Take Action Tuesday

Challenging ideas of Womanhood

Last week the Court of Arbitration for Sport decided to prevent Caster Semenya (NYT) and other women from competing in world sport competitions because of their innate high testosterone levels may constitute an unfair advantage. This is not only unfair (lets face it, no one prevented Michael Phelps from competing) but also an opportunity to educate ourselves that narrow definitions of womanhood are misogynistic, racist, transphobic and are NOT based in science. We must:

  1. Push back against ‘narrow ideas of womanhood’. There is a long history of efforts to make women more ‘feminine’ and define what a ‘real woman’ is. Today Caster Semenya is the face of this narrow minded way of thinking.

  2. Push back again racist ideas of womanhood: “What Caster Semenya is experiencing is part of a long history of pathologizing black women's bodies and using white women as the standard of female gender identity.” - Prof. Kia Caldwell.

  3. Fight Intersex and Trans discrimination: “Being intersex is not the same as being trans, but society at large tends to conflate the two.” - Pidgeon Pagonis, an intersex activist and co-founder of the Intersex Justice Project.

  4. The concept that testosterone determines womanhood is not based in science.

Photo by Tirza van Dijk on Unsplash