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The world of elite sports is one wherein women of color are discriminated against. The definitions of femininity are restricted to those imposed by the Global North, and women who do not fit the standard of western female physicality are singled out. Caster Semenya, an Olympic athlete who hails from South Africa, identifies as female and was judged to be female at birth; Semenya also has naturally higher testosterone levels and XY chromosomes due to being born with a sex development disorder.

She is banned from participating as a woman due to her testosterone levels unless she lowers them with surgery or medication. Image free. This is the standard by which arbitrary gender distinctions are imposed: women are expected to have what men do not. Women of color, especially black women, have experienced masculinization and defeminization by the Global North, thus leading to an implicit bias that contributes to discrimination based on their appearance.

The influence of hetero-centrism and ethnocentrism renders the prototypical woman as heterosexual and white. I argue these examples demonstrate that the world of sport subjugates women of color by using a White Northern European lens to determine the femininity of a Black woman from the Global South. According to White Northern European standardswomen should be curvaceous, wide hipped, long haired and gender conforming.

These expectations require women athletes to be strong and powerful without outwardly appearing so. Contrastingly, Blackness is overwhelmingly gendered masculine. However, the reliability of such tests is doubtful as average testosterone levels are markedly different both between and amongst men and women: levels vary widely depending on the day, time of life, social statusrace, and athletic training history.

Based on this criteria, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, a hormonal condition that can include heightened testosterone affecting up to 20 percent of cisgender womenwould be considered men. This is just one example that troubles the ability of hormonal testing to conclusively determine sex.

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Further, safe-guarding and ensuring fair competition should include testing all participants or none at all. Despite this, a policy announced by the IAAF in still applies to runners in three events, all dominated by black women. No athlete from the Global North has faced such a ban or discrimination. A common pattern in all these cases is the public humiliation and scrutiny of women of color who belong to the Global South. Consequently, she attempted suicide. Comparably, non-normative women of color are being discriminated against under the guise of protecting normative, white women from the Global North.

Semenya is a queer Black woman from South Africa.

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Similarly, Dutee Chand an Indian sprinter, is lesbian. I argue these rules are about delegitimizing their excellence which threatens the white men in power, as has been argued in the case of Serena and Venus Williams as well. Competitors with genetic mutations that cause enhanced oxygen-carrying capacity are not required to reduce their enhanced oxygen carrying capacity.

The IAAF also does not test all women athletes; the investigations are irregular and selective and are based on specific external characteristics. In these ways we can see that this language of equality is weaponized to discriminate Free expression black woman looking for sex women. Seemingly scientific approaches of separating the sexes can often be weaponized against gender and sexual minoritiessuch as intersex [4] people. It is difficult to take socially constructed like gender and sex and try to fit them into science. Such policies are premised on the cultural assumption that male and female phenotypes are and should be distinct, which they are not.

Furthermore, the weight of this discriminatory, humiliating, and medically inconclusive [5] sex testing has always fallen on women. Not only does this marginalize women of color, it also marginalizes transgender [6] women and intersex individuals by failing to consider that gender is a socially constructed identity.

Gender are a form of self-identity and a social category: they are not a biological category. There have been no tests of gender other than self-identification since the Sydney Olympics; Caster Semenya identifies as a cis-gender female. Race is not a biological category either, and the incidence of women with high testosterone is the same across all races.

Certain women with high testosterone levels may not be identified through physical attributes due to sophisticated medical interventions at an early age. Athletes from the first world have an advantage in staying under the radar due to better and more accessible medical technology. These regulations seem to coincide with the recent dominance in specific track and field events by women from Sub-Saharan Africa.

These regulatory efforts cause considerable harm to the women athletes singled out for testing. Arbitrary gender binaries fail and dehumanise intersex women and women with hyperandrogenism. These arguments are based on transphobia and fear rather than facts. Thus, these approaches use transphobia as means to limit the bounds of womanhood and make it a less inclusive space for non-normative women of color.

Historically, womanhood had been defined to protect cis-gender heterosexual white women; unfortunately, women of color have their gender and bodily attributes misperceived in varied contexts based on a white-dominant social frame. As society continues to confront the racial legacies of social institutions in other ways, sports organizations like World Athletics have a clear opportunity to address the harm done as a result of the implementation of racist, sexist and transphobic ideas. Society still remains uneasy with female strength of any stripe and still prefers — still champions — delicate damsels; this outdated sentiment limits all women, but especially non-conforming women of color.

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Semenya, Chand, Negesa, and other women of color athletes with hyperandrogenism need not alter or manipulate themselves to fit ideals of womanhood that were constructed explicitly around their exclusion; their bodies are simply not the problem, and never were. However, the regulations imposed by World Athletics fail to protect all women and ensure a level playing field.

The IOC internalises societal prejudice and transphobia by cherry picking women who look different from their Western Caucasian notion of femininity. Thus, racism, misogyny, and transphobia intertwine to define the notions of womanhood in elite sport thereby becoming a shared experience for appreciating and understanding these conversations surrounding these colossal confronts and distresses.

She would like to thank thank Alanah Mortlock and Dr. Roma M. Soni for their invaluable insight that helped shape this article. Astha enjoys dim sum, murder mysteries, and lo-fi music. Responsible for the production of sex cells and sex hormones. However, these athletes did not have fully formed primacy reproductive sex organs due to their sex development disorder.

How should I feel? She has a big calf, a big foot, she makes a step like three of my steps. If you wish to submit a post to Engenderings, you can at gender. Have a look at our notes for contributors ! Bad Behavior has blocked access attempts in the last 7 days. Twitter Twitter. Straddling the line between gender and sex: How racism, misogyny, and transphobia intertwine to define notions of womanhood in the world of elite sports.

Straddling the line between gender and sex: How racism, misogyny, and transphobia intertwine to define notions of womanhood in the world of elite sports by Astha Madan Grover The world of elite sports is one wherein women of color are discriminated against.

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Transphobia as a means to limit the notion of womanhood Seemingly scientific approaches of separating the sexes can often be weaponized against gender and sexual minoritiessuch as intersex [4] people.

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