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Feminism: Sex & gender discussions

And so it starts

203 replies

MimiSunshine · 27/09/2023 17:16

I cant accurately describe my emotions right now.
sad
fuming
disbelief

my primary aged niece has just ran a race in a, mainly for fun, but they do get 1st, 2nd, 3rd and so on positions, inter-school event.

She’s utterly convinced that 1st place out of easily, 40+ girls went to a male child.

now I was too busy watching her and a friends child running so didn’t pay attention to the other kids but I could hear one of the other parents asking ‘was this a mixed race, I thought it was girls only?’

then my niece comes up and immediately says that a boy won, my friends child was also saying the same thing.

one of the mums went and asked an official about it and they told her that they’d asked the school the child was from and they’d been told it was a girl.

my niece is absolutely insistent that it was a boy.

I think overall I’m feeling sad that those girls have already encountered this situation and a) lost a place in the rankings
b) are being actively told to ignore their instincts

although my brother and I both told them that we believed them and no it wasn’t fair.

OP posts:
Helleofabore · 27/09/2023 19:24

This one from *Dr Hilton and T Lundberg. has a section on children.

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-020-01389-3

In early childhood, prior to puberty, sporting participation prioritises team play and the development of fundamental motor and social skills, and is sometimes mixed sex. Athletic performance differences between males and females prior to puberty are often considered inconsequential or relatively small [18]. Nonetheless, pre-puberty performance differences are not unequivocally negligible, and could be mediated, to some extent, by genetic factors and/or activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–gonadal axis during the neonatal period, sometimes referred to as “minipuberty”. For example, some 6500 genes are differentially expressed between males and females [19] with an estimated 3000 sex-specific differences in skeletal muscle likely to influence composition and function beyond the effects of androgenisation [3], while increased testosterone during minipuberty in males aged 1–6 months may be correlated with higher growth velocity and an “imprinting effect” on BMI and bodyweight [20, 21].

An extensive review of fitness data from over 85,000 Australian children aged 9–17 years old showed that, compared with 9-year-old females, 9-year-old males were faster over short sprints (9.8%) and 1 mile (16.6%), could jump 9.5% further from a standing start (a test of explosive power), could complete 33% more push-ups in 30 s and had 13.8% stronger grip [22]. Male advantage of a similar magnitude was detected in a study of Greek children, where, compared with 6-year-old females, 6-year-old males completed 16.6% more shuttle runs in a given time and could jump 9.7% further from a standing position [23]. In terms of aerobic capacity, 6- to 7-year-old males have been shown to have a higher absolute and relative (to body mass) VO2max than 6- to 7-year-old females [24]. Nonetheless, while some biological sex differences, probably genetic in origin, are measurable and affect performance pre-puberty, we consider the effect of androgenizing puberty more influential on performance, and have focused our analysis on musculoskeletal differences hereafter.

Australian children

https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/document?repid=rep1&type=pdf&doi=021cccdaed57d120bb05bac71c05ee82b0c5b315

Greek (sorry, no access)

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17461391.2015.1088577?needAccess=true

Abstract

The aim of the this study was to establish age- and gender-specific physical fitness normative values and to compare percentiles and Z scores values in a large, nationwide sample of Greek children aged 6–18 years. From March 2014 to May 2014, a total of 424,328 boys and girls aged 6–18 years who attended school in Greece were enrolled. The studied sample was representative, in terms of age–sex distribution and geographical region. Physical fitness tests (i.e. 20 m shuttle run test (SRT), standing long jump, sit and reach, sit-ups, and 10 × 5 m SRT) were performed and used to calculate normative values, using the percentiles of the empirical distributions and the lambda, mu, and sigma statistical method. Normative values were presented as tabulated percentiles for five health-related fitness tests based on a large data set comprising 424,328 test performances.

Boys typically scored higher than girls on cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and speed/agility, but lower on flexibility (all pvalues <0.001). Older boys and girls had better performances than younger ones (p < 0.001). Physical fitness tests' performances tended to peak at around the age of 15 years in both sexes. The presented population-based data are the most up-to-date sex- and age-values for the health-related fitness of children and adolescents in Greece and can be used as standard values for fitness screening and surveillance systems and for comparisons among the same health-related fitness scores of children from other countries similar to Greece. Schools need to make efforts to improve the fitness level of the schoolchildren through the physical education curriculum to prevent cardiovascular risk.

Transgender Women in the Female Category of Sport: Perspectives on Testosterone Suppression and Performance Advantage - Sports Medicine

Males enjoy physical performance advantages over females within competitive sport. The sex-based segregation into male and female sporting categories does not account for transgender persons who experience incongruence between their biological sex and...

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40279-020-01389-3

Sprogonthetyne · 27/09/2023 19:30

At my kids school both sexes go in wereing the same joggers/t-shirt & school jumper on pe day. Some boys have long hair, some girls have short hair. It's still clear as day which are boys or girls.

Iwasafool · 27/09/2023 19:35

Maybe it is a girl who is masculine looking and likes masculine hair cut or whatever. Your niece isn't the final judge of who is and who isn't a girl. I was a tomboy, cropped hair, always in boys clothes, often mistaken for a boy and I've given birth to 4 children so I'm pretty sure I qualify as female.

Don't understand what you are upset about, do you seriously think primary schools are going to cheat at some fun event?

Iwasafool · 27/09/2023 19:38

Sprogonthetyne · 27/09/2023 19:30

At my kids school both sexes go in wereing the same joggers/t-shirt & school jumper on pe day. Some boys have long hair, some girls have short hair. It's still clear as day which are boys or girls.

Well isn't that good for your school but it isn't always like that. I used to be a leader at beavers, we had one girl who was always mistaken for a boy.

It is bloody rude to be going round deciding what sex another child is. One of my DDs best friends at primary was a boy who people frequently mistook for a girl. It happens, no big deal.

RoyalCorgi · 27/09/2023 19:39

Will people please stop gaslighting the OP, or at least gaslighting her niece by proxy?

Children know how to tell the difference between boys and girls. Guess what, even if a girl has short hair, they can still tell it's a girl. Boys and girls look different, as you all know perfectly well. Just stop it.

IWilloBeACervix · 27/09/2023 19:52

The problem here is that OP isn’t able to say to her niece that it’s not possible that they would let a boy run, and win, in the girls race.

It could be a girl (like my short-haired, trouser wearing dd) but it could also be a boy, and asking for the truth won’t necessarily give you the truth.

Signalbox · 27/09/2023 19:54

RoyalCorgi · 27/09/2023 19:39

Will people please stop gaslighting the OP, or at least gaslighting her niece by proxy?

Children know how to tell the difference between boys and girls. Guess what, even if a girl has short hair, they can still tell it's a girl. Boys and girls look different, as you all know perfectly well. Just stop it.

So I wonder why girls with short hair get mis-sexed then?

I did as a child. I do now as an adult if I wear my hair short.

IThoughtTerryWoganWasMyDad · 27/09/2023 20:04

RoyalCorgi · 27/09/2023 19:39

Will people please stop gaslighting the OP, or at least gaslighting her niece by proxy?

Children know how to tell the difference between boys and girls. Guess what, even if a girl has short hair, they can still tell it's a girl. Boys and girls look different, as you all know perfectly well. Just stop it.

I think you'll find to those of us that were tomboys growing up and constantly "misgendered" that you are gaslighting us.
Both teachers and other pupils mistook me for a boy, don't call me a liar again.

MrsOvertonsWindow · 27/09/2023 20:15

And this is what happens when the social contract breaks down. That is, the acknowledgement that girls and boys are different and that sport (and other areas) are separated on the basis of sex. People become suspicious, stop trusting the honesty and integrity of officials and assume that people are lying.
Pretending that people can change sex and shamefully allowing children to be involved in the charade, has been a completely regressive & retrograde step for society, baking in unfairness and discrimination - especially for girls and women.
We'll never know but what a shame for all those children involved.

beastlyslumber · 27/09/2023 20:16

RoyalCorgi · 27/09/2023 19:39

Will people please stop gaslighting the OP, or at least gaslighting her niece by proxy?

Children know how to tell the difference between boys and girls. Guess what, even if a girl has short hair, they can still tell it's a girl. Boys and girls look different, as you all know perfectly well. Just stop it.

Exactly. Ffs this thread is a mess.

Signalbox · 27/09/2023 20:17

IThoughtTerryWoganWasMyDad · 27/09/2023 20:04

I think you'll find to those of us that were tomboys growing up and constantly "misgendered" that you are gaslighting us.
Both teachers and other pupils mistook me for a boy, don't call me a liar again.

This.

I do wonder how the "you can always tell" people explain how women are ever mistaken for the opposite sex. When I cut my hair short I am, on a relatively regular basis, mistaken for male by strangers. I think this is because I am fairly androgynous physically. I am taller than average with a flat chest and wide shoulders and narrow hips I also have a brow ridge and a prominent nose. Clearly some people get it wrong from time to time. Why is this so controversial?

Mammillaria · 27/09/2023 20:25

A neighbour's DD went to my DS's primary school and was frequently mistaken for a boy by children and parents alike (to her delight apparently). She has an androgynous name, and often went by a very masculine nickname.

She identified as a boy for a while in her teens and, to my delight, I recently noticed she is back to using female pronouns.

At no point throughout this has she ever deviated from her very boyish style, although she was recognisable as female from about 11 years old.

TLDR: I knew a girl with a boyish nickname who had a short haircut, wore the 'boys' uniform and absolutely 100% used to get mistaken for a boy by children and adults when in primary school!

MimiSunshine · 27/09/2023 20:25

We did gently question how they knew it was a boy but they were looking at us like we were mad and saying ‘because it was a boy’.

my niece has since said that she saw the child earlier on standing with the boys group of her year group who were getting ready to race and then they came over.she said she thinks maybe they came to see their sister or cousin and decided to run with her to keep her company (it wasn’t a short race).

i think that is an incredibly sweet and innocent interpretation of the events on her behalf.

ive picked my niece up from school, I’ve seen the children in her class (this child is from another school). There are boys with long hair, girls who are more tomboyish and wear trousers every day and have short hair. You can easily tell their sex and she is very aware that not everyone conforms to gender stereotypes and wouldn’t be confused by a tomboyish girl.

OP posts:
MapleSyrupWaffles · 27/09/2023 20:27

I don't think you should have to ask her to explain 'how she knows'. I mean, perhaps a quick chat to make sure she isn't just going from hair style/clothes/shoes etc, OK, but beyond that, I'm not sure I could explain 'how I know' someone is a woman/girl when they might have quite an adrogynous shape, short hair, non-gendered clothing etc. if I'm not seeing them without clothes, but yet I still generally can tell. I accept that I can't always tell perfectly, but on the whole - you can just 'tell' and I couldn't put it into words exactly. And I definitely wouldn't want to make a young child try to put it into words, and to give them the idea that there are specific things that are worn/done etc that determine that and that can be pointed out. It's more subtle than that, and a combination of a lot of factors, but it does come back to recognising a pattern of body shape, gait, smell, features, and lots of other aspects. They quite probably did 'just know', and won't/can't tell you any more precisely than that.

Of course they could be wrong, and it isn't always possible to tell for sure with anyone, especially pre-pubescent children. But I wouldn't be surprised if they were right.

BandicootCrash · 27/09/2023 20:30

When I was 9 I had an awful "princess Di" gone wrong haircut. Coupled with a permanently grumpy expression, and a fairly substantial physique, I was almost entirely mistaken for a boy for about 3 months.

Maybe no one ever got close enough to smell me though.....?

Iwasafool · 27/09/2023 20:32

MimiSunshine · 27/09/2023 20:25

We did gently question how they knew it was a boy but they were looking at us like we were mad and saying ‘because it was a boy’.

my niece has since said that she saw the child earlier on standing with the boys group of her year group who were getting ready to race and then they came over.she said she thinks maybe they came to see their sister or cousin and decided to run with her to keep her company (it wasn’t a short race).

i think that is an incredibly sweet and innocent interpretation of the events on her behalf.

ive picked my niece up from school, I’ve seen the children in her class (this child is from another school). There are boys with long hair, girls who are more tomboyish and wear trousers every day and have short hair. You can easily tell their sex and she is very aware that not everyone conforms to gender stereotypes and wouldn’t be confused by a tomboyish girl.

She might not be but as lots of us have told you it happens all the time.

Signalbox · 27/09/2023 20:37

BandicootCrash · 27/09/2023 20:30

When I was 9 I had an awful "princess Di" gone wrong haircut. Coupled with a permanently grumpy expression, and a fairly substantial physique, I was almost entirely mistaken for a boy for about 3 months.

Maybe no one ever got close enough to smell me though.....?

Ha ha I am just starting to wonder if perhaps my smell is a bit off!

MimiSunshine · 27/09/2023 20:37

Oh I agree on not overly quizzing. It was just when they said ‘a boy won’ we were asking what they meant, how do you know? We did ask were they sure it was just a girl with short hair because girls have short hair and my niece said no. X (her friend from school) has short hair. The winner was a boy.

i fully believe that they were right. Yes you can be mistaken for a boy if you’re quite androgynous but I’m sure people quickly realised their mistake once they get close or interact.

OP posts:
Iwasafool · 27/09/2023 20:42

MimiSunshine · 27/09/2023 20:37

Oh I agree on not overly quizzing. It was just when they said ‘a boy won’ we were asking what they meant, how do you know? We did ask were they sure it was just a girl with short hair because girls have short hair and my niece said no. X (her friend from school) has short hair. The winner was a boy.

i fully believe that they were right. Yes you can be mistaken for a boy if you’re quite androgynous but I’m sure people quickly realised their mistake once they get close or interact.

No unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, people don't always realise their mistake. Some are rude enough to express their surprise when corrected or even worse get embarrassed and flustered which can be really cringe.

You don't know, you said yourself you didn't notice, your niece doesn't actually know, honestly standing with boys does not prove you are a boy, tomboys frequently hang around with boys.

IThoughtTerryWoganWasMyDad · 27/09/2023 20:43

Signalbox · 27/09/2023 20:17

This.

I do wonder how the "you can always tell" people explain how women are ever mistaken for the opposite sex. When I cut my hair short I am, on a relatively regular basis, mistaken for male by strangers. I think this is because I am fairly androgynous physically. I am taller than average with a flat chest and wide shoulders and narrow hips I also have a brow ridge and a prominent nose. Clearly some people get it wrong from time to time. Why is this so controversial?

Happened to me most of my adult life on and off until I had long hair and my tits grew bigger/fatter.
Still happens, usually in the winter. Last year a man who was probably 20 years younger than me called me "Son" in a queue.

Froodwithatowel · 27/09/2023 20:45

The whole 'it might be a girl and you can't tell, you shouldn't judge' is how boys and men are destroying women and girls' sports. Women and girls should not have to suck it up in dread of accidentally wronging a female in pursuit of protecting female sports and spaces. That's just another way for males to sneak in without challenge.

Prior to there being deception, no one would have thought twice about whether a girl was just a girl with an unusual presentation which is fine, or whether everyone is lying and pulling a fast one by gaslighting that a boy is a girl.

I would be asking the race organisers, to confirm this is a single sex race and that biological girls only are competing.

Signalbox · 27/09/2023 20:57

Still happens, usually in the winter.

Yes it’s definitely worse in winter!

AvacadoFieldsForever · 27/09/2023 21:18

MrsOvertonsWindow · 27/09/2023 20:15

And this is what happens when the social contract breaks down. That is, the acknowledgement that girls and boys are different and that sport (and other areas) are separated on the basis of sex. People become suspicious, stop trusting the honesty and integrity of officials and assume that people are lying.
Pretending that people can change sex and shamefully allowing children to be involved in the charade, has been a completely regressive & retrograde step for society, baking in unfairness and discrimination - especially for girls and women.
We'll never know but what a shame for all those children involved.

This.
The real issue isn’t whether you can tell or not tell, it’s that a 9 year old has to think about this shit at all. It’s that a parent can’t easily advocate for their child’s rights and fairness. It’s that 9 year olds are being softened up to accept this for the rest of their lives.

Signalbox · 27/09/2023 21:31

AvacadoFieldsForever · 27/09/2023 21:18

This.
The real issue isn’t whether you can tell or not tell, it’s that a 9 year old has to think about this shit at all. It’s that a parent can’t easily advocate for their child’s rights and fairness. It’s that 9 year olds are being softened up to accept this for the rest of their lives.

Yes definitely the trust is gone. This issue would not have arisen 10 / 15 years ago. Nobody would have doubted that everyone in the girls race was actually a girl.

JanesLittleGirl · 27/09/2023 22:04

MrsOvertonsWindow · 27/09/2023 20:15

And this is what happens when the social contract breaks down. That is, the acknowledgement that girls and boys are different and that sport (and other areas) are separated on the basis of sex. People become suspicious, stop trusting the honesty and integrity of officials and assume that people are lying.
Pretending that people can change sex and shamefully allowing children to be involved in the charade, has been a completely regressive & retrograde step for society, baking in unfairness and discrimination - especially for girls and women.
We'll never know but what a shame for all those children involved.

This

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