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Policing feminity


alysee

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Ugh. This is why I tend to think sex distinctions should be done away with in sport. There are so many other factors, like socioeconomic status (as mentioned in the article), that aren't controlled for, so it strikes me as artificial and sexist to divide competitors on the basis of sex.

I practise karate, and at competitions it's standard to divide competitors by gender, both for the sparring (which doesn't make much sense to me given that you're generally divided by weight, too) and the kata, or forms, which are individual graded performances. The reason given for segregating men and women here is that men and women perform kata differently, with men tending to go more for strength and women for speed. It's harder for the judges to compare one man's stronger, slower kata with a woman's weaker, faster one than it is to compare two strong "male" katas with two fast "female" katas.

This is bullshit.

It's true that there are general trends in the styles of kata chosen by men and women. However, I think a lot of this has to do with conditioning rather than inherent ability. When you've got a sensei telling you "Girls, you need to be really fast so you can beat stronger men" (true story!), well, you're going to focus on speed.

Yes, men IN GENERAL have more testosterone, but the article shows that's not absolute. We have these cultural ideas that men are strong and women are weak, when in reality it's far more nuanced than that. Clinging to these paradigms means that people who don't fall into these boxes are seen as anomalies rather than normal human beings.

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I agree. Obviously, doping with male hormones shouldn't be permitted, but there is a range of levels that naturally occurs in women. Forcing people to undergo medical procedures and non-therapeutic medications is just wrong. Let's face it: in Olympic-level competition, we are dealing with people who are going to be physical outliers, and many will have been born with some sort of genetic advantage.

Do we see them force-feeding female gymnasts and making them take growth hormones?

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I agree. Obviously, doping with male hormones shouldn't be permitted, but there is a range of levels that naturally occurs in women. Forcing people to undergo medical procedures and non-therapeutic medications is just wrong. Let's face it: in Olympic-level competition, we are dealing with people who are going to be physical outliers, and many will have been born with some sort of genetic advantage.

Do we see them force-feeding female gymnasts and making them take growth hormones?

Michael Phelps should have surgery on his arms because they're naturally longer than average, meaning he can pull more water than someone the same size with "normally-proportioned" arms. It makes about as much sense as forcing athletes to take HRT.

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