Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

A level playing field

Except when it doesn’t suit us.

Last week, track and field’s world governing body limited entry into women’s events to athletes who have testosterone levels that are capable of being produced solely by ovaries.

These rules apply across the board to athletes however they presented at birth. Advocates for intersex and transgender athletes have vigorously attacked the International Association of Athletics Federations’ new rules, but they are an extraordinary compromise for women’s sports, including for traditional feminist proponents of equal access to sports for girls and women, guaranteed in the civil rights legislation known as Title IX.

Understanding the rules and why they make sense is hard. They are based in biology people don’t know or don’t like to talk about and, let’s be honest, at least in some circles, they’re politically incorrect. They force us to talk about women’s bodies when it is increasingly taboo to do so, and they run counter to the movement that seeks to include transgender and intersex people in social institutions based on their gender identity rather than their biology.

These are important progressive developments, but their effects on valuable institutions like women’s sport are real and they need to be understood before positions harden on bad information. Pretending that the female body doesn’t exist or that we can’t define the boundaries between men’s and women’s bodies is a bad idea for many reasons. Replacing traditional sex classifications with classifications based on gender identity certainly has steep costs in contexts like competitive sport, where the likelihood of success is precisely about sex-specific biology.

A lot has been written about intersex athletes who identify — or are identified in their legal documents — as women. What is important to know is that there are many different intersex conditions, but the I.A.A.F. is only concerned with the subset that involves athletes who are biologically male. They are “in between” only with respect to the pre-birth underdevelopment of their external genitals. Intersex athletes who are biologically female aren’t affected by the rules.

Specifically, the athletes who are the focus of the I.A.A.F.’s rules are those who have testes. Starting in puberty and as adults, their testes produce sperm, not eggs, and supply testosterone in quantities that biologically female bodies and their ovaries never come close to producing.

The male range at its lowest is three times higher than the female range at its highest. At puberty these athletes developed male, not female, secondary sex characteristics: increased muscle mass and strength, including increased heart size; higher hemoglobin levels, which result in better oxygen carrying capacity; and different muscle types and ratios of fat to muscle.

Advocates for intersex athletes like to say that sex doesn’t divide neatly. This may be true in gender studies departments, but at least for competitive sports purposes, they are simply wrong. Sex in this context is easy to define and the lines are cleanly drawn: You either have testes and testosterone in the male range or you don’t. As the I.A.A.F.’s rules provide, a simple testosterone test establishes this fact one way or the other.

This is actually a highly sensible editorial, especially as it ran originally in the NYT. I hate to argue with her, since she’s taken basically the same position and used the same words I have myself, many times over. But…no. HELL no. No way. To begin with: despite current PC fashion, sex in just about ANY context is “easy to define,” with cleanly drawn lines.

The writer, being an athlete, focuses exclusively on sports. Sorry, but that’s not sufficient. From the military to fire departments to just about any field where biology and physical reality puts women at a disadvantage, standards have been lowered to allow females access at the behest of so-called “third-wave” feminists. For decades, these “feminists” have angrily insisted that there are no meaningful differences between men and women, and that every obstruction to total male-female “equality” must therefore be demolished. They’ve forcibly reshaped society to square with these absurd contentions. Any common-sense pushback is dismissed with enraged howls of protest, or mocked as anachronistic stupidity at best.

Fine by me, then. Every womens’ sports league, at every level from professional down to junior-high, must be disbanded by law. Transgenders must be accommodated as whichever of the 357 Flavors of Fluidity suits them that day, week, month, or season. There shall be no more women-only public bathrooms, gym showers, or university housing. Likewise sororities, hobbyist groups, social clubs, and all other female-only organizations. The WNBA must take its place on the ash-heap of history’s discarded lies, a shameful monument to discrimination and bigotry from a less-enlightened era. If aspiring female firefighters can’t carry the dummy the requisite distance in the requisite time—a dummy of the exact same size and weight as the men must qualify with—then they don’t get to ride the truck or carry the hose. Can’t beat the boys in the fifty-yard dash, wrestling, or powerlifting? Can’t manage as many pull-ups as a male SEAL or Marine? Better learn how to be a good loser, then.

No shortcuts, do-overs, handicaps, or ladies’ tees. No weeping rooms, fainting couches, or “safe spaces” either. Plumbing problems, flat tires, any home repair requiring a circular saw, a sledgehammer, or a prybar? Your arms ain’t broke, fix it yourself. Nut up or wash out. If you can’t stand the heat, get back in the kitchen.

Don’t like that, “ladies”? Please allow me to commend Alinsky’s Rule 4 to your attention, following which you can all go pound sand. Sorry, but you don’t get to have your cake and eat it too; you want to be “equal,” then you will BY GOD BE EQUAL, according to the truest, sparest, most literal definition of the word. It’s only fair.

Careful what you wish for, Lefty dopes.

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3 thoughts on “A level playing field

  1. the exact same size and weight as the men must qualify with

    At which point the weight of the object is reduced to 10 pounds. Equal standards only make sense if the standards are sufficient to see the job done, and that will almost always put them beyond the capacity of women.

  2. I did enjoy sports as a kid; however, I realized that, from about age 11-12 onward, I was simply NOT going to be able to compete, head-to-head, with the boys. I either joined a girls’ team, or found something else to do.

    Many parts of life are accessible for either sex. Other are not. I often found that doing whatever the boys were doing was more interesting, so I hung around them to enjoy the same activities (electronics, computers). When they made it known that they wanted ‘guy time’ (usually by talking about gross stuff), I left, and found something else to do.

    There’s an odd physical quirk in many girls that are good at STEM stuff. Their ring finger is as long as, or longer, than their index finger. This follows the same pattern as the typical male hand. In most girls, the ring finger is shorter than the index finger.

    My ring finger is about 0.5 cm longer than index finger. And, I’m a retired physics/chemistry teacher, excellent with computers, and a ham radio operator.

    Like I said, quirky.

  3. Good scene from a a mediocre-at-best movie (Ghost Dog: Way of the Samurai)

    Louie: Jesus, Vinny. You just iced a woman, you know that?

    Vinny: You know what you are, Louie? You’re a fuckin’ male chauvinist pig.

    Louie: What do you mean, I’m a male chauvinist pig? You just shot a broad.

    Vinny: A cop. I just shot a cop. They wanna be equal? I made her equal.

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