28 March 2012
Sex Equality in Gender Specific Sports
Sex Equality in Sports written by Jane English focuses on the three major views developed by philosophers regarding equality, and why they do not hold up when used in context with “permanent differences”. The last of the three points discussed by English is the creating of separate sports for both males and females to facilitate the physical handicaps that woman face. This is the point that I maintain as incorrect and that I will elaborate on by providing further examples supporting the separation of males and females in sports.
The example given by English in rebuttal to “sex-blind” sports, is one physiological in nature. There are currently two ways to treat physical disadvantages for groups in sports. The first being the formation of distinct classes based on obvious, clear-cut differences, such as weight, age, etc. She also proves that there are some sports where the marginal difference between male and female competitors is too small or unclear to realistically have an equal competitive group separation. The sports used to exemplify this were diving and skiing, sports where the separation of sex may not be as clear cut as one where a male may be dominant, such as boxing or weightlifting. There are also examples given my English showing that a physiological disadvantage in one sport may be an advantage in another sport (English 275). The divide between female and male becomes clearer as we see that disadvantages such as lower weight and shorter height, physiological factors that are much greater in males, become desirable characteristics for another sport. Balance beam in gymnastics is a competition where shorter competitors have an advantage due to their low center of gravity, as exemplified by English, and low weight may be disadvantageous in Sumo wrestling but desirable for marathon runners or horse jockeys.
English proposes the formation of new sports based on physical...