What it means to be a 100% woman

Mansi Laus Deo
3 min readMay 11, 2019


source: gratisography.com

If your blood has 4.99 nmol/L testosterone, then you’re a female. If you happen to fall on the other side of this thin line, like 5.01 nmol/L, then you’re probably a male.

That doesn’t make sense, right?

How does a percentage of naturally produced hormone dictate if I’m a woman or a man? And as if this was not enough, imagine being humiliated to the point of getting your sex verified through a test.

I have been subjected to unwarranted and invasive scrutiny of the most intimate and private details of my being.

~ Caster Semenya

This is the story of the Elite Athlete and Olympian, Caster Semenya.

When Micheal Phelps was found with double-jointed ankles, astoundingly long arms, and a genetic anomaly where his body produced less than half the lactic acid of a typical athlete, people celebrated him like a marvel. The fact that he experienced less fatigue (caused by lactic acid) and thus, performed better than his competition was treated as a biological advantage. No one questioned or suggested that he must get a corrective surgery done or be injected with lactic acid to compete ‘fairly’ and ‘reasonably’.

Discrimination is a necessary, reasonable and proportionate means of achieving the IAAF’s aim of preserving the integrity of female athletics.

~ International Association of Athletics Federations

Now, I wonder why Caster Semenya came under such scrutiny and was banned? Is it because she’s a woman? Or because she comes with different skin colour?

How is her biological advantage different from Phelps’?

It is clear that she is a woman but maybe not 100 percent.

~ Pierre Weiss, Secretary general of the IAFF in 2009

What?? How is calling her not 100% woman preserving the integrity of female athletes? What does it mean to be a 100% woman? Have they given it a thought to what it means to be a 100% man? Or a 100% trans?

Let me shed light to an intriguing report: A 2018 study recorded low testosterone concentrations in 25.4% of male elite competitors in 12 of the 15 sports. Now, would Pierre Weiss be willing to say that these elite sportsmen were less than 100% male?

If being a woman means having a standard level of physiological activity, then to me, it brings a message to conform. To be like everyone else. To stay within limits. And, that doesn’t sit right with me.

There’s no wrong way to be a woman.

~ Serena Williams

I used to wonder how hard it was for trans-women to justify that even though they aren’t born with the lady parts, they identify internally as a woman. If it’s so hard for the so-called socially acceptable females to justify their womanhood, then the going gets tougher for trans-women.

Is this how we leave this world a better place than we were born in?

For more interesting stuff, follow me on Instagram @mansilausdeo. For collaborations or hiring me as a freelance writer for you, email me. It’s again on my Instagram profile. See you around! :)



Mansi Laus Deo

UX & Communications strategist · Currently sharing my learnings as & on UX Writing Bud · 10+ years in Content Strategy