Friday, September 11, 2009

My Spirit Grieves

Some of y'all have heard the news.

Caster Semenya, who I wrote about in this post, is now dealing with the news that she may be a hermaphrodite. Semenya learned of this condition not through a discreet meeting with her family doctor, but through the sports pages of newspapers and websites across the world.

The international governing body charged with investigating Semenya's gender has not released its official report, but apparently somebody at the organization decided to leak the personal information to an Australian newspaper. That paper proudly trumpeted its "scoop," and news organizations across the world ran with the news.

And somewhere, I'm sure a young woman cried.

At least, I know I would have cried. Maybe Miss Semenya is stronger than me. Likely she's dealt with taunts and jibes about her physique and "manliness" her entire life. I'm sure those outcries only became worse when she began to dominate the other little fast girls at track and field. After all, nothing brings more hatred than dominance.

Maybe Semenya didn't cry when the news broke of her internal testes. Maybe she just shrugged and took it in ground-eating stride. But, I doubt it. After all, the recent pictures released of the runner all dolled up in makeup and jewelry, an abrupt departure from her typical look, tell me that either she or the people around her are susceptible to public pressure.

This whole thing has been a debacle. There is no other way to describe it. The life of this teenager will never, EVER be the same, and it is completely not her fault. From the initial questioning to this recent leak, it's as if the IAAF had no concern for the feelings of this young runner, and instead was hellbent on destroying her.

It's mind boggling to consider that the sports media was immediately willing to run a story based on anonymous sources that proclaimed a teenager a hermaphrodite, but when confronted with a court filing that accused a famous NFL player of rape, it took days for the news to break. Wait, scratch that, it's not mind boggling, it's perfectly understandable.

Some people's feelings and self image are important. Other people are nothing. This is the way the world has always worked, and likely it's the way it will always work.

And that's why my spirit grieves.



LisaMJ said...

I feel exactly the same way. That poor girl. She is still a kid and all of this attention to such a private matter has been horrible.

macon d said...

Absolutely. You articulated my thoughts and feelings about her pretty much exactly. Thank you for spelling this out.

Mommyj said...

I have been following this story and my heart just breaks for this young lady. Who in there right mind thought that exposing this young woman to this type of scrutiny was ok. This really ticks me off. As you stated her life will never be the same. She will be in my prayers.

Thordaddy said...

Lil' man,

This post is a perfect example of why liberalism has no business being the ruling orthodoxy of our civilization...

First, it's clear when people's livelihoods and reputations are on the line, they will drop their naive notions of non-discrimination and equality in a heartbeat.

Secondly, your liberalism implies that people should not see what is right in front of their face. Meaning, this person and those around her/him KNEW that by pursuing a national stage in the arena of elite athletics she/he would come under intense scrunity BECAUSE of the obvious and self-evident.

You, like most who push liberalism as a highest principle, ask others to believe your lying eyes...

Shady_Grady said...

I don't know that liberalism has anything to do with this here but I agree that Semenya should not have allowed to race in the womens' events IF the reports are true.

If Semenya truly has no womb and appears to have no female secondary sex characteristics, then Semenya is a man. A man shouldn't be running in womens' events. The South Africa Sports Association tried to pull a fast one and got caught.

It's unfortunate for Semenya if the reports are true but to be fair to the other women, this person should not be allowed to race in the future.

Thordaddy said...

Shady Grady,

What convinced this person and his/her supporters that she/he would be free from scrutiny even as this person was blowing other women off the track?

In an increasingly "progressive" society, how can someone on this national stage expect "right to privacy?" Why does she/he even deserve it other than to suggest she/he wants it?

In a more traditional setting, this person would have avoided a national stage in which to express her/his political activism.

Shady_Grady said...

TD, what are you talking about?

Caster Semenya is South African. Is there any evidence that South Africa is an outrageously liberal society or that political viewpoints had anything to do with this chain of events? What political statements has Semenya made?

Big Man said...

Shady Grady

Word to the wise. Do not attempt to reason with Thor. If you must, you must, I understand that itch, but I wanted to let you know.

I appreciate your point, but I'm somewhat confused.

Where is the line drawn that determines manhood or womanhood? I wonder if people would care about Semenya's possible lack of a womb if she was actually losing races instead of dominating the comp. It seems she was born right on the dividing line between man and woman, and it's unclear how to categorize her. I think it's ridiculous to assume that she was attempting to "pull a fast one." She may have simply been raised in a poor village as a woman, and always thought of herself as such. From what I've read about her family, while they always thought she was "mannish" she was always considered a woman. It seems she may have learned of her difference through this trying ordeal.

Shady_Grady said...

=) Thanks for the advice, Big Man, so noted.

The way I see it once puberty set in Semenya and "her" family would have known that there are a set of changes that females go through. If "she" wasn't getting those changes that should have raised some questions.

There are a number of similar conditions that apparently the IAFF allows exceptions for, so that someone like a Semenya can compete in women's races-provided this is all handled before hand.

I agree, the line between male/female is fuzzier than I had previously thought. I've learned more than I wanted to over the past couple of weeks but fuzzy line or not, someone with no uterus or ovaries and internal testes is just not female..IMO of course. It's just not in the definition from what I can see.

Since it wasn't handled beforehand, and on average, masculinity, maleness, testosterone, (whatever we want to call it) is an advantage in most competitive sports this was unfair to the other women runners. If we don't have sex separated sports, women would lose.

Semenya may well consider herself female but IF the reports are true it doesn't appear that she met the criteria to run in a female only race.

Thordaddy said...

Shady Grady,

Perhaps you should acquaint yourself with SA history and it's decimation by white SA liberals. The take lil' man wants to sell is of some poor African girl that just doesn't know anything about those mean white athletic officials.

Raving Black Lunatic