UN-FAIR GAME (everyday sexism)

Definition of Equality

This isn’t usually a ranty blog, but I was whipped into a frenzy by a post I read over at SINGLE SLUMMY MUMMY (hey Jo!) and I just had to mention something I came across something the other day that made my blood boil.

The girls are old enough now to play board games, so the other day OH and I went out and bought them one of my childhood favourites, Guess Who?. My cousin and I spent hours playing this as kids, but for the first time I noticed something about the game that really bothered me.

Out of 24 characters on the board, only five were female. FIVE. How is that even a remotely accurate view of the world, where half of the seven billion people on the planet are women (in fact it’s slightly more than 50 percent in the United Kingdom)?

I understand that ‘it’s just a game’ and that it first came out in 1979 when women were even less fairly represented, but this was an updated version that came out in 2007, so there’s no excuse for such old-fashioned discrimination.

It saddens me because it’s sending the message to our children that women are unequal to men – so much so, they don’t even deserve to be accurately portrayed on a kids’ board game.

And why not? It just doesn’t make any sense. In fact, it even makes the game quite unfair; if you select a female as your ‘face’ for the game you’re immediately at a disadvantage as the inevitable first question (are you a man/woman?) enables your competitor to narrow the field down to just five possibles with one move.

This everyday sexism is something I’ve become increasingly aware of since having daughters, and it makes me so sad. I want my girls to make life decisions based on their thoughts and dreams and ambitions, not because they’ve subconsciously receiving the message that women aren’t really equal – not even in the pretend world of a board game.

What are your thoughts? 




  1. Thanks for the mention!

    It IS rubbish isn’t it?? Not just from a sexism point of view, but also that it makes the game a bit rubbish. We’ve tried to crank it up a notch and ask less obvious questions like ‘when they smile, can you see their teeth?’

    (Addressing the sexism head on obvs.)

  2. YES! I have had to ban this game at home, as me being a ranty angry feminist spoils the game for all of us, apparently. It makes me so cross, especially when the kids draw a female character to play from the pile, then complain and ask to select again as they always lose if they get a female character. This is rubbish! I have threatened to draw long hair on some and change their names… Jo rather than Joe, Frankie not Frank, Daniella not Daniel, Erica not Eric….but too many of the men have moustaches to make this an easy exercise though, pesky beards!

    • Firstly – welcome, my fellow ranty angry feminist game spoiler! Secondly – loving your M-to-F transgender solution – totally the way forward, I believe! 🙂

  3. Wow, that’s horrendous! I agree, all it’s doing is teaching our kids that being a woman is rubbish. A view that is unfortunately still echoed across society, and the fact that much of it is unwittingly done makes it even worse. My seven-year-old daughter told my mum that she wanted a farm when she grows up. My mum told her she’d have to marry a farmer then. As you can imagine, I gave my mother a good dressing down for that one, and she was shocked at what she’d said when she thought about it.

    We have the cheap and cheerful knock-off version of Guess Who, and the male/female ratio is more evenly matched. So perhaps it’s a class thing… the upper classes who can afford the ‘proper’ version of the game get men as the ruling class and all the women are out of the game and at home embroidering their cupcakes, whilst in the cheap working class version the women are allowed to put in a bit more of an appearance. But only on their way to their cleaning jobs. Sorry, tongue firmly in cheek there.

    And going on from that, I hate the fact that the word ‘feminist’ has such negative connotations too. I’ll never forget my VI Form history tutor asking the class who was a feminist. No one responded. She then rephrased the question: ‘Who thinks women should get equal pay for doing the same job as a man?’ We all responded in the affirmative, the boys included. ‘Then you’re all feminists’ she told us. I rather liked that simple definition, and it’s something that has stuck with me.

    • Isn’t it shocking Jo? Sadly, the more you think about it, the more you notice these cases of institutional sexism. Totally agree about the ‘F’ word; when did it become a bad thing?! Love your tutor’s definition – it makes people realise you don’t have to be a militant bra burner to be a feminist!! x

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