As most of us remember from our school gym classes, the one true way to separate the strong from the weak was the time-honored tradition of dodgeball. If a team of Canadian researchers have their way, dodgeball will be removed from gym classes because it’s a “tool of oppression” and it “dehumanizes” others.
The professors fronting the study hail from three different Canadian universities. They made their presentation this week at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences in Vancouver, prior to it being published in the European Physical Education Review…which sounds like some good-time reading, right?
Professor Joy Butler offers this critique of the game: “When you’re setting up the environment for students to learn, and you introduce the idea that it’s okay to slam the ball at whomever you like, even if it’s with a soft ball, the intention is there… When students think it’s okay because they’re being told it’s okay to do that, what do they learn? People say [dodgeball] is being used as an outlet for aggression or catharsis. I suspect that this is where they’re learning that.”
As for the “oppression” business, they say that it’s through the “presence of exploitation, marginalization, powerlessness, cultural imperialism, and violence.” Then again, it could also just be a game that a certain segment of people take a little too seriously.