Indy Mellink, a 23-year-old Dutch playing card fan and forensic psychology graduate from Oegstgeest, Netherlands, recently realized that card decks are sexist. This revelation came to her as she was explaining a game to her cousins last summer and ended up asking herself why a king should be worth more than a queen. Why, indeed?!!
Right then and there she decided it was time to break with the centuries-old tradition of sexual inequality in playing card decks that rank men above women. After much trial and error, she designed a genderless deck in which the images of kings, queens and jacks were replaced with that of gold bars, silver coins, and a bronze shield. Friends and family quickly snapped up the first 50 decks of GSB (Gold, Silver, Bronze) cards, so Mellink had more made and began selling them online. In a matter of months, she sent out around 1,500 of her politically correct card decks, mostly to folks in several European countries and the United States. Game shops have also shown interest, she said.
Ms. Mellink was actually granted a press interview, during which she remarked, “If we have this hierarchy that the king is worth more than the queen, then this subtle inequality influences people in their daily life because it’s just another way of saying, ‘hey, you’re less important.’ Even subtle inequalities like this do play a big role.”
Mellink’s invention is wonderful, but there are still so many sexist, racist, bigoted games out there in need of reform. The kids classic, “Candy Land,” proclaims itself “A sweet little game for sweet little folks!” and its box cover depicts a young girl in a dress and a young lad (who would likely be called “master” in the terminology of the time) in a spiffy school uniform type of outfit. Of course, both are white. This is not only sexist and racist, but ageist, as well. Then there is the iconic “Monopoly,” which heartlessly touts a particularly ruthless form of capitalism. Yikes! Moreover, there are a whole slate of war-based board games such as “Battleship,” “Stratego,” and “Risk,” all of them blatantly celebrating battle and an aggressive form of malignant militancy.
It is past time for these relics of a less enlightened era to be relegated to the ash heap of history. They are regressive, not progressive, and, frankly, are a danger to civilization.
Mellink’s card deck is a good start. But how about someone making a board game where, say, Heather’s two mommies try to take her to a reading by drag queens, after which she decides she wants to identify as a pan-gendered water buffalo? All along the way, obstacles in the form of bigoted right-wing Christian extremists could pop-up, and they would have to try and avoid them. Now that sounds like a board game in which no one would get bored, but everyone would get educated.