Sports Illustrated's laughable puff piece about Will Thomas, the fake woman

I was wondering where Sports Illustrated was when it came to Will Thomas, the lousy male swimmer at the University of Pennsylvania who now competes as a woman and blows away in the competition.  (Note: High school boys routinely beat professional female athletes.)  It turns out that S.I.'s Robert Sanchez was slaving over a puff piece allowing Will to tell "her story."  Will is an uninteresting, immature man suffering from body dysmorphia.  What's more interesting is S.I.'s relentless propaganda push.

On Thursday, S.I. published a gushy, puffy, oozing-with-sympathy piece about Will Thomas.  It sounds exactly like an old-time heart-tugger from a 1950s women's magazine about an abandoned mother who rebuilt her life baking muffins for orphans.  While Thomas is a pathetic misfit who's as excited as a college student winning an elementary school spelling contest, S.I. has his back.  This is from the opening paragraph, where he is set up like Joan of Arc, a warrior-martyr for the French people:

On this January evening her [sic] long torso was wrapped in a University of Pennsylvania swim and dive jacket, her [sic] hair still damp from a swim — roughly three miles staring at the black line on the bottom of the pool. She [sic] looked exhausted. As college students across the country were digging into their Friday nights, Thomas was thinking about her [sic] weekend plans: sleeping, studying and another grueling swim practice.

Thomas is described as "the shy senior economics major from Austin."  Conservative sites (such as this one), we learn, "have called her [sic] a man [he is] and deadnamed her [sic], purposely using the name she [sic] went by before transitioning."  The Daily Mail provided a "cruel detail" about him in the women's locker room (that being that Thomas becomes sexually aroused with that female penis.)

We learn that "[w]hile she [sic] hopes her [sic] presence on the starting block helps other young trans athletes realize their possibilities, Thomas has walled herself [sic] off," giving almost no interviews (maybe because he comes across as a creepy opportunist).  When he speaks to Sanchez, "[h]er [sic] words are clipped, her [sic] pauses a calculation of potential reactions her [sic] comments might elicit."

The ghost of those long-gone sob-sister writers hangs over every word of this article.  This reads like a parody of that genre:

Every day this season felt like a challenge to her [sic] humanity. Part of her [sic] wanted people to know her [sic] journey to this moment, to know what it felt like to be in a body but not be of that body. She [sic] wanted people to know what it was like to finally live an authentic life and what it meant for her [sic] to finish a race, to look up at a timing board and see the name lia thomas next to the names of other [sic] women. What it meant to her [sic] to stand on a podium with other [sic] women and be counted as an equal.

She [sic] wondered whether anyone would hear her [sic] words. Even if they did, would they listen?

Thomas, we learn, fights through the pain, bonding with women.  "Thomas became quick friends with many of her new teammates, connecting over a mutual love of niche anime and video games and through the closeness that can be achieved only through taxing swim practices."

That's mawkish, saccharine splurge of the highest order.  S.I. details at mind-numbing length Thomas's courage, his martyrdom, and the loneliness of breaking glass ceilings and destroying real women's dreams.

To appreciate how disturbed this kind of thing is, imagine this story:

When people first see April's skeletal body on the starting block next to her full-fleshed teammates, they're inclined to look askance at her and her coach, wondering how she can be allowed to swim rather than be put in a hospital bed. April's used to this reaction. She knew long ago that people failed to understand that she is, in fact, morbidly obese, a condition that can be dealt with only through self-starvation.

Because of her obese, 85-lb frame, April routinely comes in last place at any swim meet, but her teammates accept that. They recognize her as a leader in gaining recognition for anorexic people.

Sure, April gets hate mail from parents accusing her of promoting an unhealthy lifestyle of caloric deprivation and post-meal vomiting but April knows she's doing the right thing, not just for herself, but for all the other morbidly obese girls out there being denied the opportunity to abjure food, have regular fainting spells, lose their teeth to stomach acid, and still compete at the highest level on the sports team of their choice.

Sure, that's nonsense, but the internet has created all sorts of anorexia groups where young people (mostly women) can go to embrace their madness.  Moreover, that paragraph is no more nonsensical than a major American publication pretending that Will Thomas, a strapping young man, is a woman.  His body dysphoria — that is, his sense of disconnection from himself — is tragic, but what's even more tragic is an American media that's working hard to turn his mental illness into a normative — and mandatorily accepted — reality.

Image: Robert Sanchez's tweet sharing his puff piece celebrating Will Thomas's anti–real woman body dysphoria.  Twitter screen grab.

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