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Cruel History of Questioning Black Women's Femininity in Sports

Posted by Aurora Intern on
Cruel History of Questioning Black Women's Femininity in Sports

Black women are constantly going the distance in running records for sports. We are the blueprint and heroes for every day life. But in sports, Black women are always questioned about their femininity. Serena Williams, Simone Biles and Caster Semenya all come to mind at first. There are countless other examples. Caster Semenya won the 2009 World Championships at 18 years old. She didn't even have the chance to celebrate her wins before people whittled her story to her body.Black women have been defined by their bodies for years. We have sexualized and scrutinized in the media. But in the sports world, there are tones of disgust when speaking about black womens bodies. Men are praised for the differences in their body in sports. Usain Bolt is known as the the man with the longest legs. Ira Murchinson is known as the Human Sputnick. Both were Olympic winners. Semenya has be consistently analyzed by her World Athletics and deemed to need intrusive and violating tests to confirm her gender. Subsequently, her femininity has come in to question constantly. And she isn't the only one.


Semanya and Williams are bound by that white supremacist notion that womanhood doesn't belong to black women. 

Serena Williams has been through the ringer when it comes to people testing her femininity. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. There is an underlying racist root in the examining of black peoples bodies. When Europeans first saw African Americans, they saw black people as animalistic. Africans dark skin and wide noses and mouths reminded Europeans of apes. So much so that Europeans began to perpetuate the idea thats Africans mated with monkeys. That blatant racism and inferiority was placed on black people for years. These beliefs with time took a more gendered tone and justified the exclusion of black women as women.So Semanyas and Williams are bound by that white supremacist notion that womanhood doesn't belong to black women. World Athletics seems committed to this notion by the treatment of black women in sports. We shouldn't try to look at black bodies through a white supremacist lens. Let's look at what their bodies can do. It is feminine to be strong and a pillar in your sport. Womanhood isn't just defined by how you look. It's the person you are and how you react. We shouldn't but confining body standards on anyone. We should enjoy how its played.

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