Olympics Struggle With ‘Policing Femininity’

In a potential move which seems both startlingly futuristic and archaic, the Olympics may require some of the world’s top female athletes to alter their natural bodies through surgery or hormone therapy to become more similar to what the Olympics imagines a “woman” is, if they wish to compete. Time to scrap the outdated two-gender sporting system and experiment with three or more classes? The Toronto Star writes:

There are female athletes who will be competing at the Olympic Games this summer after undergoing treatment to make them less masculine. Still others are being secretly investigated for displaying overly manly characteristics, as sport’s highest medical officials attempt to quantify — and regulate — the hormonal difference between male and female athletes.

Caster Semenya, the South African runner who was so fast and muscular that many suspected she was a man, exploded onto the front pages three years ago. She was considered an outlier, a one-time anomaly. But similar cases are emerging all over the world, and Semenya, who was banned from competition for 11 months while authorities investigated her sex, is back, vying for gold.

Semenya and other women like her face a complex question: Does a female athlete whose body naturally produces unusually high levels of male hormones, allowing them to put on more muscle mass and recover faster, have an “unfair” advantage?…

Read More: Toronto Star

  • Jin The Ninja

    Jacob, just a minor correction- the paper is the Toronto Star.

    • http://disinfo.com Disinformation

       Thanks, fixed.

  • Bingo

    The difference is in their pants. 

    • http://internetkhole.blogspot.com/ Pb

      All Olympic athletes ought to compete completely nude, just like in the old days.

      • Bingo

        I’m all for it, and ratings would go up.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daniel-Savio/100001826954767 Daniel Savio

      Nope.  The difference is in their hormones, not in their pants.

      • Bingo

        ok anti joke chicken. the difference is in their DNA that triggers the synthesis of your so called hormones 

  • Redacted

    I’m not going to lie, I really don’t know what to make of this. I think its simply the few women who picked the “super athlete” ticket in the ‘genetic lottery’ finally making themselves known.

    They really aren’t too far behind ‘super athlete’ males, they too only became known once being a professional athlete became a legitimate and glamorous job.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/myconica Threedinium

    So maybe instead of having gender-based divisions maybe we should just measure the hormone levels and group people that way?

  • Brianh1903

    Funny that this female athlete whose suspected of being a man has the last name SEMENya

  • discusthrower

    I admit that it is weird, but it isn’t fair for the competing women if somebody has defining characteristics of men, ie gonads.

  • Will

    “In the 1960s, female athletes had to walk nude in front of a panel of experts who assessed their sexual credentials.”

    experts, experts….