Every now and then, we have to deal with an enquiry which specifically requests that the quiz host is not a woman. To which we are prone to reply “Certainly, sir/madam. Are there any other types of quiz master you’d like to discriminate against? Jewish, perhaps? Muslim? Disabled? Black? Gay?” Well, no, we don’t say that (but we do think that). We’re don’t want to be quite so provocative, but, suffice to say, we are not all together impressed by the absurdity of the request.
Is there anything which makes men better at running quizzes than women? Short answer. No, there isn’t. Obviously.
We’ve been told that “We went to a quiz run by a woman once, and it was rubbish” – but that will be because she was a rubbish quiz master and/or had rubbish quiz questions (but certainly wouldn’t have been one of our quiz masters), not because she was a woman.I’m sure you can remember a rubbish quiz you’ve been to run by a man – and that was because he was a rubbish quiz master, possibly with rubbish quiz questions, not because he was a man.
Two of our busiest and best quiz hosts are women. Suffice to say, no one’s ever complained after the event about the gender of their host.
So, where does the mindset of the enquiry come from? Generally, we find that people making the request think a woman won’t have the authority to control a room full of men. Utter nonsense. Perhaps there is a certain cliche based on the traditional Master of Ceremonies role based on a large hairy man belting out instructions. Don’t worry, we do also have large hairy men, we have baldy men, beardy men, ginger men, all manner of men. None of these factors make them good quiz masters – good quiz knowledge, good humour, a calm, authoritative manner, good training, and good material make a good quiz master.
Maybe the idea comes from the same outdated notion that women don’t make good comedians http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/fosters-comedy-award-winner-bridget-christie-i-was-standing-in-a-bookshop-when-i-realised-that-thiswas-a-show-i-just-had-to-do-8784433.html.
Maybe from the recently proposed daftness manifesting as cold hard fact that women are no good at mental games http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/10244637/Ukip-treasurer-Women-are-not-competitive-enough-for-the-board-room.html
…which has been splendidly rebutted by one of Britain’s finest poker players/quiz hosts http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/aug/25/women-poker-players-financial-crisis
So, to finish this post/rant, we don’t have much time for requests that the quiz host is not a woman/man or anything else. If this is your request, please a) think twice about your request b) if you have a genuine, non-discriminatory, non-prejudiced reason for the request make sure you explain it to us (could be interesting…and we are open-minded) c) be prepared for us to try to talk a little common sense into you and d) be aware that you request may potentially be illegal (can you imagine refusing to be operated on by a surgeon who was a woman, or refusing to be driven in a bus by a woman, or indeed being looked over for a job because you were a woman…)