If Caster Semenya was white, blonde, well-to-do and she blew away her competition at a sporting event…would her gender be in question? Would her medical tests and results be announced on the nightly news? How much has the Eurocentric, supermodel ideal of not only beauty ideals but standards for how a woman “should” look become ingrained in our minds?
A girl, and she is a girl, from a rural South African village with corn rows, a preference for pants rather than skirts, and defined muscles is judged by her appearance and is forced to prove her gender. And yet don’t lots of girls and women wear their hair short all over the world? Aren’t there girls everywhere who prefer pants to skirts and dresses? Aren’t there women working out in gyms right now with the goal of building defined muscles?
To announce to the world that a teenage girl is in fact being required to prove that she is indeed female is insensitive and cruel….to immediately assume that she was somehow cheating, hiding her gender and hint she isn’t capable of what she’s acheived is demeaning. Her coaches, siblings, parents….people who have known her all her life have all stated that she’s female, why force her to undergo invasive medical procedures?
Had she not been a black South African village girl…would her triumph in Berlin been untainted? Would she have been subjected to medical tests and had those results made public? Would her privacy have been respected and protected?