Even Shakespeare used the singular they. Pretending it’s bad grammar is no excuse for disrespecting someone’s preferred gender pronoun.
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?
In a move critics call “policing femininity,” recent rule changes by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body of track and field, state that for a woman to compete, her testosterone must not exceed the male threshold.
If it does, she must have surgery or receive hormone therapy prescribed by an expert IAAF medical panel and submit to regular monitoring. So far, at least a handful of athletes — the figure is confidential — have been prescribed treatment, but their numbers could increase. Last month, the International Olympic Committee began the approval process to adopt similar rules for the Games.
There’s a lot going on here, but here’s what jumped out at us immediately: Women, particularly women athletes, are constantly told they’re not as strong or fast as men—and now that they’re proving otherwise, they’re being forced to undergo hormone treatments. We don’t think it’s a coincidence that women of color are coming under fire for this more than white women. From the article: “Lindsay Perry, another scientist, says sometimes whole teams of African women are dead ringers for men.” This is a clear example of how we’ve constructed a very particular, very narrow ideal of femininity and womanhood that devalues and casts aside black women in particular.
That’s like saying men who are too tall can’t be allowed to play basketball, men whose have naturally more testosterone can’t compete because it’s unfair to other men, and so on, and so on. Anyone with a physically natural advantage must be hindered. That’s not how sports work. What if they told a young man he was too big to play football? You can’t only real women can compete, and real women have to be this size and have this much of a certain hormone, otherwise they’re not women….but they’re not men either.
All of the above comments. When you have to try so hard to maintain femininity and masculinity on YOUR standards…
And this is how bodies are gendered according to social standards, yet still everyone points to “undeniable biological factors” when making blanket statements about physical abilities.
My mom is signing me up for a women’s self defense class at the gym we go to. After I attend, I write my opinion of it as feminist on this blog.
I asked my boyfriend if I could talk about this because it involves him. For those of you who don’t know, my boyfriend happens to be Mexican. You can’t really tell his background by looking at him (well, you can’t really tell anyone’s background just by looking at them) but his skin is fairly dark. To some extent, I know his skin color and his cultural background has affected his experiences and the way people treat him. People including my family. My family are far from being vehemently hateful rednecks. In fact, they tend to be loving, accepting and kind. But they can be ignorant and insensitive on occasion. For example, the first time my boyfriend came over for dinner, my mom went on and on about his Mexican heritage and continuously asked him questions about how Mexican he was. I was glaring at her the whole time. I was so embarrassed. I kept thinking- “why don’t you ask him about his artwork or his science geekery or something? There’s other aspects to him than just being Mexican.” Honestly, it pissed me off more than it pissed off my boyfriend. He liked that she was genuinely interested in his culture despite her excessiveness. Since then, he’s gotten questions about his “Mexicaness” at every family event I take him to. It’s always awkward but he answers nicely and politely anyway. I’ve confronted my mom about it and her response has basically been that she can’t help that’s she’s interested because she’s such a boring white person with no cultural background. I’m not kidding.
If any of my fellow white people are reading this, I hope you please keep these things in mind (not all this advice refers specifically to my family btw):
- There’s nothing wrong with taking a genuine interest in someone else’s cultural background at all. However, when that’s the only part of that persons identity you act interested in, it becomes fucked up and warped. It doesn’t matter how good your intentions are.
- Be respectful. Don’t exoticize other people. Don’t act like their culture is weird. Recognize the difference between exoticizing a culture and truly appreciating it
- Recognize the difference between appropriation and appreciation
- White culture has a long history of imperialism, racism and other bullshit and if you’re a sensible person, you realize that’s not a legacy to be proud of. That doesn’t mean your life has to be devoid of culture. Look into your own European background. I’m very in touch with my Swedish heritage and that has added a lot to my life.
- If you say something racist, ignorant or insensitive, admit it and apologize.
This is the second post in my series on BDSM and feminism. My challenge to myself was to make a list of 50 reasons why the widespread appreciation of 50 Shades of Grey is not so ideal, despite the fact that I generally think women enjoying sexually explicit material is a…
This is, by far, the most embarrassing advert I have ever seen. Apparently it’s the European Commission’s attempt at getting more girls into science. If you had shown me this when I was trying to decide on what subjects I wanted to take past 2nd year, this really wouldn’t have encouraged me to do science at all.
It’s an utterly desperate attempt to make science look “cool” by bringing fucking high heels, attractive women and make-up into it and showing the reaction of men when they see a woman who can do science. Here’s a better idea: why not make an advert that shows women actually DOING science in a lab? Because, I dunno if any of the people who thought this up actually know shit about science… but there’s actually an insane amount of properly amazing things that can be done.
Virginity. You may not realize it ladies, But Your virginity is something so special and sacred, Like a diamond. Don’t ever let sweet words, If you’re going to do it make sure it’s with someone who is special to you, not just a one night stand. But If i could, I would’ve waited until i was married. but i don’t regret the person i lost it to.
So remember, “Protect your diamond until you get a diamond.”
I really hate to be nit picky, but posts like these are very annoying. Not because they talk about virginity, but because of the way they talk about virginity.
Virginity is not some magical thing that needs to be protected. It’s not a “diamond” that needs to meet with another diamond to be good or special or right. It’s a social construct meant to control women sexually. THIS up here? This is NOT the way to go about discussing sex and whether or not someone should wait. It plants silly little fairy tales into young girl’s heads and leaves out vital information that they probably should know.
If you really want to give good advice on virginity and choosing to wait or not here’s a good place to start: your virginity does NOT make who you are. It does not change you, it doesn’t make you special or unique. Your focus shouldn’t be on preserving your virginity, but rather, being aware of sex and knowing when you want to have it and what you’re comfortable with. If you’re comfortable with waiting, then do it. If you’re comfortable with having sex, go for it. And there’s a bunch of stuff in between the two. Knowing your choices and your feelings is what’s important, and if you want to wait for that “special person,” than that’s ok. But go about it realistically; this fantasy virginity crap helps no one in the long run.
|—||Ashley Judd, from this well-written and thought-provoking article: http://bit.ly/reBs41 (via themostawkwardkid)|
One time, a dear friend of my mine said this as she was scuttling off to the bathroom. I was somewhat horrified and shocked but I just laughed and explained to my friend that vaginas don’t really work that way. This friend of mine isn’t an anomaly. I know so many cis girls who don’t have any idea what their own anatomy is like and how it functions. It’s not their fault. Most girls aren’t educated about it and they are discouraged from exploring and figuring it for themselves. It’s really fucking sad. Knowing how your own body works is vital health information. Everyone should have the right to know their own body. It’s so sad and pathetic that many young girls are denied that basic right. As they grow up, they’re ignorant and confused about their bodies. How are these girls supposed to love and appreciate and take care of their bodies if they don’t understand how their bodies work?
(note: I know some nonbinary folks have the same or similar anatomy to cis girls but I don’t feel qualified to speak about what their experiences with this issue are like. I definitely think their experiences are important and should be talked about though. And people all across the gender spectrum are more than welcome to send me message about their experiences or their opinions on this issue)