To Comfort The Afflicted
And Afflict The Comfortable

To Comfort The Afflicted And Afflict The Comfortable

Friday, May 24, 2024

Observercast

The Obsession With Genitalia

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By singling out female athletes, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association has shown that double standards are alive in well in Oklahoma.

Earlier this month Oklahoma City’s KFOR-TV reported the OSSAA had issued new forms for female high school students wanting to participate in school sports.

This pre-participation physical evaluation form, “added new questions asking girls intimate details about their monthly cycles,” according to KFOR’s Taylor Mitchell.

How intimate?

The state is asking:

• Have you ever had a menstrual period?

• How old were you when you had your first menstrual period?

• When was your most recent menstrual period?

• How many periods have you had in the past 12 months.

Citing the American Association of Pediatrics, an official OSSAA statement said the questions are meant to deal with “the ongoing mental health crisis in schools.”

Where the old form asked “the general question ‘are you feeling stressed out,’” OSSAA asserts that the new, intrusive questioning “offers a discreet way to communicate if a student is feeling a particular way.”

No, it doesn’t. It asks nothing about how the student is feeling. It provides snooping school administrators – and anyone with access to their computers – personal information that would probably be denied under standard HIPAA privacy rules.

It might serve as a tool to try to expose transgender athletes who might try to participate in women’s sports – if the member in question of that mini-minority answered honestly.

If valuable at all, those questions might help assess an athlete after an emotional problem was detected. As a “pre-participation” form, it would be outdated as soon as it was submitted.

OSSAA says, “As for the female only section, those questions are imperative to the female triad, it could be argued I guess that the male triad with the attention the issue is getting at the national level, there could be a section for that as well.”

According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, “The female athlete triad is defined as the combination of disordered eating, amenorrhea [the absence of menstruation] and osteoporosis.”

As OSSAA notes, there is also a male athlete triad. The Sports Institute cites “a decline in athletic performance accompanied by low energy availability, low testosterone and poor bone health.”

If OSSAA were truly concerned about its athletes – and not just how many potential eggs young women were losing through their periods – it would ask young male athletes:

• Have you ever had an ejaculation?

• How old were you when you had your first ejaculation?

• When was your most recent ejaculation?

• How many ejaculations have you had in the past 12 months?

I mean, if we are going to obsess over lost eggs, lost sperm deserve consideration as well.

Whoa! Those sound like mighty prying questions. [I don’t think they would be allowed in any of the small-town newspapers I once frequented.] Yep, the normalized intrusion into the most intimate details of women and girls’ lives produce the properly jarring effect when applied equally to males.

Rev. Lori Walke, minister at OKC’s Mayflower Congregational United Church of Christ, told KFOR, “We really need information from these forms for very practical good purposes. The problem is this obsession with genitalia from people … It’s created a climate of fear about sharing information because parents and guardians have to be worried about their child’s right to bodily autonomy and personal privacy.”

It sounds to me that it is OSSAA itself that is suffering from “this obsession with genitalia.”

Walke said, too, that parents “have the right to be concerned” about these issues.

But it’s not a “child’s” privacy that is in jeopardy. The parents of young men have nothing to worry about.

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Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson
Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democrats. He lives in Duncan, following a sporadic career as a small-town journalist, mostly in Texas, and as an editor of educational audio-visual materials. Some days he's a philosopher/poet, others a poet/philosopher.
Mark Krawczyk
Mark Krawczyk
March 9, 2023
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Brette Pruitt
Brette Pruitt
September 5, 2022
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