair advantage but was somehow seens as disadvantaged. I never got that.

And how long will it be before we see a team in international women's soccer from, say, sportsmanship-central Russia of a bunch of shaven-headed, tattoo'd ex-Spetsnaz men masquerading as transgendered women winning the World Championship?

Amichel said...

I think the problem is easily solved. The whole idea of separating competitors by "gender" is retrograde. Let any athlete compete in any event. Completely fair.

Michael said...

I thought this was already decided. You are what you say you are.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Seconded, Amichel--segregation is wrong; let them all compete together, against each other.

Lance said...

Time to nix the Olympics. They're not just corrupt, they're boring.

Michael K said...

" “Democracy is the theory that the women know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”

H. L. Mencken

Paraphrase but I couldn't resist.

Fritz said...

Won't get many men competing on the uneven parallel bars.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Read the while article-waste of time
I will summarize for you: having separate competitions for men & women means some way to determine who goes where. The old ways to determine were crude and humiliating, and the new ways (genetic & hormone /hormone sensitivity testing) aren't satisfying to people who are unusual/boundary cases. Since the proportion of such boundary case conditions is more than 100 times more prevalent in the elite women athlete population (vs all women pop.) this is a problem.
No possible solutions are suggested, just "feel sorry for poor her" coverage of a sympathetic athlete and scorn for the governing bodies (sorry) who are forced to set some standard.

The only way to have a standard (used to separate men from women) to which no one will object is to have no standard--to integrate all competition. Obvious.

rcocean said...

Some of those women shot-putters always look a little sketchy, if you know what I mean.

Christopher said...

On a related note I must say that it's going to be incredibly entertaining to see Title IX used to destroy women's sports.

coupe said...

Get the USA out of the Olympics!

Nancy Reyes said...

this wasn't about discrimination against transgendered, it was about the Russians and East Germans trying to win medals by using hormones and fake women.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doping_in_East_Germany

sounds like someone is trying to rewrite history again.

Curious George said...

"Christopher said...
On a related note I must say that it's going to be incredibly entertaining to see Title IX used to destroy women's sports."

I've been saying this for awhile. You're male and can't afford college? "Identify" as a female. Kick ass in high school girls sports. Win scholarship. Hell I was pretty good at basketball and had interest from small schools...there wasn't a womens college team that I wouldn't have been a star at. Hell, I played against women college players in my late 30's and dominated.

"Virgil Hilts said...
I think about half the guys on my mediocre track team in High School could have won several events at State had they been able to claim to be a girl."

For most high schools and most sports, there isn't one boy that couldn't win gold as a women in any olympic sport.

eric said...

Sometimes the stupid, it hurts.

JAORE said...

So we see that group A vehemently rejects the binary nature of male-female. With good reason. I suspect there is a double "humped" (no, Laslo, not THAT kind of humped) bell curve involved. But the sports field is distinctly binary. Here are Men's events, there are Women's events.

Testosterone may not be the definitive marker they can hang their hats on. But there are clear differences in performances by (traditional) sex groups. Even the admission that a vastly over represented intersex group occurs in women's sport participants.

Can't have it both ways, binary sports/non-binary identification. So, where to draw the line? All open? Best of luck, ladies. Self-identify? Best of luck ladies? What else is there but some form of markers?

And, please, please don't manipulate it like the author tries by saying poor little Whoozitz should be given a break because she(?) had to pee in the street as a child. If we let those manipulative factors creep in sports are doomed (doomed I tells ya).

Quaestor said...

Sexual dimorphism — a familiar pattern among vertebrates. Unfortunately for America there are a few crazies out there who don't like science. They can't except the simple truth that we are our bodies. There's no such person as Santa Claus, nor any such thing as a monomaniacal collector of shed dentition called the Tooth Faerie, nor an omnipresent ova-purveying lagomorph called the Easter Bunny. None of these things exist. Napoleon died on Saint Helena in the year 1821. A few people have believed otherwise, but they are incorrect. Neither their sincerity nor passionate belief "down deep in the heart" makes a fuck's worth of difference. Nappy's dead, and you ain't him if you're breathin'. Same thing goes for a woman trapped in a man's body. You may declaim your self-identity (what a concept!) as loud as you want, you may even get a real scientist to agree with you, but it IS NOT TRUE. You may even get your pee-pee mangled into a facsimile of a vagina, and it may even feel nice to get something warm shoved into the hole that was your dick, but that proves nothing except that Medicine is a vocation just as susceptible to corruption as the Law. Dicked or dickless if you've got the XY you're male. End of story.

chickelit said...

I read the beginning and heard maudlin fiddles.

Bob Loblaw said...

We live in such a stupid time. I can be funny, though.

Sam's Hideout said...

"But she was irked that despite the many advances of female athletes in the last half-century, powerful male athletes are celebrated and powerful female ones are suspect."

Lance Armstrong wants his record number of Tour de France victories back.

In road cycling in the past decade or two, there's a lot of suspicion generated when someone has "too good" a race day.

hoyden said...

I didn't read the article because I am not interested in sports but I can relate to the idea of females encroaching on male domains. I saw this happening in the 60's and later, and that had a huge impact on my life. I was happy that women no longer had to be locked into traditional roles and their related limitations. I switched teams in 1983 as a result and never looked back. I have no understanding into why I felt the way I felt. I only know the change was exactly what I needed to do.

chrisnavin.com said...

Those East German women always looked a little sketchy...

The Russian women a little sad these days...all the doping and unsmiling, mild desperation.

I root for well-designed robots, programs and hardware, as I'm trying to work my why into a job at the 2032 Olympics.

XJT 4836 B is greasin'!

Tarrou said...

The rough standard is that world-record holding women are about as good as the very best high school boys.

In team sports, this gets amplified, because even teenage boys have a large advantage. I recall a world champion women's futbol team a couple years back, played an under-sixteen boys team, with the boys a man down and got beaten handily.

Bruce Hayden said...

The problem is that males are just better at most sports than women are. We are talking basic biology and physiology here. More lung capacity, stronger bones, larger, and often much stronger. Maybe also faster reflexes. We are talking millions of years of evolution and adaption. And maybe a bit of sexual dimorphism, some based on traditionally different sexual roles and some maybe on species mating habits. In a lot of sports, very good men are going to beat the best women, fairly consistently. The problem with the Olympics here is that people with Y chromosomes who look otherwise female tended to rise to the tops of their fields because of their natural male advantages. It is just a numbers thing - those with Y chromosomes or higher levels of testosterone have an edge, and so ended up in higher than otherwise expected frequency as elite atheletes. Earlier and to some extent still, many of them were a bit surprised to find out why they had done so well. They thought it was just years of hard work. And the Communist block countries started taking advantage of this situation to win Olympic medals. The lines have gotten sharper as science and technology have advanced allowing more sophisticated cheating.

I don't think that this will change anytime soon. Of the probably nearly 200 countries in the world today, the sentiments of the trannie crowd are given little weight in most of them. Only in the (to the rest of them) decadent west care. We are talking the US and Western Europe, much of which is likely to go Muslim in a couple of generations anyway. And if Islam is indeed on the rise, the mere existence of women's sports is more of an issue than whether a handful of sexual crossovers don't get their feelings hurt. Indeed, given the strong sexual roles in Islam, they should be more worried about being executed by Muslims for being deviants than that they are being deprived of competing as women in sports, despite having some natural male advantages. But much of this is mindless -,we saw that Gay Pride banner this week protesting that Republican haters kill (or some such) in response to a militant Muslim and registered Democrat (and Hillary supporter) killing 49 in Orlando.

MayBee said...

Christopher said...
On a related note I must say that it's going to be incredibly entertaining to see Title IX used to destroy women's sports.


exactly.

damikesc said...

Again, we have to change everything to appease a miniscule percentage of one percent of the population?

Will nobody say "Fucking get over it"?

There is zero RIGHT to be an Olympic athlete.

campy said...

Women wouldn't win in mixed competitions? Don't you people watch TV? Everyone knows women always beat men in competition.

damikesc said...

The same thing got Bobby Riggs thrown out of women's tennis.

That...and throwing a match to Bille Jean King after obliterating a superior women's player a few months earlier...

Darrell said...

that...and throwing a match to Bille Jean King after obliterating a superior women's player a few months earlier...

No proof of that at all. He was a gimmick and trick shot player and some days the tricks don't quite work. The rainsuit and boots didn't help.

Darrell said...

And I bet he had health issues, too--like low or high blood sugar. It had been so many years since he competed as a athlete, he didn't have a chance to figure out his eating schedule, etc.

tim in vermont said...

If there are so many transgenders that we have to upend out culture for them, surely than can have their own games...

But since the best guess so far seems to be .002 of the whole, it is kind of funny that this minuscule percentage keeps showing up at the Olympic level...

Unknown said...

Why are men stronger? The anatomy necessary to bear children and deliver them (wider hips, for example) and nurse them precludes high muscle mass and big shoulders. It is a trade-off. The result is that to be good at having children, women are smaller and weaker and slower. And through most of history if the woman didn't have 5 kids she left no offspring in the next generation since so many died. Men are built to run long distances and carry heavy loads and to throw spears (we have a unique shoulder girdle compared to all other apes).
This envy of women wanting to be men is just sad. To pretend that they are identical to men is just crazy. An average guy can pick up a man bigger than himself and carry him off the battlefield. I've done it just goofing around and I wasn't even young. Few if any women can do the same.
Yes, it is unfortunate that some women have an...unusual morphology. It is also unfortunate that I am not tall enough for pro basketball. There is no way to make all of life totally fair.