A few days later Cassie saw the game and asked to play it. I showed her the board and the dice, and explained how we pretend to be the Justice League, defending the Watchtower from bad guys.
She was way into the idea. She’s seen all the episodes of Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited. She knows the Watchtower and can name almost everyone even in the extended league. She’s especially interested in the women of the league. As those of you who read the blog regularly know, she has made costumes for many of them, including Wonder Woman, Hawkgirl, Batgirl (who isn’t in the JL, but Cassie says she should be), and even some of the villains like Catwoman and Harley Quinn.
But sure enough, we opened up the game to find four player heroes to choose from, and at least two dozen villains, and not a female in sight.
“What girl can I be?” Cassie asked, digging through the game pieces.
“I don’t think there are any girls, sweetie,” I said, anger building in me. Cause really, DC & Wonder Forge? WTF? You know it’s 2014, right?
Cassie put down the game pieces. “I don’t want to play this, then.” She turned and moved to leave the room, and it broke my heart.
This is how we lose girls in genre, comics, and gaming
Not to mention POC
But for all that, Cassie loves it and wants play every chance she gets. And this is why I am so pissed about the whole “no girls” thing. In addition to illustrating how they remain creatively stuck in the 60′s, DC is leaving money on the table by continuing to make their merchandise exclusive to boys.
And they are exclusive. I know many would argue that a kid should be able to handle playing a character that’s not their own gender sometimes. I agree! But why should that mean only the girls have to suffer that?
Because sure. Cassie could have played the game as Green Lantern, or the Flash, or whatever. But that’s all she would have been doing. Playing a game.
When you’re a kid, playing a game is only part of the experience. The game is a gateway into imagining that you are a superhero, fighting off villains as they try to destroy the Watchtower. It is that imagination that makes a crappy board game fun.
Don’t believe me? The first time we played, Cassie picked Hawkgirl. Then, as I was setting up the board, she ran from the room. A few minutes later she returned in her full Hawkgirl costume. Mask and mace and utility belt. Even the shoes.
She played the entire game in costume. Never took the mask off once, even as we drank and snacked and played for hours. I had to address her as Hawkgirl, and she would only call me Flash. She’s a method actor.
Today we played again. Cass picked Wonder Woman to be, and ran out, returning in her Wonder Woman costume and staying in character the whole time.