King toppled from throne by gender-neutral card deck
Published: Jan 20, 2021 07:13 PM

People play a game of poker with oversized cards while seated in a wading pool to escape the heat in Southwest China's Chongqing on Sunday. Photo: VCG

A Dutch card fan was explaining a game to her cousins when she asked herself: Why should a king be worth more than a queen?

The 23-year-old graduate, Indy Mellink, decided it was time to break with the centuries-old tradition of sexual inequality in playing card decks that rank men above women.

"If we have this hierarchy that the king is worth more than the queen then this subtle inequality influences people in their daily life because it's just another way of saying 'Hey, you're less important,'" she said in an interview. "Even subtle inequalities like this do play a big role."

After a lot of trial and error, she designed a genderless deck in which the images of a king, queen and jack were replaced with gold, silver and bronze.

Mellink has been testing the cards out on players, who said they had never been conscious of sexual inequality in decks before. Switching would take some getting used to.

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