Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I'm back!

We'll see if I can get this sucker started again, now that my life isn't consumed with summer camp-y things.

Thought I'd just make a note about the local news headline I just heard while watching Oprah. The newscaster said, "The controversy over the gender of a runner. Hear the voice and decide for yourself!"

What? Really?

The story is about Caster Semenya, the 18-year-old South African runner who recently won a World Championship. Upon winning, her masculinity became an issue and her story has been everywhere. It raises some interesting questions, specifically what place do people who do not conform to the stereotypical dichotomy of gender have in athletics?

I'm really not sure what the answer is, and I'm not really sure what approach to take about it, as a feminist. On one hand, I don't believe that physical or biological markers are the making of gender, but what if such biological markers give some athletes a distinct advantage? Is that unfair? Does it even matter? Are we going to ban all biological/genetic advantages...(the example a coworker gave is Michael Phelps' atypical proportions which are credited with giving him an advantage in the pool.)

Whatever the decision is about this case and athletics...the point remains that the wording of this news report is so incredibly insensitive. "Decide for yourself." Since when did someone's gender become a matter of public opinion? What is the news story trying to prove? What does her voice have to do with it all really?

It just reeks of mockery.

By the by, I learned of a new term that I enjoy knowing: "Cisgendered" which means, when your gender and your biological sex are in sync. In other words, when you are not transgendered.