One of the greatest things about reading nonfiction is learning all kinds of things about our world which you never would have known without it. There’s the intriguing, the beautiful, the appalling, and the profound. What nonfiction book or books have impacted the way you see the world in a powerful way? Is there one book that made you rethink everything? Do you think there is a book that should be required reading for everyone?

This year I read quite a bit about elite women’s sports. It turned out to be a timely topic because transphobes have lost their minds over supposedly “protecting women’s sports” when they really just want to ban trans people.

Good for a Girl: A Woman Running in a Man's World Lauren Fleshman

I started with Lauren Fleshman’s book. She is a cis female runner who discusses how girls and women are disadvantaged by thinking that they will mature in the same way as male runners. She contends that women end up with shortened careers from injuries and eating disorders because they don’t make allowances for these differences.

My review

She talked about Kara Goucher’s book so I picked that up.

The Longest Race: Inside the Secret World of Abuse, Doping, and Deception on Nike's Elite Running Team Kara Goucher

Kara Goucher was a distance runner who trained under an abusive coach who was eventually banned from the sport. She discusses predatory sponsorships. I first heard of her in running magazine articles about training while pregnant. Turns out she did that whole popular campaign for women’s running while pregnant but still got suspended without pay while it was going on during her pregnancy because she wasn’t racing.

These two books call out a whole host of issues that people can be mad about if they truly want to see what is wrong with women’s sports.

Sporting Gender: The History, Science, and Stories of Transgender and Intersex Athletes Joanna Harper

From there, I read a book specifically about trans women and intersex women in sports.

This book was great to look at the long history of these controversies. People have been talking about this since ancient times. With that in mind, I think that if the world of women’s sports haven’t collapsed yet, that they will be just fine.

This was written by a transwoman who has been involved in trials about international athletic competitions. While reading the book I found myself disagreeing with her side on these trials.

My review of Sporting Gender

That was interesting because when I moved to Caster Semenya’s (who is on the cover of Sporting Gender) memoir, Joanna Harper is one of the people she calls out by name as disagreeing with. Caster also had a great relationship with Nike, unlike Kara Goucher.

Caster Semenya was an elite 800 m sprinter who has been at the center of a lot of the gender controversy. She is intersex and found that out when her gender was challenged at her first international event.

My review

I wish that all the people claiming to care about women’s sports would read these books to actually educate themselves on the real issues.

Host: Rebekah – She Seeks Nonfiction