Creepy 1960s board game for girls included shame tokens


Not that you'd expect the '60s to be remotely progressive about jobs for us lil' ladies, but "What Shall I Be: The Exciting Game Of Career Girls" was a board game about the many career opportunities young girls could dream of: You know, model, actress, stewardess, secretary, nurse and teacher.

As you can see, we'll have to worry about our posture, makeup, and being "slow thinkers:"


News of "What Shall I Be" comes from Mark Frauenfelder's roundup of five of the old days' weirdest board games, over at Offworld's parent Boing Boing. As Mark points out, look at the picture of the game 'Pie Face'. Look how excited, determined, committed that father and son are about getting whipped cream in their mother and sister's faces. It all got me thinking about "board games for girls" as a concept. Remember Dream Phone?

I remember being barely adolescent and being told, by these noisy pink plasticine game objects, that I ought to hurry up and get concerned with "which guys really like [me]!" Just look at the wild panic in the eyes of the children in the ad.

A similar dating game, about encouraging girl children to get ready for men at their door, goes all the way back to the 60's: Try to watch this ad for Milton Bradley's "Mystery Date" without getting a little creeped out at the gasping, sighing kids opening the door to tiny men (and being disappointed when he is some kind of laborer instead of an abstract tuxedo).

And who can forget Mall Madness? I abstractly remember wanting this one, actually, although in hindsight the throbbing, singular robotic command of the mall's pink beating heart (CLEARANCE AT THE SUNGLASS BOUTIQUE) is terrifying, as is the sight of children waving pretend cards and money feverishly.

Luckily things are way better for board games these days, whether that means progressive roleplaying systems, or just more gender parity among characters and women getting to have cool jobs.