Today’s board game lesson is brought to you by the sexist 60’s.
“What Shall I be? The Exciting Career Game for Girls” arrived in 1966, and “What Shall I be? The Exciting Career Game for Boys” arrived in 1968, both courtesy of Selchow & Righter. Let’s dive in.
The premise of both games is that you go around the game board collecting School Cards, Subject Cards, and Personality Cards of a profession you want to be, and the first player to get all matching ones in a profession becomes it and wins.
Here’s the breakdown of what the girls can aspire to be versus what the boys can be:
College – Teacher
Airline Training School – Airline Hostess
Drama School – Actress
Nursing School – Nurse
Charm School – Model
Ballet School – Ballet Dancer
Law School – Statesman
Graduate School – Scientist
College – Athlete
Medical School – Doctor
Technical School – Engineer
Flight School – Astronaut
I know what you think I’m gonna say. That this is sexist and wrong and teaching girls at a young age that they are limited to a very narrow professional world and shatter-proofing the glass ceiling. WRONG. I mean for starters I don’t see an option for Beauty School Dropout, Junkie Whore, Unwed Mother, or Pole Dancer. Just like I see no option for the boys to become Deadbeat Dads, Lifelong Inmates, Gigolos, or Male Strippers.
Seriously though, the mere fact that there ARE separate boys and girls career games is sad and disappointing. And then we wonder why women aren’t getting into STEM careers and why men can feel shame about being a nurse or a dancer. To make matters worse, let’s get into the even more offensive aspect of the game: “Personality Cards.”
When you land on a space within a school that lets you draw a Personality Card, you have to hope it aligns with your future profession. They look like this:
In case you can’t see them clearly, here’s a close-up:
I bet you think you know what I’m gonna say again. WRONG. My biggest complaint is that being overweight isn’t a personality. Nor is this heart-shaped thing a card. It’s a token. Let’s get our component terms correct.
Seriously though, if the game weren’t bad enough for dictating a divide between gender and career, let’s add some fat-shaming. And some affirmation that being pretty is essential for a given profession, or that “getting too excited” or “emotional” preclude you from things. And what the hell is a “slow thinker” anyway? I think my personal favorite might be the “You are not considerate” card because it perfectly describes these games.