Unfair Advantage

In Women’s Studies, we had a guest lecturer who talked about certain situations where fabulous athletes were pulled out of sports because they might have an “advantage” over others. The latest story that we all might be familiar with is Caster Semenya, the South African runner who won the gold this past August in the 800 meters race in the 2009 World Championships in Athletics. She finished with a record time of 1:55:45, but unlike other male runners who were instantly showered with glory and fame, Semenya was subjected to questions about her gender. She looked “too male” and many people started wondering if she really was. Because surely a female couldn’t have beaten her opponent by such a large time gap. Society covered it by calling it an unfair competitive advantage if she was male or had some rare disease such as an extra Y chromosome.

Why is it that males such as Usain Bolt, who made such rare records, were never questioned if they had an unfair condition, but a female who deserved her just praise was instead given criticism? Why are female athletes in general subjected to gender verification tests? Maribel Dominguez, an amazing soccer player from Mexico, was denied entrance into a world men’s team because she was female. This brings up the question, why do we have different teams for different sexes? Why must there be a boys’ basketball team and a girls’ basketball team? I understand that the guys may get a little rough and/or rowdy, but imagine how much better that team would be if you got the best of both sexes involved. I think if a woman wants to play on a men’s sports team, she shouldn’t be denied the right based on the fear that she has to be treated with care. At the end we’re all human, and I think gender shouldn’t deliberate whether glory is deserved or not. If the boundaries of gender were torn down, there would be no need for “verification tests” or even to force transgenders to commit to sex operations.

Males, Females, M to F, or F to M, whichever gender one identifies with, it doesn’t matter at the end. What matters is doing what you love to do and playing what you love to play. And if gender gets in the way of that and society calls that an “unfair advantage” then I think society needs to reevaluate the definition of that.

<3 A.

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