Gender Role Guess Who

photo of guess who gender inequality picutures

Dear Hasbro,

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. 

Dear R___,

Thank you for your email. Please find below an explanation which I hope your mummy will be able to explain to you.

 Guess Who? is a guessing game based on a numerical equation.  If you take a look at the characters in the game, you will notice that there are five of any given characteristics.  The idea of the game is, that by process of elimination, you narrow down who it isn’t, thus determining who it is.  The game is not weighted in favour of any particular character, male or female.  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.

 We hope this information is of help to you.

 May we thank you for contacting Hasbro and if we can be of any further assistance, either now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us again.

 Kind Regards,


Hasbro UK Ltd

00800 22427276

These are two letters from an exchange between a six-year-old girl and a multi-million dollar corporation. The next set of letters consists of the six-year-old’s mother explaining to a corporation that this is not how you talk to a child. The corporation responds with a more suitable letter, but still doesn’t really answer the question at hand.

The question at hand is why, in the game of Guess Who, are there only five female characters and nineteen male characters? The mother, in her response to Hasbro, points out that being female is not a “characteristic” to be used as part of a “numerical equation”. Hasbro responded by simplifying their language and saying she could go online and print new characters to play with. If you can print more female characters … doesn’t that mean adding more female characters wouldn’t throw off the numeral equation?  Since you are condoning this behavior?

The bottom line is Guess Who is kind of sexist and a six-year-old pointed it out. Hasbro, a company that makes its living on educated and entertaining children, did a really terrible job explaining themselves to their target audience. I mean, “numerical equation”? I call bullshit. It’s a guessing game. There’s no numerical equation; it’s Guess Who! GUESS!

This has always been a problem and kids have always noticed it, and now, in the world of social media, it’s just heard more. Remember the little girl that freaked out in the toy aisle about all the blue toys vs. pink toys? Gender equality in kids’ toys has never existed and kids find ways around it. I played with G.I. Joes and my father’s collectible army models and an Elvis doll. My nephew? He likes to play with barbies.

The short answer to all of this is “You can’t put kid in a box or mold them to what you want them to be; they are smart and they will figure it out, and because they don’t have a filter they will call you on your shit.” Next time you play a game of Guess Who, stick it to the man and play around with gender roles. Take a shot choosing a male if you’re a girl and vice versa. Take that Hasbro! You can’t tell us who we can be!

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Do Children Really Need Best Friends in This Day and Age?

photo of sarah and nicole in 5th grade best friends

According to a recent survey in the New York Times, many educators say “nay.”

In a recent survey of three thousand Americans, all but six percent claim that they have a best, forever-undying friend. However, child psychologists and teachers are claiming that inseparable best friends often contribute to cliques and exclusivity, resulting in the exclusion of other children that may want to be involved in the whole “best friend” thing. (Which, if you’ve ever had a best friend, you’ll know that three truly is a crowd at times.)

According to Christine Laycob, who is director of counseling at St. Louis Country Day School, teachers should encourage children to break free of the best friend-to-best friend bond and experience interaction with other children:

“I think it is kids’ preference to pair up and have that one best friend. As adults — teachers and counselors — we try to encourage them not to do that. We try to talk to kids and work with them to get them to have big groups of friends and not be so possessive about friends.”

This, I can agree with. I think it’s imperative that children do associate with others outside their realm of comfort, so to speak, in order to prepare themselves for the potential onslaught of unfamiliar situations, circumstances, and ultimately, people, that will barrage them throughout their lives — unless, of course, they decide to lock themselves in a darkened bedroom for the majority of their adolescence and adult lives.

However, discouraging children from seeking that one special bond? I think it’s not only counterproductive in the child’s development, but it also dissuades children from developing a necessary attachment and dependence on another person that is also quite necessary down the road for proper social development. Why educators and “specialists” are trying so hard to detach children from their best friends is almost unthinkable; why cultivate superficial, fleeting relationships with various children in the classroom that may or may not pan out to be lifelong friendships, when there could be one or two children that would, indeed, benefit the child in a capacity of lifelong trust and assurance that there is someone there who cares enough to wonder what’s going on outside of who’s on whose team for that one killer kickball game?
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“Ball-Tapping”: A New Breed of Bullying?

photo of two men, one of which was kicked in the groin and in pain

OK. This one’s for the guys out there, and it’s something that you need to explain to me, preferably in detail. The latest craze in what some are calling “bullying” is known as the “groin-punch game” or, um, “sack-tapping.” A recent poll of 100 urologists claim that the “game” is running rampant these days and is injuring young boys and adolescents at an almost alarming rate. Thirty percent of the doctors polled claimed that they treated a young man for injuries sustained during this kind of practice, just in the past year alone.

Most recently, (and completely disturbingly) a fourteen year-old boy in Minnesota sustained an injury so severe that his right testicle had to be surgically removed. And yet … this is “just a game,” right?

Aside from examining the notions of whether or not this type of mutual game is considered bullying, I’m puzzled. What’s driving these boys to intentionally injure one another like this? Is it a hazing-type effort? Is it a “I’m going to show you that I’m bigger and badder than you” kind of thing? Is it a rite of passage? I’m thoroughly perplexed. When I was growing up, having both male and female friends, neither of the sexes ever punched me in the uterus or the breast to see how much pain I could withstand and I, in return, never abused their sex organs to see if I was the biggest bitch on the block, either. It just wasn’t done.

It’s also notable that in today’s society, most pain is considered funny or amusing. With shows like “Jackass” (a shithole of a televised concept if I’ve ever seen one), YouTube videos showing men receiving massive hits to the groin area and movies’ funniest bits depicting blunt-force trauma to a man’s genitals to be humorous, I’m thinking that it’s just kind of asinine. And clearly juvenile. While I don’t get it, and I can only assume that it might not be what many will say is “boys being boys,” but is it going far enough to claim that it’s related to bullying? And if so, is it a new brand, or do you think young men back in the eighteen-hundreds were tapping sacks left and right as well?

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