By Administrator_ India

Capital Sands

Seriously, if you’re a woman in a competitive sport, there’s really no winning. It’s a classic ‘damned if you do, and damned if you don’t’ scenario. On the one hand, is Norway’s beach handball team was fined for wearing less revealing clothes at the Euro 2021 tournament. On the other is Olivia Breen, a Paralympian from Wales who was reprimanded by an official (a woman) because her briefs were “too short and inappropriate” at the English championships last week.

But it has now come to a point where none of this is surprising. It is just becoming tiresome.

The sexualization of women who play sport is not new. Women in sports are seen either as pin-up girls to be ogled at or as masculinized and, therefore, to be ridiculed. Remember when Australian Open presenter Ian Cohen asked reigning Wimbledon champion Eugenie Bouchard to ‘give us a twirl’ in 2015? Or when FIFA President Sepp Blatter thought women should wear tighter shorts in order to ‘create a more female aesthetic’. None of these things have anything to do with sport.

Even as the Olympic flame was lit on July 23 by Naomi Osaka, once again we find ourselves wondering about the place of women and other genders in sport.

Historically, anyone who was not male was not expected to take part in ‘serious’ sporting events. Women were expected to participate in only those events that were deemed ‘suitable’; such as floor exercises and gymnastics. Sports such as football or boxing, on the other hand, were seen as typically male. In fact, sports have always been a celebration of masculinity — not necessarily of the capacities of the human body or the power of humans, but specifically of men.

The International Association of Athletics Federation has ruled that female athletes with high testosterone levels must ‘regulate’ their conditions, and cannot compete until the hormone is brought down to more ‘acceptable’ levels. This is in spite of widespread scientific acceptance that testosterone is an arbitrary measure, and is unfair to use it to determine gender.

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