You probably remember the board game “Guess Who?” — you know, the game where you randomly draw a character and then try to guess who your opponent drew? The game where you narrow down your options by asking questions like, “Is your person wearing a hat?” or “Does your person have blue eyes?”
The game with 5 female characters and 19 male characters?
“Is your person a girl?” “…Yes.” BAM – almost all the cards go down. One question in, and you’ve already lost.
Yeah, that game.
With the help of her mom, blogger and journalist Jennifer O’Connell, a six-year-old girl wrote to Hasbro to ask why “Guess Who?” is so sexist. She wrote:
My name is R______. I am six years old. I think it's not fair to only have 5 girls in Guess Who and 19 boys. It is not only boys who are important, girls are important too. If grown ups get into thinking that girls are not important they won't give little girls much care.
Also if girls want to be a girl in Guess Who they'll always lose against a boy, and it will be harder for them to win. I am cross about that and if you don't fix it soon, my mum could throw Guess Who out.
My mum typed this message but I told her what to say.
Hasbro responded with a bunch of gobbledygook about “numerical equations,” “process of elimination,” and “weight[ing] in favor of any particular character.” They insisted that Guess Who? is not sexist, writing, “Another aspect of the game is to draw attention away from using gender or ethnicity as the focal point, and to concentrate on those things that we all have in common, rather than focus on our differences.”
O’Connell wrote back to Hasbro, asking, “Why is female gender regarded as a "characteristic", while male gender is not?”
Hasbro responded by insisting that Guess Who? is not sexist. They wrote, “We agree that girls are equally as important as boys and want both boys and girls to have fun playing our games. When you play the Guess Who? game, you have the same chance of winning the game whether you picked a card with boy or a card with a girl.”
You have an equal chance of winning the game whether you picked a card with a boy or a girl? LIES. I wonder if Hasbro has ever played Guess Who?
You can read the whole exchange on O’Connell’s blog, here.
Images from webarnes.ca, joroyal.com