Who is a woman, and who gets to decide? Category: Woman focuses on four athletes from the Global South who are required by sporting institution World Athletics to medically alter their healthy bodies if they want to continue to compete in their sport.
Sport has a long, insidious history of policing female athletes’ bodies. Who is a woman and who gets to decide? When 18-year-old South African runner Caster Semenya burst onto the world stage in 2009, her championship was not celebrated, but instead she came under invasive public scrutiny, and her personal medical records were leaked to international media. With some women’s naturally high androgen levels deemed a performance advantage, the International Amateur Athletics Federation (now World Athletics) ruled that in order to compete, these female athletes must medically alter their healthy bodies. Category: Woman focuses on four athletes from the Global South who are forced out of competition by these regulations, the devastation to their bodies, and lives. The public scrutiny and policing of their bodies raises issues of racism, sexism and denial of the most fundamental right—to who they are. Continue