Dear Hasbro, my six year old has feedback for you

June 26, 2013

A little over a week ago Anabelle and her Dad were playing Guess Who?, that game where you select a character and try to guess the other players chosen character through elimination.

Picture of Guess Who?

Picture of Guess Who?


Anabelle noticed that there were only 5 ‘female’ characters in comparison to the 19 ‘male’ characters*.


So she wrote a letter and we did a little youtube video and we sent them the link.



Here is her letter.

Anabelle's letter to Hasbro

Anabelle’s letter to Hasbro















Here was their response:


Thank you for taking the time to send us your video and your feedback on Guess Who.

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 characteristic; eg. gender, skin colour, hat, eye colour, hair colour and glasses.

In the latest version of Guess Who there are 24 characters:

5 are girls, 19 are boys

5 wear hats, 19 don’t

5 have blue eyes, 19 don’t

5 have darker skin colour, 19 don’t

5 wear glasses, 19 don’t

5 have white hair, 19 don’t

5 have blond hair, 19 don’t

5 are bald, 19 aren’t

5 have beards, 19 don’t

5 have big lips, 19 don’t

5 have big noses, 19 don’t

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 but because gender is the most obvious characteristic people often think it is.  While there are less females, there are also less characters with white hair and less characters with big lips… so, if the first question asks does your character have white hair then it can also wipe out a lot of people straight away.

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 – which is why they use many different characteristics not just gender. Encouraging children to ask questions around some of the other characteristics and not just gender may help with their game play.

If you would like to vary the game play, there are different character sheets available to print out.  Please click on the following link to access these:

I hope this has been of some help.

Kind regards




Now, firstly I was pleased they wrote back and that their response was a detailed explanation of their reasoning. But I still think they got it wrong:


Hi there

Thank you for you lengthy and considered response. I have to disagree.

My experience from watching my daughters play the game is that they always want to choose a girl as their character as that’s how they self-identify.

The problem then becomes that they are eliminated really quickly as there are only five female characters in the game. Their enthusiasm to play quickly dwindles.

I like the approach of encouraging children to investigate other characteristics. But gender, in particular, to me is important to represent equally.

I still encourage you to rethink your formula. Otherwise girls (and people with non-white skin colour) will see themselves as reflected as minorities in the the game. We can debate the race factor in terms of it’s representation because that varies from country to country, but one think we do know is that women are always half of the population*.

Alternatively, I challenge you to have the standard character sheet that comes with the game to be weighted 19 girls and 5 boys. However I suspect that would be less likely to be approved, perhaps for fear of alienating the potential players who are boys. Please don’t continue to think it’s ok to alienate my daughters, which is what you are doing.

Kind regards,

(Anabelle’s Mum)

*of course this doesn’t include folk who identify in non-gender binary ways.



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