it’s not that difficult to rile me up pre-coffee in the mornings, but few things have had me seeing red like the article i read this morning, where the IAAF (the governing athletics body) have decided to completely strip the current women’s world marathon record holder of her achievement. that’s right: back in 2003, Paula Radcliffe ran the London marathon faster than any female has ever run 26.2 miles… but that’s no longer considered the world record.
why, you ask? what could have possibly come to light to require such a drastic move? what did Paula Radcliffe do? what rule could she have breached?
well, none. it’s just that the IAAF have decided, with the benefit of eight years of hindsight, that it was too easy for her – because it was a mixed race, you see, and she *got to run behind a man*. that was clearly an unfair advantage. and so they’ve taken that record away.
“you know that race you ran 8 years ago, where *you ran faster than any other woman in the world*? that race that has defined your career and your international standing? … PSYCH! not a world record! ha ha!” -IAAF
also: if you want to set a world record and you’re a woman? from now on, you’d better find an all women’s race to do it in, because otherwise it doesn’t count. so New York, Boston, London, Chicago, Berlin marathons? no need to do your best there anymore, ladies. apparently the IAAF think you just breeze along to the finish line… because obviously the men will have already done all the hard work of pacing the race.
(but wait: the men in a race have male pacers, don’t they? why yes – yes, they do. but for a woman to have a male pacer is unfair.
i suppose i shouldn’t be surprised by this unbelievably transparent bid to completely discredit women’s achievements out of hand. after all, this is *what the patriarchy does*.
the other day, the king of saudi arabia decided to allow women saudis to vote (four years from now). how very fucking beneficent of him, eh? women all over social media were hailing this as some great achievement. but let’s be clear: it’s not. what it is, is a male dictator who has decided to let women be just a millimetre less oppressed than they were yesterday.
this is what the patriarchy does. it sets the rules. it changes them at whim. it giveth… and then it taketh away. it is always reminding us who’s really in control. it keeps women off balance, and hungry, and grateful for every crumb they are thrown. after all, 2012 will be only the 8th time women have even been allowed to race the olympic marathon! shouldn’t we still pleased as punch about that?
no. no i’m bloody well not. i’m tired of having to fight tooth and nail to simply be *less oppressed*, and i’m tired of the two-steps-forward-one-step-back dance that’s designed to serve as a constant reminder that no matter how far we advance, we are still, and will always be, behind. it is a methodical form of continual humiliation to remind us that we still have to have our rights and achievements accredited by men in order for them to truly count.
so even if you run the fastest marathon in the world, it means nothing unless *they* decide it means something. the message here, ladies: as in the rest of life, no matter how hard you work, no matter how hard you fight, you’ll always just be seen to be chasing a man. and don’t you dare forget it.