by Joan Smith
Tuesday, 20
September 2022
Spotted
13:39

The Atlantic succumbs to magical thinking on sport

The magazine is the latest to deny that men are stronger than women
by Joan Smith
Credit: Getty

I’m average height for a woman. Men tend to be taller than me, by about 15 centimetres, but it has never occurred to me that I could do anything about it. This, it turns out, is sheer laziness on my part: I just haven’t tried hard enough to overcome my socialisation. It all started at school, when I meekly accepted ‘the idea that boys are inherently bigger, faster, and stronger than girls in a competitive setting’.

Now I learn from an article in The Atlantic that this is ‘a notion that’s been challenged by scientists for years’. If only I hadn’t been so conformist, I could have challenged ‘this binary in youth sports’, played football with the boys and I might now be playing left-back for Chelsea. (The men’s team, not the women’s, because enforcing segregation by sex in sport is so last century.)

‘Separating sports by sex doesn’t make sense’ is the bold claim in The Atlantic, which is the latest institution to fall prey to magical thinking. It’s the headline above an article about a girl from the Bronx, who had to submit to a battery of tests before being allowed to join a boys’ football team. That’s because of rules passed by New York State Education Department in 1985, which were designed to protect girls from injury in competitions. Shira Mandelzis was eventually allowed to play with the boys but she has decided to leave the school instead. This being the US, she has retained a lawyer who is challenging the regulations, claiming they violate Mandelizis’s rights under the Constitution.

It might seem harmless enough for a girl to aspire to play football with boys, but sport is currently the frontline of a battle over biological sex. The spectacle of male athletes who identify as women towering over female competitors at medal ceremonies has alarmed people who hadn’t previously given the issue much thought. In this country and the US, parents of talented teenage girls have spoken out about the unfairness of their daughters suddenly having to compete with boys who are bigger, stronger and have heavier bones. 

Proponents of extreme gender ideology are on the back foot in their attempts to dismantle the entire category of girls’ and women’s sport. So now we’re seeing a linguistic sleight of hand in which what used to be called ‘protection’ is recast as ‘segregation’. Keeping separate categories for girls and boys, and men and women, is no longer about fairness and safety; it’s about preventing individuals from fulfilling their potential. In order to gain maximum support from the public, the ideology needs girls like Mandelzis who are not trans but are ‘challenging the binary sports system’.

The article grudgingly acknowledges that ‘sex differences in sport show advantages in men’ but goes on to make the jaw-dropping claim that ‘researchers today still don’t know how much of this to attribute to biological difference versus the lack of support provided to women athletes to reach their highest potential’. All it takes is to give a girl a sports scholarship and she’ll soon be beating men in straight sets at Flushing Meadows.

No amount of support for girls’ and women’s sport can eliminate the fact that men are more muscular than women, while women are just over half as strong as men in their upper bodies and have about two-thirds as much strength in their lower bodies. 

The obvious solution, which is to have women’s, men’s and open sports categories, is anathema to gender extremists because it doesn’t achieve the aim of eliminating single-sex spaces — sorry, I mean challenging the strict gender binary. If only I’d known the jargon when I was a teenager, I might even have grown those crucial 15 centimetres. 

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Neil John
Neil John
7 days ago

Yes, read about this on ‘The College Fix’ this morning and followed the link to the Atlantic, then I saw it was a Canadian university sociology professor’s output and that answered all my questions.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
7 days ago

I had seen it the other day and it was “illuminating”.
I pose that we should do away with segregation by age too as it seems far too unfair. If I can beat a child, clearly that child is not trying hard enough.

Linda Hutchinson
Linda Hutchinson
7 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

Good idea, then I might have some little chance in sport.

Arkadian X
Arkadian X
7 days ago

That makes 2 of us (and I am sure there will be more)

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
7 days ago
Reply to  Arkadian X

I identify as a 67 year old, black, disabled double-amputee, lesbian. Where’s my social security payment!
I am objectively none of these things, but reality is racist and sexist and –phobic. Where’s my check?

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
6 days ago

If you’re a lesbian, that means you’re also a transphobe mate. Lesbians aren’t allowed these days either.

Billy Skankyman
Billy Skankyman
2 days ago
Reply to  Frank McCusker

lol

Penny Adrian
Penny Adrian
7 days ago

Had comments been allowed on the Atlantic article, they’d have been very similar to the comments here. I notice more and more “progressive” publications disable comments – they can’t handle logical pushback.

Last edited 7 days ago by Penny Adrian
Dominic A
Dominic A
7 days ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Maybe such articles are their way of buying ‘protection’ from SI racketeers – and a slew of ‘negative’ comments would spoil that.

Matt Hindman
Matt Hindman
7 days ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Funny enough Penny, that is exactly what happened to the Atlantic and their comment section back in the day.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
6 days ago
Reply to  Penny Adrian

Very true. If a publication allows no comments, it’s not worth reading.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
6 days ago

Atlantic is owned by the billionaire widow of Steve Jobs. She is a lefty and has no need to pay attention to people so little they are hardly visible to her.

Jim R
Jim R
7 days ago

All sex differences are clearly social constructs. The only reason I can’t have babies is that I wasn’t given proper support to reach my child birthing potential as a teenage boy. Maybe a larger set of prosthetic breasts will help . . .

Last edited 7 days ago by Jim R
Lennon Ó Náraigh
Lennon Ó Náraigh
7 days ago

Look at the 100m sprint records:

Women: Florence Griffin Joyner 10:49 s (US Olympics Trials, Indianapolis 1988).

Men: Usain Bolt 9:58 s (World Championships, Berlin, 2009).

Florence Grifiin Joyner’s record means she is ranked 6804 in the list of fastest sprinters in history. “The Atlantic” would have you believe that the fact that the other 6803 sprinters ahead of Flo Jo in the list are male is because of the “lack of support provided to women athletes to reach their highest potential”.

Whatever the reason, it is cause enough for the IAAF to maintain women’s events as protected categories, which makes for two fair competitions as opposed to just a single unfair one.

Last edited 7 days ago by Lennon Ó Náraigh
Arkadian X
Arkadian X
7 days ago

Not to mention the fact that Flo Jo would have most likely felt at home in the DDR.

N Forster
N Forster
7 days ago

That puts FloJo between the record for 14 and 15 year old boys.

Matthew Stewart
Matthew Stewart
6 days ago
Reply to  N Forster

Interesting age group that you note. Professional women’s soccer teams have been known to have training games against boys’ U-15 soccer clubs in the US.

N Forster
N Forster
4 days ago

Well yes, the American womens’ team lost 5-2 to Dallas’ boys U15 squad. Australias’ womens’ team lost 7-0 to NSW Newcastle Jets U15 team…

Zak Orn
Zak Orn
7 days ago

Absolute clown world, these reality denying idiots don’t care about the consequences, only that they feel virtuous in the moment. 
The only two things that would come out of this is:
1. In non-contact sports women/girls will get beaten. If they’ve been brainwashed from a young enough age to think they’re only getting beaten because they haven’t trained enough that’s mental illness waiting to happen
2. In contact sports women/girls will get seriously hurt
You could argue in the case of Shira Mandelzis it’s up to her if she wants to play in boys sports, it’s not going to put any of the boys at a disadvantage, but when the inevitable happens and she gets seriously injured the boy who injures her will have to live with that. 

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
6 days ago
Reply to  Zak Orn

If you’re a gentleman, it kind of does though. See my post on chivalry, and the impossibility (for any half-way normal bloke) of marking a female in a football match:
https://ayenaw.com/2021/11/27/howdy-maam/

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
7 days ago

I had my back xrayed a couple of years ago. When I asked about what some obvious divots in the padding between vertebrae were I was told they were caused by ‘blunt force trauma’. I got them playing rugby. When I played I was 195 pounds and very fit and strong. Yet even though I played at a ‘B’ level – I would be thrown around like a rag doll. The idea that women could have safely played with us is simply delusional. I don’t understand how progressives think they are furthering their cause by platforming these flat earthers.

Last edited 7 days ago by Gunner Myrtle
Simon Diggins
Simon Diggins
7 days ago

It’s the White, Cis, Patriarchy, Innit.

Now what’s the question?

Nancy G
Nancy G
6 days ago
Reply to  Simon Diggins

You left out colonialism and capitalism.

Ken Parker
Ken Parker
7 days ago

Gee here I have been wrong for the past 45+ years supporting and promoting women’s running and coaching women runners. I should have insisted that 1) there was no need for women’s only races, and 2) if only the women had tried harder they could beat the men.

N Forster
N Forster
7 days ago

Spend a few minutes comparing Womens’ Athletics World record holders to International Boys records….
https://boysvswomen.com/#/world-record
From a quick glance there are only two events (both long distance where a light build could be an advantage) where the Womens’ World record holders beat 18 year old males. In every other event the best women in the world are beaten by 14-16 year old boys.
Clearly this is because of “the lack of support provided to women athletes to reach their highest potential”

Last edited 7 days ago by N Forster
Erik Hildinger
Erik Hildinger
7 days ago

Many commenters make good points about the reality of the situation, but don’t they miss the point when you’re dealing with Lysenkoism?

Max Price
Max Price
7 days ago

Anyone else thinking of Andy Kaufman wrestling women.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
6 days ago

What a load of crap! [The Atlantic article, I mean]

David Pogge
David Pogge
6 days ago

We seem to be entering an age when the most educated among us, and the most verbally facile, are turning their talents to the denial of reality in support of an ideology that it is difficult to believe they really subscribe to. Showing how ‘smart’ and ‘virtuous’ you are by claiming things that everyone knows to be untrue, and then threatening to punish those who do not agree with you is one of the most insidious forms of totalitarianism the world has seen.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
6 days ago
Reply to  David Pogge

You ain’t seen nuttin’ yet.

Miss Me
Miss Me
6 days ago

This article answers the question posed in today’s article by Aris Roussinos: Can Europe survive the age of strongmen?Our leaders are too weak to enforce their will.
Given what we see happening across much of the print and broadcast media, our institutions and academia – the clear and resounding answer is, no we will not survive.

Gordon Arta
Gordon Arta
6 days ago

Nothing new for the Atlantic. If its chosen victim group doesn’t do well in something, it’s the result of ‘oppression’. The nuclear, 2 parent, family? A capitalist construct, which should be replaced by more ‘flexible arrangements’. Maths and science? Tools of white oppression, denying other races their own maths and their own science. Objective tests for professional qualification? Again, tools of oppression to keep marginalised people out of top jobs.

Sharon Overy
Sharon Overy
6 days ago

If implemented, this idea might, ironically, put paid to transwomen in women’s sports.
When every finalist and winner is a man and none are women or transwomen (the transwomen in sports are universally mediocre in the men’s competitions), perhaps people will wake up to reality.

Brendan Ross
Brendan Ross
6 days ago

There have been isolated cases of girls playing American football on high school teams as kickers — a position (for non-American readers) which is very limited in on-field time and is highly protected against impact by the rules. Still, there are not many of them.
My son’s high school football team had a girl on the roster as a running back (this was in the kind of community that thinks very much in line with the editors of The Atlantic), but she never played, even once, during a live game, mostly out of concerns relating to potential injuries.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
6 days ago

I was chatting to a racing colt over his stable door in Lambourn, and he told me that he identifies as a filly: his trainer is delighted as he can carry less weight in races….

john blackman
john blackman
6 days ago

seeing as the left don’t know what a woman is , it puts them in the category of ” non compos mentis ”

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
6 days ago

So now we’re seeing a linguistic sleight of hand in which what used to be called ‘protection’ is recast as ‘segregation’. Keeping separate categories for girls and boys, and men and women, is no longer about fairness and safety; it’s about preventing individuals from fulfilling their potential.

It doesn’t matter whether one argues for separate categories for protection or as segregation. What matters IMO is the principle grounding the claim of segregation – preventing individuals from fulfilling their potential.

This is straight out Expressive Individualism. According to Carl Trueman; Expressive individualism is the notion that every individual has an inner core of feelings and in order to be authentic, need to be able to give outward expression – one might say, need to be able to live outwardly consistent with that inner core of feelings. […] the real me is this inner core of feelings. So the most significant things that can be done to me are the things that affect that inner core of feelings or stop me giving full expression outwardly to that inner core of feelings. 

The counter argument must focus on this Gnostic claim to some sort of inner feeling or spirit or whatever that must take precedence over all other considerations.

Last edited 6 days ago by michael stanwick
ormondotvos
ormondotvos
6 days ago

Well expressed. It’s the God thing all over again.

R Wright
R Wright
5 days ago

This is insanity. Even a weak man can kill a strong woman using just his bare hands alone, that being a reflection of the massive disparity in muscle structure and strength between them. These people are absolutely delusional.

Jerry Carroll
Jerry Carroll
6 days ago

I blame the ever-sensationalist media for making this absurd idea fodder for innane discussion by stupid people blighted by college education.

Last edited 6 days ago by Jerry Carroll
Frederick Prete
Frederick Prete
6 days ago

This issue was actually settled about half a century ago… why is it still being debated, I wonder…
https://everythingisbiology.substack.com/p/steroids-gender-and-fair-play

ormondotvos
ormondotvos
6 days ago

Isn’t testosterone a steroid?
Don’t you make a transman with that?
Isn’t that banned drug use?

Terry Davies
Terry Davies
5 days ago

Total tosh!

Billy Skankyman
Billy Skankyman
2 days ago

The ladies just need to hit the gym so they can do this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HL2a2-8OHdg

Martin Smith
Martin Smith
1 day ago

Perhaps we can solve the energy crisis this winter by a similar slight of thought: cold is just the same as hot if we simply eliminate the binary thinking.