June 11, 2019 | by: Chris Pride

Researchers: Dodgeball is a tool of oppression

“If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball!”  Those were the famous words from the great film Dodgeball: a true underdog story.  While the film shows a group of misfits coming together to defeat a group of bullies in the stakes affair of dodging balls, researchers are now saying it’s unlikely underdogs would be competitive in the sport.

According to the Washington Post a group of Canadian researchers the common gym class game of dodgeball is a “tool of oppression.”  Joy Butler, a professor who studies pedagogy and curriculum development at University of British Columbia told the Washington Post “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.”

Researchers met with middle-school aged students and found many of them hated dodgeball.  They also found that the reasons why students hated the game matched up with political theorist Iris Marion Young’s “Five Faces of Oppression,” an article published in her 1990 book “Justice and the Politics of Difference.”

Young argues oppression’s faces are:

Exploitation: Using other people’s labors to benefit for oneself.

Marginalization: Relegating a group of lower standing to the edge of society.

Powerlessness: Those relegated have a lack autonomy.

Cultural imperialism: Establishing the rules and customs of the ruling class as the norm.

Violence: Members of a group of lower standing know they may be subject to random, unprovoked attacks.

Researchers also noted that they had observed the more athletic, authoritative students had created their own rules and purposely stacked the teams.  This, naturally made it more difficult for the less athletic or popular to compete.

They ultimately recommended that Physical Education curriculum’s focus more on health, wellness and fitness rather than just sports.  The downside of course to removing dodgeball from gym classes is the possibility that our children may no longer learn how to dodge wrenches.