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International Journal of Applied Philosophy

Volume 33, Issue 2, Fall 2019

Sandra McCalla
Pages 259-273

Sexism or Fair Play
Intersex Women in Competitive Sports

It is true that not all women are born equal, and likewise, not all men are born equal, so before the game even starts, there are some athletes with longer legs, bigger hands and unusually high testosterone levels. These are natural properties and structures that have the potential to cause an unfair advantage. It is argued that since athletes are not born equal, natural properties should not be controlled or suppressed but ought to be considered as fair play in sports. Forcing intersex female athletes to lower their testosterone levels to compete is not only sexist and discriminatory, it is unethical. The question of fair play is at the forefront here as I seek to work from the premise that natural inequalities have always existed and will continue to exist in competitive sports. As long as these exist, competitions will not be fair. Since athletes have no control over these natural inequalities, they are neither causally nor morally responsible for them.

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