The Atlantic Op-Ed: Separating Sports By Gender ‘Doesn’t Make Sense’

In a startling op-ed, The Atlantic claimed that segregating sports by sex is nonsensical and has no basis in science. It declared that there is an inherent unfairness in having male and female sports teams, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

In hindsight, this viewpoint should have been seen coming in over the horizon.

Writer Maggie Mertens believes that sex-segregated sports are unnecessary since men may not have natural biological advantages over female athletes. Her argument is that women have not been given adequate athletic support.

While she acknowledges that sex differences in sports do show advantages for males, it’s unknown how much of this is biology compared to different levels of support for women to “reach their highest athletic potential.”

Her argument continues with the claim that “old notions of sex as a marker of physical capabilitiy are changing.” She adds that sex differences that were once clear “aren’t really clear at all.”

Mertens said that sports in American schools are typically sex segregated and that many are even thought of as specifically for males or females. That is changing, she purports, as Generation Z is much more likely to reject what she called a “strict gender binary.”

The op-ed claimed that scientists have challenged for years the notion that boys are “inherently bigger, faster, and stronger than girls in a competitive setting.”

Mertens believes that science shows that sex is “dynamic,” that it has several aspects and even shifts in a “second-to-second and month-to-month way.”

She also rejects the notion that safety is a viable reason to segregate sports by gender. Some activities such as boxing and wrestling are separated by weight class, but she notes this is hardly universal.

Her op-ed may sound appealing on paper, but that ends at the moment that world class athletes match up in virtually any sport. It’s in no way saying that a person is “better” or “worse” than another biologically to simply acknowledge that there are natural advantages.