Tuesday, September 8, 2009


For the past several weeks, Caster Semenya, the 18 year old girl that won the 800m at the recent World Championships in Berlin has been under SEVERE scrutiny about her gender. Specifically, was she born and is she a male or is she a female. The arguments and discrepancy has gone from everything including is she a hermaphrodite to does she have too much testosterone in her body to be eligible to compete with other females.

As much as I feel that the IAAF (governing Track body) needs to ensure an even playing field so to speak, I am not sure the manner in which they went about verifying her gender has been appropriate. For one thing, this is a young person, for goodness' sake, not an inanimate object. She is a human being and I think they could have been a lot less callous and a lot more discreet in their attempts to sort everything out.

Back in the day, up until the 1996 Olympic Games, ALL FEMALES had to take a gender certification test two days prior to the start of their event and upon verification, you were issued a credit card like card to carry around with you with your picture and personal statistics. I didn't think it was a big deal at all. And just in case you were wondering, no they did not make you drop your pants in order to check, lol, it was a simple swab in both sides of your mouth that took all of about 10 seconds. Here's my card that I still have to prove it. So yes, if you've ever wondered, I am definitely a female:-)

Anyway, Ms. Semenya has undergone numerous tests following her dramatic win in Berlin and so far, the only thing they've come up with is that she has 3 times the level of testosterone in her body than the average female. I don't know what is the limit that you're allowed, naturally or otherwise to still be eligible. I'm pretty sure I probably have more testosterone in me than the average female too though. There must be a reason why my body can gain muscle SO quickly. The body of a female track athlete just is not "typical".

Semenya has since gone home and been treated to a fairly major makeover and is appearing on the cover of a magazine looking decidedly more "feminine". Here are a couple pics - one of her at World's and one of her on the magazine cover.

Now I don't know what the outcome of this situation will eventually be. I pray for her sake that everything works out just fine. If it doesn't, then fair is fair and she should not be allowed to compete with other females. I guess time will tell but in the mean time a little empathy and compassion wouldn't hurt.


Gina said...

Great Post Topic! I thought the same thing when I heard her story. This world is extremely critical and unfair when it comes to issues of gender,across the board.

ShellyShell said...

I read somewhere(can't remember the source) that the IAAF said it was sorry for putting her name in the media like this and that the investigation should have been discrete. They are launching an investigation of their own to see who leaked her name.
It's very sad that this young lady has been scrutinized so hard. Like you stated she is human and I'm sure she has feelings!

anonymousnupe said...

I feel for Caster, but come on. Could the PR machine be more obvious with the magazine cover and makeover?! And, sorry to say, she looks terrible in the mag pic. Why'd they give her a jheri curl-type do, of all things?! Bad handlers! Bad!

Brianna said...

the way they went about it was TOTALLY wrong. agreed.

however, today I read that it has been found she is a hermaphrodite. she doesn't have ovaries or a womb. Now, how that helps her be a better ahtlete, I'm not sure...but I'm guessing it somehow does otherwise the hooplah is for nothing.

anonymousnupe said...

Bri, you do know one way it helps "her" be a better athlete, right? She doesn't have to run with a certain “passenger” every 30 days or so that all the "normal" girls have to carry around, right? I know for my daughter that's a significant deterrent to training and competing. She’s like, “Blaaaah, daddy!”