Event Title

What is Fairness, Really? A Look at Women's Athletics

Location

Golden Eagles

Department

Philosophy

Abstract

Have you ever heard about the fairness debate within women’s athletics? Over the years, some athletes with naturally high testosterone levels have not been allowed to compete because they are thought to have an unfair advantage in competition. In cases where an athlete has a difference of sexual development (i.e. intersex condition), this would be a natural advantage. But some argue that high testosterone levels do not grant an advantage at all. So, should circulating testosterone levels be used to determine who can compete in women’s athletic competitions? In this talk, I argue that athletes should not be penalized and banned from competition for how their body functions. Furthermore, athletes shouldn’t be pressured into getting surgery or going on medication to “fix” their hormonal levels to compete because doing so can have negative consequences. I will also discuss why, even if the average person doesn’t care about who gets to be at the Olympics or any high athletic competitions, this debate has implications beyond sports and leeches into everyday ideas of gender, race, and sexuality.

Faculty Sponsor

Stacey Goguen, Northeastern Illinois University

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May 6th, 10:40 AM

What is Fairness, Really? A Look at Women's Athletics

Golden Eagles

Have you ever heard about the fairness debate within women’s athletics? Over the years, some athletes with naturally high testosterone levels have not been allowed to compete because they are thought to have an unfair advantage in competition. In cases where an athlete has a difference of sexual development (i.e. intersex condition), this would be a natural advantage. But some argue that high testosterone levels do not grant an advantage at all. So, should circulating testosterone levels be used to determine who can compete in women’s athletic competitions? In this talk, I argue that athletes should not be penalized and banned from competition for how their body functions. Furthermore, athletes shouldn’t be pressured into getting surgery or going on medication to “fix” their hormonal levels to compete because doing so can have negative consequences. I will also discuss why, even if the average person doesn’t care about who gets to be at the Olympics or any high athletic competitions, this debate has implications beyond sports and leeches into everyday ideas of gender, race, and sexuality.