Female athletes trained vigorously and developed more beefy or muscular built and, even though brawny females had constantly participated in the Olympics, the gender of these females was questioned by the 1960s (Woolum, 1998, 52)…
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In order to deal with the issue, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1968 launched a sex-testing initiative “to protect women against unfair competition” (Woolum, 1998, 52). The sex-testing program was initiated due to the belief on the superiority of males in sports: female athletes would be at a disadvantaged position over their male counterparts in men’s events, and male athletes taking part in women’s competitions would have an undeniable advantage; hence, female athletes must be safeguarded against male athletes participating in their competitions. Hence, all athletes participating in women’s competitions should be subjected to various tests to identify and make sure of the athlete’s sex.
This essay presents a case study of a fictional female athlete undergoing sex test prior to participation in the Olympic games. This female athlete is currently the fastest woman in the world. She achieved world fame due to her feats in track and field. However, suspicions about her true sex arose because of her masculine physical appearance, movements, and voice.
Physical Description of the Athlete and Brief Notes about her Performance
Jane Doe is 27 years old with a height of 5ft and 7 in and weight of 80 lbs. Her event is 100m sprint. She is single and professes to be a virgin. She says she has not dated any man and did not experience having any boyfriend. She is muscular but noticeably thin. She has short hair. She has very small breasts and no underarm and facial hair. She has a flat abdomen but large muscle formation around the thighs and legs, which is expected of a track and field athlete. She won 35 gold in track and field. She ran the 100 meters in 13 seconds in Madison Square Garden; won a gold medal for Sydney in the Olympics in the 50-yard dash with a first-time record of 12 seconds; and completed 100 yards in 9 seconds. Because of these remarkable performances, Jane Doe became a household name. For 6 years, she won more than 200 medals in important track-and-field competitions. Tests Performed on Jane Doe and Results of the Tests In Jane Doe’s sex test, the examiners obtained cell samples from her cheek’s mucous membrane, or also called ‘buccal smear’, then stain them and check them up for Barr bodies. If the subject is a female, with XX chromosomes, the bodies will appear, resulting in a positive result (Schaffer & Smith, 2000, 135). If uncertainties exist, examiners will scan cells not for Barr bodies, but for the lack of Y chromatin. In the case of Jane Doe, the examiners stain the cells and study them thoroughly. The elongated section of the Y-chromosome comes into view as a clear stain. If this stain did not appear, Jane Doe will be allowed to take part in the competitions. The result for these two tests is both positive, which confirms Jane Doe’s femininity. But the application of these tests became very controversial. Some scholars claim that sex chromatin testing does not identify females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a genetic disorder (Evelyn, 2011). Jane Doe was hence examined for the said disorder. It was found out that she has it. She has 22 pairs of autosomes and a pair of X-chromosomes, the normal chromosomal balance in females, yet has an unusual muscle power and masculine physique (Sullivan, 2011). This disorder is caused by a genetic biochemical deficiency that affects the adrenal glands abnormally, making it incapable of transforming
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