Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

Why I’ll keep cheering for Caster Semenya

She is not a cheat by any measure. And she has brought liberal and transgender illusions face to face with the real world

An almost worldwide survey on penis length — the sort of thing I always read with a sense of trepidation and inadequacy — suggested that the countries boasting the largest of these flawed and devious appendages are all located in Africa. Especially West Africa, from the DRC down to the humid and still pristine jungles of Gabon. This suggests to me one of two things — either that the old racist cliché is absolutely true, or that Africans tell bigger lies than anyone else on the planet. Either or both of these explanations are likely to get me into trouble, so I suppose I’d better stop digging.

Thing is, I can’t fathom another answer. I should add, just in case you’re interested, that we Brits come exactly in the middle of the worldwide penis league — which is, I think, the right place to be. We clock in at an average of about 14cm, or a bit over 5in — which seems to me an eminently sensible length, neither the frighteningly robust nightstick you might encounter in Kinshasa, nor yet the pitiful, flaccid caterpillar which hangs forlornly between the legs of your Southeast Asians. No wonder the Thai men are always cross and their women yearn for fat German and elderly British tourists, shooting ping-pong balls from their lady gardens across the bar-room in order to attract a potential mate with a semblance of girth and length down below. China did not take part in the survey, perhaps fearing where they’d come in the table.

One African who does not boast about having a very large penis is the South-African gold medallist in the 800 metres, Caster Semenya. This is because Caster is a woman, probably. Certainly she identifies as a woman and competes as a woman and is built like a woman in everything other than her very high natural levels of testosterone; that is, her hyperandrogenism.

Caster has incurred the loathing of her rivals, especially her European rivals, because they believe her inherent manliness gives her an unfair advantage over them — which indeed it does.

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