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Muggle Quidditch Is Struggling With Gender Equality
by Jamie Frevele | 11:06 am, October 21st, 2011
You might not expect a real-life game based on a fictional game in a fantasy book series would be dealing with real-life issues such as gender equality, but it is. Muggle Quidditch leagues are, apparently, dealing with a new ruling that states that every team must have a 4:3 ratio of male players to female and vice versa, and some are not dealing with it well. This is a bit surprising for two reasons: 1. Quidditch was always co-ed in the Harry Potter books and movies, placing absolutely no preference on males over females and regularly featuring female team captains and players in all the same positions, making a very clear statement that boys and girls are equally skilled and respected in Quidditch. 2. This game came from a book about a boy wizard.
The IQA (International Quidditch Association), which is real, recently announced that they would delay the implementation of the ruling until after the Quidditch World Cup, which is also real. But once the teams have finished competing for the season, the teams will be restructured to meet the 4:3 requirement, which means that if there are four players of one gender, there must be three of the other, whether the majority is male or female. The current rule mandates a 5:2 ratio, however in one instance, the two women who made one team were relegated to beaters (whose objective is to hit the bludgers away) and are rarely seen on the field. While IQA Commissioner Alex Benepe says that this is not always the case, that some teams have maintained equality between the genders, it is becoming more and more common for Quidditch teams to become more predominantly male and marginalize the female players, and he has decided to take action by increasing the ratio.
However, because of timing and not because of logic, as he put it in a video made last August, the ruling will not be enforced until Fall 2012. He stresses that this is only because of the proximity to this year’s World Cup and the small window of time the teams would have to restructure. There has been some pushback, which can be seen in the comments on the YouTube page as well as the Facebook page, like claims that forced equality is not equality, or that it simply isn’t easy to recruit women who aren’t interested in playing Quidditch. Another comment states that it wouldn’t be fair to recruit based on gender rather than skill. Though one Quidditch player commented that the female players overpower the males. However, Benepe recounted the story of how J.K. Rowling had to use her initials instead of her given name — Joanne — because boys might not buy a book written by a woman, saying that a game that exists because of this woman should take extra steps to ensure that no female player is treated any differently than the males.
While the impression is that this ruling means well, but would only end up excluding skilled male Quidditch players, there are also comments expressing support for the new ratio, one saying that if there was no mandate, many of the teams would be all male.
So, boys and girls are playing a game that was created by a woman, for a book written by a woman, and there is still gender inequality. Come on, Quidditch! Time to transcend real-life issues.
(via Geek Mom)