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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