The ever more ridiculous Daily Mail is at it again this morning. I should stop reading it, but as a means to raise my testosterone levels and brace myself to engage in the aggressive world of blogging, it has no peer. Having consumed my daily dose, I am now suitably enraged.
Whilst covering themselves with a host of ‘it is reported’ and ‘according to an Australian newspaper’ – its not us folks, we are just repeating this for your titillation – they have confidently labelled the young girl in this picture as a hermaphrodite, and gone on to boast that she is as yet unaware of this.
I have been following this story for some time, and had resisted the temptation to blog on it, because I felt strongly that Miss Semenya’s medical condition was a matter for her and her Doctor, not for world wide publication; certainly not for publication because some Italian runner who came 6th in the same race demanded to have her femininity checked out – she is not running a country of 60 million people, as is the case for other people whose medical condition is a legitimate cause for concern, she was running in a poxy egg and spoon race, albeit without the egg and spoon.
I have not changed my mind on this, but I am going to address the Daily Mail’s criteria for ‘being a woman’.
‘Quoting a source’ – nervous old Mail again – says that Miss Semenya has no womb or ovaries. Leaving out the large number of women in the UK who are born without a womb or ovaries, there are also some 40,000 women a year who have them surgically removed for health reasons; it is estimated that one in five of all women will have their womb and ovaries removed at some point in their life.
Still quoting this mysterious source, the Mail says that she had testosterone levels three times that of a ‘normal’ woman (there is such a creature?).
“There is no established level of free testosterone below which a woman can be said to be deficient, nor any level to which a woman should be restored that determines that she is replete”.
With no ‘established level’ of free testosterone, thus some will have high levels of testosterone, and with many readers also being minus their womb and ovaries, it is difficult to see how the Mail can substantiate their claim that this makes Miss Semenya a ‘hermaphrodite’ – unless they are saying that a large proportion of their readers are too. Should make for an interesting class action.
The furore grows more ridiculous still. The International Association of Athletics Federation is expected to disqualify Miss Semenya (consistently referred to in the Mail article merely as ‘Semenya’ as they would a man) from future events and ‘advise an operation’.
What sort of operation, folks? The only one that springs to mind is a sex change operation; followed presumably by an application to change her gender on her birth certificate.
And when you have inflicted that indignity on this poor woman, and she still beats the other contestants hands down, will you be back measuring the length of her surgically grafted penis, and declaring that she is not ‘much of a man’ and demanding that she be prevented from running in future races as a man? Can we please check whether Linford Christie has undescended testicles? I think he’s faking.
I really do hope that Miss Semanya sues for libel over some of the slurs that have been cast upon her.
As for the Italian girl who came 6th with such poor grace, I want her checked for an excess of body hair, trailing in so long after Miss Semanya’s magnificent effort suggests to me that she might really be the man in disguise. It being a well known fact that men always hang back until the job is done.