Semenya's Case Study

768 Words 4 Pages
In 2009, female runner Caster Semenya underwent a sex test after it was challenged that she was male. Semenya’s large, muscular physique and impressive track results led people to question her femininity. In Semenya’s case her sex, sex-category and gender were all at stake. While gender, sex-category and sex are all separate entities, Semenya experienced discrimination based on the socially constructed ideals and expectations for each. Before Semenya’s sex, sex-category and gender were questioned, she used the gender strategy of repudiation, but when it was brought to attention that Semenya did not meet the expectations of a hegemonic woman she tried to compensate for her lack of femininity. Sex is a biological category that each person is …show more content…
Semenya’s cousin stated, “We brought her up in a way that when people start to making fun of her, she shouldn't get upset” (Bryson, 2009). At this time in her life, Semenya was practicing the gender strategy of repudiation. As Chen (1999) says, repudiation is rejecting the idea that one needs to aspire to hegemonic femininity, and accepts that there are other ways to be fulfilled with one’s self. Semenya and her family rejected the notion that there was only one way to be a female. After Semenya’s sex, sex-category and gender were called into question, Semenya and her team portrayed a more feminine image of her to the public. In her cover story for “You” Magazine, Semenya explained, “I’d like to dress up more often and wear dresses but I never get the chance” (North, 2009). Semenya and her team were using compensation, a gender strategy that one uses by emphasizing a quality that they lack (Chen 1999). By having an article that focused on a makeover for Semenya, she was trying to compensate for her more masculine features with highly feminine clothing and

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