Good news, everyone: there's a new young lady hero to add to our "under ten years old and killing it" list. Honestly, what is with these little dynamos — they're starting to make me feel pretty bad. I didn't even regularly brush my hair until I was fifteen years old and these girls are ruling the world. Seriously, ladies, relax. (JK, never stop.)
This time, it's in the name of of kids' game gender equality! A six-year-old girl wrote Hasbro to let them know they only have bros (HIGH FIVE!) in their game, Guess Who. You know, the game that's like memory but all the characters have googly eyes, dodgy mustaches, and bad toupees? Well, guess who's not in the game? Women. Actually, no, that's not fair, there are five girls and nineteen boys. Five girls and nineteen boys.
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, completely not getting it, writes back:
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.
Thanks, Mr. ASK HASBRO! That was a totally excellent and not at all bullshit response to give a five year old. Thankfully, her fantastic mom agreed that it was wack and wrote Hasbro back:
Thanks for your prompt reply to R__. She has been anxiously watching the post box and checking with me to see if there has been a response to her email, which — I'm sure you understand — it was a very big deal to her to write.
Unfortunately, she is now no clearer as to why there are only five female characters for her to choose from in her favourite board game, compared to the 19 male characters her brother can pick. (Obviously, she could choose to be a male character, but as you know, that's not usually how children work).
If anything, your response has left her more confused than before. She is a smart girl, but she is only 6 and still in senior infants at primary school [Ed.: I think that's Hogwarts for kindergarten, maybe?], so she is a long way from being able to grasp concepts like numerical equations and weighting.
As a company that makes toys for children, I would have anticipated you would communicate with your youngest customers in a more direct and child-friendly way.
But I must confess that, despite being 37 years of age and educated to Masters level, I am equally at a loss.
Why is female gender regarded as a "characteristic", while male gender is not?
I love this mom! Can she adopt me?
To their credit, Hasbro wrote back again, this time less obnoxiously explaining, "we agree that girls are equally as important as boys and want both boys and girls to have fun playing our games," and "we love your suggestion of adding more female characters to the game and we are certainly considering it for the future." They also sent a link to print out additional game pieces that have equal numbers of male and female characters.
Of course, they end with a super passive (?) aggressive, "We hope your mum does not throw out your Guess Who game!" Dang, Hasbro. Don't try to make this about you, okay? This isn't about you. Just take the feedback and roll with it — it's good feedback. Most importantly, hopefully they are doing more than "considering" more female characters for the future. This is mainly because I remember that game being hella fun and I want to buy it to play with my niece the second it's more girl-friendly.
Hasbro knows all about selling to kids - and nothing much about talking to them [Jennifer O'Connell]