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A Gender Test Makes as Much Sense as a Race Test

Nontsasa Nako


This article considers the months of international media speculation that followed Caster Semenyas Gold Medal win at the Berlin World Championships and argues that the outrage had very little do to with protecting this young womans privacy but was the continuation of demeaning presumptions of black womens purported sexual deviance and persistent spectacularization of black womens sexuality. I argue that the worlds problematic focus on this athlete is proof of the persistent unequal relations that continue to undermine womens participation in sport and to curtail their progress in many societies. The history of gender-testing in international sport has nothing to do with the integrity of sport, but, continues the tradition of using science to limit the participation of women in public endeavours and propagates the myth of gender binaries in order to attenuate claims of equality.


Gender Binaries; Sexual Deviance; Race; Ethnicity; Intersex; IAAF; International Sport; African Women

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JENdA: A Journal of Culture and African Women Studies. ISSN: 1530-5686 (online).
Editors: Nkiru Nzegwu; Book Editor: Mary Dillard.

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