How hard is it to know if an elite athlete is a woman? (Read 2187 times)


straw man

    "I never said Caster Semenya was a man."

     

    "Just looking, I say she's a man, baby!"

     Fixed.

    He who has the best time wins. Jerry

    xor


      Just looking, I see a pretty big opportunity for some confusion.  Which, well, now I know what you meant, so cool.

       

       

      Anyway, just looking, this thread is goofy and that's all I'll say about that.

       

        Okay, so you wouldn't think she was a man. You would just think that you thought she was a man.

         

        Got it. I think.


        Right on Hereford...

          Because she's always been a woman in circumstances that had nothing to do with competitive distance running. The same way I know that you are a woman and that I am a man. The only time her gender was ever in question was when she was competing.

           

          Jeff, aside from the fact that your statements above are reportedly not true (i.e., Semenya's gender has been questioned outside of competition throughout her life), you are trying to simplify this.

           

          There are people who do not neatly fit into either category, male or female. Semenya may or may not be one of these people. The only way to know Semenya's gender "profile" is to wait for the official test results. I suspect even those results may not be very clear to most of us.

           

          What would you suggest we do with, say, a person who is determined to be "not entirely female," when it comes to competing against women? Should this person be allowed to compete against women, even if this gives her an unfair advantage over women who are "entirely female?"

           

          Should the female division in competition be open to all females who are at least partly female, or should it exclude all athletes who are not entirely female?

             

            Jeff, aside from the fact that your statements above are reportedly not true (i.e., Semenya's gender has been questioned outside of competition throughout her life), you are trying to simplify this.

             

            There are people who do not neatly fit into either category, male or female. Semenya may or may not be one of these people. The only way to know Semenya's gender "profile" is to wait for the official test results. I suspect even those results may not be very clear to most of us.

             

            What would you suggest we do with, say, a person who is determined to be "not entirely female," when it comes to competing against women? Should this person be allowed to compete against women, even if this gives her an unfair advantage over women who are "entirely female?"

             

            Should the female division in competition be open to all females who are at least partly female, or should it exclude all athletes who are not entirely female?

             

            1. Semenya has never claimed to be man, has never self-identified as a man. Her mother says she's a woman. She did not "choose" to be a woman in order to gain competitive advantage. I doubt that anyone in rural South Africa would choose to be a woman (that's another thread). Sure, other folks--a lot more lately--have questioned her gender by "looking at her", but the issue never became a problem of dramatic proportions until she started winning.  What's most relevant, in this case, is her "athletic gender." She's competed in a number of national and international events through the course of her career, and this gender--until she won the gold at the WC--was never formally questioned. The official results of the testing are in and she will not be stripped of her medal. Now that it has been formally questioned and decided upon, the vast majority of the people in this thread still want to dispute her athletic gender. I find this interesting.

             

            2. Define "unfair advantage." Do physical characteristics count as unfair advantage in athletics? Ought Bekele be disqualified because he was born light and with a big heart? Should Bolt be disqualified because he's tall AND quick? Should Semenya be disqualified because she was born with narrow hips and with more testoterone than other women? Should we measure the testoterone levels of all women? Or just the ones that we think look like men?

             

            3. Consider this: there is no physical trait that would ever provide a man with "unfair advantage." And yet here comes a woman, born with all the tools to be perhaps the greatest female track athlete of all time. The female Usain Bolt. And we want to make her into a freak sideshow.

             

            4. Didn't I say I was done a long time ago? Can I articulate my view more clearly?


            just a simple cat

              The official results of the testing are not in.  There was a recent pronouncement by the South African athletic association, but it is unrelated to the group testing her.  Those results are still weeks away.

               

              I  guess as you get more bodacious, you begin to lose more brain cells, because there is a limit to how much magnificence your body can house


              HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                Jeff, are you saying there is no competitive disadvantage between men & women? (Seriously, I'm a bit unclear on what you're asserting.) Do you think men & women should be separated for competition? I kind of suppose you believe in separate of genders (or I think you would have been more clearly saying you didn't) so I'll assume we'll work on a framework where we separate genders -- I suppose most people would go for distinguishing genders --

                 

                Do you think it should be done on the basis of self-identification -- which I think would mean accepting that men who claim to be born women in men's bodies get to compete as women? Yeah, I brought that case up because I think it is quite relevant, and not a topic shift at all -- it gets to the heart of: is it a psychological or a physical distinction we're looking for, with gender?

                 

                I suppose you'll go along with what I suppose is the vast majority view,  that we should discount psychological & self-identification aspects, and go with physical distinctions.

                Do you think it should be on the basis of sex organs? What if someone has an operation to change sex organs?

                 

                As I understand it (which may not be very clearly), the IAAF doesn't go for the simple "sex organ" rule, but instead goes with what I was trying to present earlier, which is a more holistic evaluation of secondary sexual development, including hormonal development.

                 

                Do I understand correctly that you disagree with the idea of taking hormones into account?

                 

                 

                 

                Actually it kind of sounded like you were arguing that anyone who has competed in the past as a woman, should be accepted as a woman. That to me, sounds like it may turn out to be fairly close to the psychological/self-identification standard  -- except with a consistency rule. That is, if a human who looks entirely like a male, has always self-identified as a female, and ran road races and competed as a female, then you're for accepting them as a female, based on a consistent past history of self-identification -- am I correct here?

                 

                Well, I've taken several guesses... When you grade my guesses, I'll see how I do Smile

                 

                 

                 

                PS: I was actually expecting you to clarify that you agreed that men & women should be competed separately, because otherwise women are at a competitive disadvantage, and expected you to agree that the gender definition should be physical not psychological, and to agree that the competitive disadvantage is not due to the sex organs, but due to testosterone, hormonal, and physical development, and then we could move on to debating testing-- & whether to test at all, or whether to shift to entirely believing all athletes, and dropping all tests  -- after all, that is what all the road races do, to my knowledge -- they don't check gender or age, and don't care at all about drugs.

                 

                But to my surprise, you seem to be arguing for a self-identification/psychological basis of gender identity -- so I'm interested to see if you clarify that. Again, I'm really interested to see if you want to admit "humans who claim to be females born in male bodies" to the women's fields, because if you do, then I'll see quite clearly you believe in the primacy of the psychological aspect gender identification, as far as competitive division.

                It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.


                Feeling the growl again

                   

                   

                  3. Consider this: there is no physical trait that would ever provide a man with "unfair advantage." 

                   

                  I'm curious where this comes from....then how do you explain the very, very significant superiority of ALL male track and field records short of extreme ultra distance running?

                  "If you want to be a bad a$s, then do what a bad a$s does.  There's your pep talk for today.  Go Run." -- Slo_Hand

                   

                  C-R


                    Wow. This thread has turned into its own freakshow - so to speak.

                     

                    How would this work? If there was a male athlete with all the proper tools and kicking some serious butt in events but a high enough estrogen count due to natural occurences to be questionable, Would you reclassify him or question his claim to be a man? Would this person be moved to the female events?

                     

                    Personally, I find this entire argument insulting to the athlete who has always been considered a female. Usain Bolt is a freak in his own right but he's not questioned as being an uberman and placed in his own category. Why this girl? We may be seeing one of the woman track athletes of all time and she is questioned for her femininity. How 'bout those East German "girls" in the 70s and 80s? They got caught doping but no one questioned their sex and most of them were in the initial stages of manhood so to speak.

                     

                    Perhaps she's not attractive in the general sense but who among us is so to speak. Billy Jean King and Martina Navratilova had to deal with some of this as well. Last question - what is the fundamental difference between male and female? The ability to bear children? I don't believe any transgender can accomplish this. As repugnant as this point is, if the answer is yes then case closed.

                     

                    Jeff is right on this one.


                    "He conquers who endures" - Persius
                    "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel


                    HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                       

                      Wow. This thread has turned into its own freakshow - so to speak.

                       

                      Quite interesting, so far, in my opinion Smile

                       

                      Of course, I don't know much about freakshows, so maybe partly its the novelty that interests me. I've never thought about the gender classification in races before.

                      How would this work? If there was a male athlete with all the proper tools and kicking some serious butt in events but a high enough estrogen count due to natural occurences to be questionable, Would you reclassify him or question his claim to be a man? Would this person be moved to the female events?

                       

                       

                      I have to admit, I have no idea what IAAF or other organizations may do about male testing -- if you want me to speculate, I bet they don't test at all or worry about. 

                       

                      If you are curious what I'd suggest doing, I'd suggest not worrying about it.

                       

                      Personally, I find this entire argument insulting to the athlete who has always been considered a female. Usain Bolt is a freak in his own right but he's not questioned as being an uberman and placed in his own category. Why this girl? We may be seeing one of the woman track athletes of all time and she is questioned for her femininity. How 'bout those East German "girls" in the 70s and 80s? They got caught doping but no one questioned their sex and most of them were in the initial stages of manhood so to speak.

                       

                       

                      re: Why this girl?

                       

                      Why is this thread about her? Since my primary evidence was that everyone around me, and everyone who discussed it afterward in real life, thought they were seeing a male, or a female who looked shockingly like a female, I think the Occam's hypothesis would be that the Internet people who started this thread had similar experiences.

                       

                      But it sounds like Jeff had a very different experience, or the people with whom he saw it had different experiences -- I'm curious about that -- and about you -- did the people with whom you see it, not remark?

                       

                      As I say, since everyone I know remarked, I'd just naturally assumed that was the common reaction (not having other primary evidence, and not having thought of soliciting input).

                      Perhaps she's not attractive in the general sense but who among us is so to speak. Billy Jean King and Martina Navratilova had to deal with some of this as well. Last question - what is the fundamental difference between male and female? The ability to bear children? I don't believe any transgender can accomplish this. As repugnant as this point is, if the answer is yes then case closed.

                       

                      Jeff is right on this one.

                       

                      Should I understand that you argue that anyone with the ability to conceive & bear children should be considered a female?

                       

                      Would you really bar those who are sterile, or have had their ovaries removed?

                       

                      That would surprise me, so I am guessing you don't really mean that the way I read it...

                      It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.


                      HobbyJogger & HobbyRacer

                         

                        I'm curious where this comes from....then how do you explain the very, very significant superiority of ALL male track and field records short of extreme ultra distance running?

                         

                         

                        There is a finite possibility that a coin flipped very many times, will come up heads every time.

                         

                        cf

                        Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

                         

                         

                        I mean, whether or not the movie is relevant, it's worth the watching.

                        Smile

                        It's a 5k. It hurt like hell...then I tried to pick it up. The end.


                        Hawt and sexy

                          There was a woman from India that failed a gender test after the 2006 Asian Games and was stripped of her medal.  She later tried to commit suicide.  I hope this does not happen with the South African woman. 

                           

                          There was an East German woman that was juiced up on steroids by her coach for so long, that she felt she was a man without a penis.  She had gender reassignment surgury.

                           

                          There was a Polish woman that set world records way back in the day.  She lived her entire life as a woman.  When she died a violent death, an autopsy found she was well, both male and female.  So what to do about those WRs?

                           

                          I don't have a point really.  AP, am I a woman?

                          I'm touching your pants.

                          C-R


                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                             

                            Should I understand that you argue that anyone with the ability to conceive & bear children should be considered a female?

                             

                            Would you really bar those who are sterile, or have had their ovaries removed?

                             

                             

                             

                            Ummm no. You miss my point. You don't think that someone who is sterile or had a hysterectomy to be any less a woman would you?

                             

                            Interestingly people in my real life didn't even notice there were any track and field world championships. They are too worried about the Colts chances at getting to the Super Bowl. So I have no other input except these internet discussions.

                             

                            I think Willa makes the point very well at the ramifications of this testing and the damage it can do. Guilty until proven innocent. It is a slap at one of our basic tenants. Have we really become this cynical. This is not an equivalent to a PED in my opinion. Her genetic blessing can also be a curse. As it seems we are al to well playing out on the trenternet.

                             

                            By the way (since I am watching the US Open) would something like this come up if she looked anything like Maria Sharipove? Not likely. So what does that say. Something about judging a book by its cover......


                            "He conquers who endures" - Persius
                            "Every workout should have a purpose. Every purpose should link back to achieving a training objective." - Spaniel


                            Hawt and sexy

                              Also, women were at one point required to pass a gender test to compete in the Olympic Games.  They had to strip and parade naked in front of judges to prove they were, in fact, female.  Men were not required to perform such a test.  I think the boys just wanted to see bewbies.

                              I'm touching your pants.

                                 

                                 

                                I'm curious where this comes from....then how do you explain the very, very significant superiority of ALL male track and field records short of extreme ultra distance running?

                                 

                                I'm pretty sure he means there is no physical trait that could get a man disqualified from competition because that trait is deemed an unfair advantage.

                                 

                                God this thread sucks.

                                Runners run.