When women’s professional soccer was deemed good enough for our TV screens a couple of years ago, I was watching with a friend and her four-year-old son. He was enthralled by the game, and asked his mother, ‘Are boys allowed to play football as well as girls, mummy?’
This little boy’s comment clearly highlighted the insidious sexism prevalent in all aspects of competitive sport. When it comes to soccer, rugby, weightlifting, darts, you name it, commentating, sports writing, sports photography and so many other operational aspects of competitive sports are dominated by men.
Female sports champions can be such important feminist role models for girls. Look at Martina Navratilova, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Nicola Adams and Sian Massey-Ellis. These women are looked up to by so many young women, whether they want to enter the sporting world or not, they have succeeded in a world colonised by men — often the most patriarchal types.
The decision to allow Laurel Hubbard, a 43-year-old weightlifter who transitioned from male to trans woman in 2012, to compete in the forthcoming Olympic Games against female competitors is the beginning of the end of women’s sport.
Why does women’s sport exist at all? Because biology in sport matters. Separate categories give females equal opportunities of sporting success.
Australian Weightlifting Federation’s chief executive, Michael Keelan has spoken out about how unfair Hubbard’s inclusion is to female competitors. We all surely know it is unfair, even those speaking out in support of Hubbard’s inclusion in the Olympics — they just don’t care about women.
The science is clear. As Ross Tucker wrote in 2019:
‘At any level, across any range, the top 100 (way more, actually, add a zero) in an open competition between all humans would be won, without any exception, by those who benefit from testosterone’s effects on muscle, skeleton, heart, blood and fat.