The International Chess Federation (FIDE) is blocking transwomen from competing in women’s chess tournaments.
No one has come out and said it, but it’s clear that this is rooted in the misogynistic belief that women are inferior to men when it comes to chess. As with the bans on transwomen in physical sports competition, the underlying assumption is that someone assigned male at birth is clearly “naturally” better at chess than someone assigned female, and transition doesn’t take away that advantage.
However, a person assigned female at birth who has won women’s chess competitions will lose their titles if they transition to male. Apparently FIDE is recognizing that a transman counts as a man, even before they transition.
I gather FIDE sees the act of transitioning to male as confirmation that the person is not an inferior being and therefore should not compete in an inferior category.
Transwomen, on the other hand, will not lose the titles they won in male competitions before transitioning. That this is ludicrous doesn’t change the reasoning.
Of course, none of this makes any sense. There is in fact no reason at all for chess competitions to be divided by gender, except for the fact that chess has been dominated by men and women’s competitions are a way for women to get their feet in the door.
The assumption that women are inherently inferior at the skills of chess is just another misogynistic tool for blocking their participation. Continue reading “Gender and Chess”…
Reading Lyz Lenz’s latest newsletter (“Thank You, Dads of YouTube” ) brought me to the edge of tears.
It wasn’t her success at fixing her washer that got me. It was the fact that a woman much younger than I am still grew up surrounded by the belief that there were things women couldn’t do.
As someone old enough to remember how important this issue was in second wave feminism 50 years ago, it breaks my heart to know that so many people are still growing up with these stunted beliefs.
I don’t doubt that it’s true. It’s why I hope to teach some more self defense classes if we ever get enough of a handle on the pandemic for me to feel comfortable in a room full of people learning to yell “No.” Way too many women still believe that the fact that the average man is a little stronger than the average woman means they can’t protect themselves.
Spending half my life in the martial arts watching small people kick the asses of big people did that one in for me. I want to make sure other people know it, too.
We did make legal progress in the second wave, though the recent outrageous action of the partisan hacks on the US Supreme Court in nullifying the right to abortion by allowing a clearly unconstitutional Texas law to take effect is damaging legal rights as well.
(I was in law school when Roe v. Wade was decided. That was also a Texas case and I have met the lawyer who brought it — she was also my state representative back in the day.)
The same hacks also dismantled voting rights laws. It is not just women under attack in our society.
The extremist attacks make me angry, but the fact that so many women are still buying into the myths we fought to overcome in the 1970s is what breaks my heart. Continue reading “What We Can Do”…