Is there a reason I haven't seen any women players in professional sports?

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So, approaching this from a medical standpoint.

The reason male athletes can reach higher levels of physical performance than female athletics is because male bodies generally have higher levels of androgenic hormones, which are steroids. In fact, the drugs we call anabolic steroids are often just "synthetic" versions of androgenic hormones.

So sure, we couldn't take a female bodied person and train them and they probably wouldn't be able to match the performance of a male athlete. But if we took them at a young age, we could alter the balance of hormones in their body to correct for those differences. It would, from a medical standpoint, be trivial.

My point is, we have a weird set of arbitrary rules as to what is "fair" in sports.

* You are allowed to take a young child and train them to the point it physically deforms their body and will cause them permanent disability in later life in order to make them a better athlete in the short term.
* You are not allowed to use hormone therapy to masculinize a female body to make them a better athlete, because this will have permanent consequences for them.
* You are allowed to feed someone a specific diet and make them live their life in a particular way to maximize the ammount of androgenic hormones present in the body.
* You are not allowed to feed someone supplements which too closely mirror the effects of androgenic hormones, because this is cheating.

So, here's a controversial opinion. Professional sports are unfair by design. The typical male-bodied person could train their entire life, and would not be able to compete even against women athletes because they would not have the very specific combination of physical advantages required. Professional athletes are effectively human racehorses, they are carefully selected for their ability to perform particular physical tasks and then trained and conditioned for much of their early lives to enhance the physical characteristics which make them useful. They will often suffer permanent physical damage from this practice of pushing their bodies to the limit.

Part of the appeal of sports is that they purport to push the "natural" limits of human physiology, and yet somehow those natural limits keep getting pushed back. New records keep being broken, athletes keep getting better and better. No, it's not because people are training harder or are just generally getting stronger, it's because the ability to scientifically manipulate human bodies (in ways that professional sports don't recognize as cheating) keeps increasing. The idea that any of this is natural is a fiction. Human bodies are fundamentally not designed to do any of this.

And that doesn't mean we should stop doing professional sports, but we should probably stop assuming that anything which goes on in professional sports is "natural". We could turn AFAB people into 'roided up androgenes who could smash professional football players into the ground, but we don't. That distinction between men and women's athletic performance is a fiction which maintains the idea that sports are a fun celebratrion of natural human ability, but that fiction is not an description of reality, it hasn't been for a long time.

Misterian:
Why are these groups unwilling to let women play in the same teams as men? and why haven't I heard of anyone accuse them of sexism over it?

Interestingly, basically all US professional men's sports leagues technically admit women, if any tried out and could compete. Women's professional sports leagues (like the WNBA, for example) are the only one's that actually bar people on the basis of sex.

Last time a woman tried out in the NFL, she was injured early on and dropped out.

There was actually some talk back when that Brittney Griner might have considered trying to join an NBA team, as she played at a level on par with some of the second string NBA players. Instead she joined a WNBA team and set a league record (single game slam dunks) and tied another (career slam dunks) in her debut game.

The Williams sisters once claimed they could beat any man in pro tennis outside the top 200, and were proven badly wrong. The 203rd ranked male player (Karsten Braasch) played an exhibition game against each sister one right after the other, beating one 6-1 and the other 6-2. He'd claimed afterwards that he was not playing his best to keep things interesting and that in his opinion they had no chance against any man in the top 500.

altnameJag:
I always feel it's important to point out that the people that inhabit professional sports are already on the fringes of human physical ability most of the time.

Yes, and that exacerbates the gaps due to things like genetics and gender.

altnameJag:
There's significantly more overlap than sexists like to admit when you move inward from the outliers.

Most human traits when compared by gender are mostly overlapping bell curves, often either with a similar distribution but noticeably different mean (such as height and upper body strength) or a similar mean but noticeably different variance, or both. Pointing this out is of course extremely sexist, especially if you suggest that in choosing persons for a certain task you might optimize for certain traits, and if you're able to be picky enough to be able target people far from the mean at some desirable traits...then you'll just fire James Damore again before I finish repeating the argument that got him fired from Google.

Saelune:
Then let that be determined by giving her a chance to prove people wrong. Her genitals are not a fair judge of this.

There are plenty of men who could never handle an NFL player either, why do they deserve more of a chance than stronger women?

Women are permitted to try out for any "men's" sports league in the US - they all specifically do not have a gender restriction on membership - only "women's" leagues restrict membership by gender. Occasionally a woman even tries for the NFL or NBA, though none have actually succeeded to date. The thing is, men in those leagues aren't chosen at random from the population, they're already nowhere near the mean. And as you go way above the mean for things like height and upper body strength, you end up with fewer and fewer women that can compete

Look at it from the other direction, imagine we wanted a group of people as tall as Brittney Griner or taller. We grab another 999 such people chosen at random from among the pool of people at that height. There's a pretty good chance she's the only woman in that group, and if not you could almost certainly count them on one hand. When you say that on average women are shorter than men, you aren't saying that all women are shorter than the shortest man, but that as you look at taller and taller groups you're going to have increasingly male results.

For a lot of traits, the distributions will look something like:

image

..or similar with the sexes reversed. What do you think happens if you only want people more than 1 standard deviations above the population mean in some trait (or even more extreme)? Do you expect that the resultant group is going to be equally distributed between men and women?

evilthecat:
SNIP

Agreed with most of that.

I'd argue that the lines of what is and isn't allowed aren't entirely arbitrary though, aside from the question of where exactly the line between "food" and "drugs" falls.

Ultimately, aside from that one increasingly important distinction and the rampant cheating and pushing the line around that point it's broadly a matter of pushing the body however hard you can manage being OK, using chemical agents to meaningfully alter body chemistry beyond what you would consider "diet" not being OK.

The comparison to racehorses (or greyhounds for that matter) is spot on, though.

saint of m:
Hay, Selune, and anyone else that is Trans, where would Trans players fit in this dichotomy because I know this has caused some controversy in the Olympics with one of the women's track and field participants a few years back.

Again, its me speaking from ignorance, but assuming the individual was taking the medications needed to increase/decrease the hormones in the body, wouldn't that offset the supposed advantages/deficiencies of the genders?

Caster Semenya the woman in question, was not trans. After the findings of her report were leaked, it was speculated she might be intersex.

I think the whole controversy around her is sort of indicative of what's been argued by some in this thread. There was this notion that she was too good, so we'd better check and see if she was born with a pee-pee. This controversy was well before her 2016 Olympic gold.

Ironically, in the wake of a 2018 ruling, she's now required to take the same sort of androgen-reducing program as a trans woman would. I find a certain level of amusement in the notion that not only are we segregating women, but we're artificially holding back certain women if they're too strong,

To more directly answer your question, two years of HRT was determined by the IOC to be sufficient to negate any advantage of testosterone, because you need the hormone in your system to continue to upkeep muscle and bone mass. Trans women have been competing in the Olympics and other sports since the early 2000s. The rules used to require bottom surgery, but this was deemed unnecessary because regulated hormone balance is sufficient. More sporting bodied are coming up with rules which are similar to these.

You can use hormone regulation to level the playing field, though there's the issue that hormone levels vary from person to person anyway. We can talk about typical ranges, but I'm betting Olympic athletes don't generally fall at the center of the bell curve. Which may have been what Semenya ran up against, since it took 9 years for them to maske an incredibly narrow ruling.

Something Amyss:

saint of m:
Hay, Selune, and anyone else that is Trans, where would Trans players fit in this dichotomy because I know this has caused some controversy in the Olympics with one of the women's track and field participants a few years back.

Again, its me speaking from ignorance, but assuming the individual was taking the medications needed to increase/decrease the hormones in the body, wouldn't that offset the supposed advantages/deficiencies of the genders?

Caster Semenya the woman in question, was not trans. After the findings of her report were leaked, it was speculated she might be intersex.

I think the whole controversy around her is sort of indicative of what's been argued by some in this thread. There was this notion that she was too good, so we'd better check and see if she was born with a pee-pee. This controversy was well before her 2016 Olympic gold.

Ironically, in the wake of a 2018 ruling, she's now required to take the same sort of androgen-reducing program as a trans woman would. I find a certain level of amusement in the notion that not only are we segregating women, but we're artificially holding back certain women if they're too strong,

To more directly answer your question, two years of HRT was determined by the IOC to be sufficient to negate any advantage of testosterone, because you need the hormone in your system to continue to upkeep muscle and bone mass. Trans women have been competing in the Olympics and other sports since the early 2000s. The rules used to require bottom surgery, but this was deemed unnecessary because regulated hormone balance is sufficient. More sporting bodied are coming up with rules which are similar to these.

You can use hormone regulation to level the playing field, though there's the issue that hormone levels vary from person to person anyway. We can talk about typical ranges, but I'm betting Olympic athletes don't generally fall at the center of the bell curve. Which may have been what Semenya ran up against, since it took 9 years for them to maske an incredibly narrow ruling.

That is some rank bullshit too. Damn near everybody in the Olympic Village is a genetic freak of some kind. Comes with the territory of being the best.

altnameJag:
That is some rank bullshit too. Damn near everybody in the Olympic Village is a genetic freak of some kind. Comes with the territory of being the best.

Yeah, it's sort of weird how we become suddenly concerned with "fairness" in very narrow, very specific circumstances.

Schadrach:

altnameJag:
There's significantly more overlap than sexists like to admit when you move inward from the outliers.

Most human traits when compared by gender are mostly overlapping bell curves, often either with a similar distribution but noticeably different mean (such as height and upper body strength) or a similar mean but noticeably different variance, or both. Pointing this out is of course extremely sexist, especially if you suggest that in choosing persons for a certain task you might optimize for certain traits, and if you're able to be picky enough to be able target people far from the mean at some desirable traits...then you'll just fire James Damore again before I finish repeating the argument that got him fired from Google.

You're damn right I would. Dude released his (dubiously) "scientifically accurate" manifesto pissing off plenty of his female coworkers arguing how it's actually just math that means the ladies at google get paid less than the dudes when my company was in the middle of being investigated by the federal government for gendered pay discrimination. Even on the off-chance he was entirely accurate, he wouldn't have hurt that case worse than if he'd walked up to my head lawyer and shot them in the chest.

altnameJag:
You're damn right I would. Dude released his (dubiously) "scientifically accurate" manifesto pissing off plenty of his female coworkers arguing how it's actually just math that means the ladies at google get paid less than the dudes when my company was in the middle of being investigated by the federal government for gendered pay discrimination. Even on the off-chance he was entirely accurate, he wouldn't have hurt that case worse than if he'd walked up to my head lawyer and shot them in the chest.

Except he never said anything about paying ladies less than dudes for the same job - rather the "unfortunate" part he talked about was how it was likely that due to statistical trait differences you were unlikely to fill half of high end tech positions with women without actively discriminating against men or changing the nature of the positions themselves. That Google was discriminating expressly to improve their gender ratio (and still wasn't reaching an even split, despite tipping the odds to benefit women) suggests that the pool of appropriate talent probably isn't an even split gender wise, either.

Essentially what we're talking about here -- there is, presumably a set of traits that is desirable to Google. If you're able to be very picky (which Google can), you're going to look to get people who are as optimal as possible, and the distribution of people high in those traits is unlikely to match the distribution of the general population.

Such a nice, baity thread for people who don't seem to get sports that much.

Semenya's case is of course unfair to her specifically, but something they had to do in order to maintain integrity.

Getting rid of men's and women's competitions or doping regulations would mean the end of professional sports as we know it (and the fallout from that would have plenty of consequences as well). Luckily there is little need to care about those opinions. However, individual sports should get called out whenever there is bullshit involved.

Like, in ski-jumping there is a stupid focus on the jump-suits nowadays. And snowboarding has been ruined with the air-filled safety mattresses which allow boarders to try out whatever stupid trick without injuring themselves -- the catch is that one costs a shitload of money. And in women's gymnastics it can only be a coincidence that the most talented 12-year-old just suddenly had the shortest puberty ever, gaining very little height or womanly shapes but started accumulating all of that muscle with just chicken and rice? Sure.

People who complain about transwomen in womens sports just want to hate on trans people and don't actually give a fuck about women or women's sports.

Saelune:
People who complain about transwomen in womens sports just want to hate on trans people and don't actually give a fuck about women or women's sports.

You aren't wrong. You see the same thing when people are talking about Syrian refugees (in this case): people suddenly care about the homeless situation when a Syrian family is given shelter, when there's been a mysterious lack of concern previously.

McElroy:
Such a nice, baity thread for people who don't seem to get sports that much.

Semenya's case is of course unfair to her specifically, but something they had to do in order to maintain integrity.

But...why?
What, specifically, about Semenya's purely natural advantages was threatening the integrity of women's sport in the Olympics?

altnameJag:

McElroy:
Such a nice, baity thread for people who don't seem to get sports that much.

Semenya's case is of course unfair to her specifically, but something they had to do in order to maintain integrity.

But...why?
What, specifically, about Semenya's purely natural advantages was threatening the integrity of women's sport in the Olympics?

And why are we suddenly concerned with integrity in this case?

altnameJag:

McElroy:
Such a nice, baity thread for people who don't seem to get sports that much.

Semenya's case is of course unfair to her specifically, but something they had to do in order to maintain integrity.

But...why?
What, specifically, about Semenya's purely natural advantages was threatening the integrity of women's sport in the Olympics?

People decided that a woman with congenital hyperandrogenism dominating the sport undermines the whole thing. Arbitrary and unfair to Semenya, but too bad. Arguing about her natural testosterone levels is an endless cycle that had to be stopped preferably before Semenya retires, taking the issue with her.

I do recall a female Australian surfer competing in male events because there weren't any for female surfers.

Baffle2:
You aren't wrong. You see the same thing when people are talking about Syrian refugees (in this case): people suddenly care about the homeless situation when a Syrian family is given shelter, when there's been a mysterious lack of concern previously.

Or people who suddenly care about LGBT people when it allows them to condemn Islam, or who care about male rape victims when it allows them to dismiss female rape victims. Or, hell, pretending to care about child abuse if you can run a scare campaign about LGBT people in schools, whilst being a leader of the Catholic church.

Saelune:
But what if a woman was able to hold her own?

It's not just a matter of physicality but of mindset.

Back when I was in school we'd play football, soccer for you US folk, and it was quite a physical game. The same with rugby, we wouldn't give a thought about giving our all into a challenge.

Then there were the lessons where we'd have to play with the girls and no guy on the field would give their all into a tackle or challenge. It is very difficult on a sports pitch to break the 'you don't hit girls' mindset.

I can't imagine that mindset would be any easier to break at a professional level.

Such baity OP belongs to the R&P forums.

Thaluikhain:
Or people who suddenly care about LGBT people when it allows them to condemn Islam, or who care about male rape victims when it allows them to dismiss female rape victims. Or, hell, pretending to care about child abuse if you can run a scare campaign about LGBT people in schools, whilst being a leader of the Catholic church.

Some days, I just wish I could "thumbs up" a post.

votemarvel:
Then there were the lessons where we'd have to play with the girls and no guy on the field would give their all into a tackle or challenge. It is very difficult on a sports pitch to break the 'you don't hit girls' mindset.

Weird. In my school, guys had no problem hitting girls in football. Or soccer. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised to see guys hitting women in basketball.

McElroy:

altnameJag:

McElroy:
Such a nice, baity thread for people who don't seem to get sports that much.

Semenya's case is of course unfair to her specifically, but something they had to do in order to maintain integrity.

But...why?
What, specifically, about Semenya's purely natural advantages was threatening the integrity of women's sport in the Olympics?

People decided that a woman with congenital hyperandrogenism dominating the sport undermines the whole thing. Arbitrary and unfair to Semenya, but too bad. Arguing about her natural testosterone levels is an endless cycle that had to be stopped preferably before Semenya retires, taking the issue with her.

No, see: why did "people" have to decide that? Out of all of the dominant athletes in the Olympics, why the focus on this specific advantage? Segments being medal-good at one specific race (800m) is so dominant that they needed a ruling to prevent theoretical competition in the future from access the full range of their natural talents, but somebody like Micheal Phelps (has more gold medals himself than the next two highest combined) doesn't merit any special rules?

Why is this "issue" an endless cycle that needed to be stopped, and needed to be stopped while she was still competing? How is "congenital hyperandrogenism" dominating the sport when Semenya is only dominant in a single event?

It's racist targeted bullshit. https://www.cbc.ca/sports/olympics/trackandfield/caster-semenya-cultural-bias-1.4661929

altnameJag:
snip

The only ruling fair towards everyone would be to let women compete with the androgen levels Semenya has, but it's also a shit option nobody wants to take. Thus the unfairness is dumped on Semenya.

Phelps has nothing to do with the IAAF, who are calling the shots here. Swimming is kinda busted, though.

Something Amyss:

altnameJag:

McElroy:
Such a nice, baity thread for people who don't seem to get sports that much.

Semenya's case is of course unfair to her specifically, but something they had to do in order to maintain integrity.

But...why?
What, specifically, about Semenya's purely natural advantages was threatening the integrity of women's sport in the Olympics?

And why are we suddenly concerned with integrity in this case?

It just bugs me that they'll say "Oh looks like you were born with hormones that give you an advantage, so we'll have to do something about that" in this case but won't, I dunno, going for a random example, say to Phelps "Oh well it looks like you were born with a naturally larger lung capacity that gives you an advantage so we'll fill them full of rocks a little bit to cancel that out"

Palindromemordnilap:

It just bugs me that they'll say "Oh looks like you were born with hormones that give you an advantage, so we'll have to do something about that" in this case but won't, I dunno, going for a random example, say to Phelps "Oh well it looks like you were born with a naturally larger lung capacity that gives you an advantage so we'll fill them full of rocks a little bit to cancel that out"

Unless Phelps starts training for steeplechase or discus throw, the IAAF has no say in the way he or any other swimmer competes.

McElroy:

Palindromemordnilap:

It just bugs me that they'll say "Oh looks like you were born with hormones that give you an advantage, so we'll have to do something about that" in this case but won't, I dunno, going for a random example, say to Phelps "Oh well it looks like you were born with a naturally larger lung capacity that gives you an advantage so we'll fill them full of rocks a little bit to cancel that out"

Unless Phelps starts training for steeplechase or discus throw, the IAAF has no say in the way he or any other swimmer competes.

...okay? Not sure how that addresses what I was saying about different in-built born-with-them-advantages being treated differently but you do you

Until steroids is thoroughly removed from sports, people can shut up about trans people in sports.

Palindromemordnilap:

McElroy:

Palindromemordnilap:

It just bugs me that they'll say "Oh looks like you were born with hormones that give you an advantage, so we'll have to do something about that" in this case but won't, I dunno, going for a random example, say to Phelps "Oh well it looks like you were born with a naturally larger lung capacity that gives you an advantage so we'll fill them full of rocks a little bit to cancel that out"

Unless Phelps starts training for steeplechase or discus throw, the IAAF has no say in the way he or any other swimmer competes.

...okay? Not sure how that addresses what I was saying about different in-built born-with-them-advantages being treated differently but you do you

It matters a lot in this case. The IAAF can make rules for mid-distance runners while it's the FINA making any rules for Phelps and other swimmers.

Unless, of course, you meant in some general sense. In that case I would personally say that the reason for Semenya's natural advantage is too clear (the advantage itself is not so clear) and easy to replicate: just give everyone some androgen shots and it's a level competing field again. But that's not on the table - making doping the default isn't going to happen.

800 metres has seen similar domination before by Maria Mutola, and so I wouldn't boil it down to the athletes being crybabies but rather an issue of image. Sure it could be said it's pathetic that one Caster Semenya is too much.

Palindromemordnilap:

It just bugs me that they'll say "Oh looks like you were born with hormones that give you an advantage, so we'll have to do something about that" in this case but won't, I dunno, going for a random example, say to Phelps "Oh well it looks like you were born with a naturally larger lung capacity that gives you an advantage so we'll fill them full of rocks a little bit to cancel that out"

That's basically my point. We need to stop this one woman from competing unfairly due to her natural advantages, but...well, the entire Olympics and pro sports in general are based on these same advantages. We go from the Wild West to "this one person has an advantage--let's re-enact that Kurt Vonnegut story!"

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