Fit and Feminist

Fit and Feminist

The world of sports is no stranger to controversies, and the NCAA women’s tournament is no exception. The author of this article, a regular Twitter user, shares their astonishment at the things they read and see on social media platforms during major national events. In particular, they are baffled by the ongoing obsession with policing gender and the misgendering of athletes, such as Brittney Griner, who is a prominent player for the Baylor Bears.

The Gender Policing Phenomenon

The author finds it perplexing that our culture is fixated on gender conformity and feels the need to categorize individuals into neat, tight boxes. They bring attention to the misgendering of Griner, who is a sensational junior player known for her remarkable skills, towering height of 6’8″, androgynous looks, and deep voice. Despite her accomplishments on the court, some detractors claim she must be a man, highlighting the culture’s obsession with gender norms.

A Familiar Criticism in Sports

The criticism faced by Griner is not an isolated incident. The author recalls numerous instances where dominant female athletes have been subjected to similar claims. They mention names like Caster Semenya, Dara Torres, the Williams sisters, and Martina Navratilova, who have all faced accusations questioning their femininity, sexual orientation, or even accusing them of using performance-enhancing substances.

The Contradiction of the Female Body in Sport

The author quotes Everett from I Fry Mine in Butter, who highlights the contradiction between societal expectations of gender and the reality of the female body in sport. They emphasize that when the female body is exposed to physical stress, it sweats, contorts, and develops muscles, just like any other body. Looking closely at these athletes, it becomes difficult to assign a specific gender based on their physical actions. The author emphasizes the diversity of human bodies, stating that nature does not conform to a strict sexual binary and that there is nothing wrong with individuals who fall outside traditional gender expectations.

Biological Advantages and Selective Concern

The author questions the selective concern over biological advantages in sports. They argue that if we are genuinely interested in fairness, we should not only focus on athletes like Griner but also address other advantages that exist. They mention Lance Armstrong’s exceptional VO2 capacity, the presence of exceptionally tall players in the NBA, and the variations in muscle fiber composition among athletes. The author suggests that singling out specific individuals based on biological advantages is arbitrary and inconsistent.

Dehumanization of Athletes

The author expresses their disgust at the dehumanizing comments made about Griner. They mention that it goes beyond misgendering and reaches a point where people completely strip away her humanity. The author notes that Griner is aware of these comments but remains resilient, refusing to let them affect her. They commend her for her grace and strength in the face of such hatred.

A Recommendation Worth Sharing

The author shares an excellent article titled “Not Entertained: Brittney Griner continues to challenge expectations” by David L. Leonard at SLAM. While they were unable to incorporate it fully into their own article, they highly recommend it to readers. They praise Leonard’s analysis of Griner’s challenges not only from a sex/gender perspective but also from a racial standpoint. Additionally, the author appreciates Leonard’s commentary on the sexualized marketing of women’s sports. They express their agreement with Leonard’s call for a touch of “Britsanity.”

Moderating Comments for Respectful Discourse

The author concludes by stating that they will be moderating every comment from now on. They make it clear that they will not tolerate comments attacking them or any that are hateful, transphobic, or crude. While disagreement and dissent are welcome, the author sets a standard for respectful discussion and warns readers that inappropriate comments will be discarded.