There are female athletes who will be competing at the Olympic Games this summer after undergoing treatment to make them less masculine.
Still others are being secretly investigated for displaying overly manly characteristics, as sport’s highest medical officials attempt to quantify — and regulate — the hormonal difference between male and female athletes.
Caster Semenya, the South African runner who was so fast and muscular that many suspected she was a man, exploded onto the front pages three years ago. She was considered an outlier, a one-time anomaly.
But similar cases are emerging all over the world, and Semenya, who was banned from competition for 11 months while authorities investigated her sex, is back, vying for gold.
Semenya and other women like her face a complex question: Does a female athlete whose body naturally produces unusually high levels of male hormones, allowing them to put on more muscle mass and recover faster, have an “unfair” advantage?
In a move critics call “policing femininity,” recent rule changes by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF), the governing body of track and field, state that for a woman to compete, her testosterone must not exceed the male threshold.
If it does, she must have surgery or receive hormone therapy prescribed by an expert IAAF medical panel and submit to regular monitoring. So far, at least a handful of athletes — the figure is confidential — have been prescribed treatment, but their numbers could increase. Last month, the International Olympic Committee began the approval process to adopt similar rules for the Games.
There’s a lot going on here, but here’s what jumped out at us immediately: Women, particularly women athletes, are constantly told they’re not as strong or fast as men—and now that they’re proving otherwise, they’re being forced to undergo hormone treatments. We don’t think it’s a coincidence that women of color are coming under fire for this more than white women. From the article: “Lindsay Perry, another scientist, says sometimes whole teams of African women are dead ringers for men.” This is a clear example of how we’ve constructed a very particular, very narrow ideal of femininity and womanhood that devalues and casts aside black women in particular.
Just four days left to get your applications in to join the SPARKteam! Perks include:
- Being part of a totally rad and amazing group of girls & women working to change the world and getting results.
- Amazing opportunities—our SPARKteam members have been interviewed on radio, television & in print; spoken at international conferences; and met with execs at major companies to talk about making media a better place for girls of all stripes.
- Getting paid to write.
- Having your writing published on our website & in our extensive network (including outlets like HuffPo)
- Hanging out with your fellow teammates for an intensive activist & media training in Vermont in July (all expenses paid!)
- And MORE but I can’t tell you all the secrets!
Click through for requirements, deetz, & how to apply. Right now we’re especially looking for high school girls, girls of color, & lgbtq girls (we mean all of those letters—trans* girls are welcome & encouraged to apply!) in order to make sure our movement is truly encompassing the experiences, needs, & desires of all girls, but we welcome applications from all girls & young women 13-22. Apps are due June 4th!
“They are completely different formulations,” said one spokesperson of two antiperspirants with the exact same percentages of the exact same ingredients.
Who Is Good at This Game? Linking an Activity to a Social Category Undermines Children’s Achievement
Children’s achievement-related theories have a profound impact on their academic success. Children who adopt entity theories believe that their ability to perform a task is dictated by the amount of natural talent they possess for that task—a belief that has well-documented adverse consequences for their achievement (e.g., lowered persistence, impaired performance). It is thus important to understand what leads children to adopt entity theories. In the experiments reported here, we hypothesized that the mere act of linking success at an unfamiliar, challenging activity to a social group gives rise to entity beliefs that are so powerful as to interfere with children’s ability to perform the activity. Two experiments showed that, as predicted, the performance of 4- to 7-year-olds (N = 192) was impaired by exposure to information that associated success in the task at hand with membership in a certain social group (e.g., “boys are good at this game”), regardless of whether the children themselves belonged to that group.
Weeping wishing I still had access to my university’s library portal right now. I want to read this so bad.
In Blake Spence’s class, no topic is off-limits, especially when a boy has dropped it anonymously into the “question box.” Mr. Spence, 28, co-ordinates the WiseGuyz Program, now on offer to Grade 9 boys in two Calgary high schools. In 14 two-hour sessions offered once a week, the guys talk – yes, talk, without girls in the room – about everything from reproductive anatomy, sexually transmitted infections and birth control to relationships, values and the media.
WiseGuyz, run by the Calgary Sexual Health Centre (which gave Mr. Spence his training), isn’t just sex ed with an update. It’s part of a new wave of initiatives to intervene in a young, male culture that is giving many adults cause for concern. Long-term, the aim is to combat the rates of domestic violence and sexually transmitted infections. Short-term, the goal is to tutor young men in healthy relations with women and non-destructive masculinity.
A U.S. study of 1,430 Grade 7 students published last month found that nearly one in six (15 per cent) reported being physically abused by someone they had dated; one in three (37 per cent) said they had been victimized psychologically or electronically in a romantic context.
“The script about what sexual relationships should be has been written for young men – that they have to be the aggressors and that it’s about their pleasure, not necessarily their female partner’s,” Mr. Spence says.
You’ve Been SPARK’d!invites you to call attention to sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, and other negative stereotypes in media. We want people to talk back everywhere—on ads on the street, between the pages of magazines, on toy packaging and movie posters, anywhere that you see something that you want to call out. It’s easy to do yourself: some post-its, a marker, and a camera (your phone will do) and you’re good to go.
But with your support, we can take it further— think notes in the shape of speech bubbles, so you can show everyone what the people in the ads are REALLY thinking. Think arrows to draw attention to particularly egregious parts of merchandise packaging. Think premade sticky notes that have a URL across the bottom, inviting everyone who sees them to a website where they can share their photos, see what other people are saying to advertisers, and find out how to get in on the action. Think a coordinated movement.
We need $5000 to get this campaign done right, and we need everyone’s help to do it! Please check out & share our campaign and consider donating what you can. Every dollar counts!
Why are we still talking about LEGO? Because girls like to have adventures; they deserve to see themselves taking part in Ninja quests, countering alien invasions, being police and doctors and construction workers, and journeying to distant planets. They also deserve to run cafes, get their hair done, and decorate their homes. There should be no separation between these options. Even if LEGO is not actively telling girls and boys what toys they can and cannot play with, the fact that male and female representation are so carefully delineated in both the toys and the children who populate their commercials sends a pretty clear message. While SPARK has primarily focused on the messages sent to girls, we are equally concerned that boys are not being encouraged to play with cafes and puppies, and have friends (!?!?).
We’re meeting with LEGO this Friday to talk about the totally unnecessary gender stereotyping in their otherwise great toys and give them suggestions for what they can do to be as awesome as they wanna be. Get stoked!
The fifty iconic tales in their Kinder- und Hausmärchen collection feature a parade of weak, disobedient heroines whose errors draw down harsh punishment, and an equally noteworthy succession of heroic boys. Numerous studies in recent decades have found the 19th century social world they portray so unremittingly sexist that some leading folklorists warn against reading them to children at all.
This is why the discovery of a huge new trove of unedited German fairy tales is nothing short of a revelation. These tales, only of few of which were published in the 1850s, were collected in the Upper Palatinate region of Germany by Franz Xaver von Schönwerth, a scholar intent on preserving the rapidly vanishing folk wisdom of his region. What they reveal, in abrupt contrast to the Brothers Grimm, is an equal-opportunity world where the brave and clever children are as likely to be girls as boys, and the vulnerable, exploited youths are not just princesses, but princes.
SHOPPING: just like winning an Olympic sporting event!