World Athletics policy narrowly defines female athletes, creating contested bodies in elite sport. Framed by feminist cultural studies and transfeminism, we discuss the eligibility rules and their real-life impact. Women with naturally elevated endogenous testosterone (hyperandrogenism) are being treated as if they are cheating. That high testosterone in female bodies has been deemed an unfair competitive advantage is consistent with dominant cultural narratives rather than the research about testosterone and sport performance. Applying an intersectional lens, it becomes clear that race, region, class, and nation intersect so that women athletes from the Global South are disproportionately affected by the eligibility regulations. This creation of contested bodies has led to critical mental and physical health outcomes. Cherry-picking one biological component of a body as the cause of exceptional performance in elite sport is irresponsible. Instead, we need education, compassion, and to follow sound science grounded in moral and ethical research.
Vikki Krane, Emma Calow, and Brandy Panunti
Yannick Kluch, Emma Calow, Eric M. Martin, Travis R. Scheadler, Andrew Mac Intosh, and Shannon Jolly
The goal of this study was to examine how athletes holding privileged racial identities understand their whiteness as they engage in racial justice activism. Drawing from 12 semistructured interviews with white collegiate athletes who have engaged in activism for racial justice, we identified four higher order themes which we situate within a broader discussion of how each theme either reinforces or disrupts racial power: articulations of (a) racial consciousness, (b) white privilege, (c) white empathy, and (d) white accountability. While the white accountability theme has the potential to disrupt racial power due to its relying on rigorous self-critique, the remaining themes pointed to limited understandings of the systemic nature of racism, which can thus inadvertently (re)produce white supremacy even when engaging in activism for racial justice. Limitations, implications, and future directions for research are discussed to empower more white athletes to reflect critically on whiteness and facilitate systemic change.