Gender-neutral poker cards spark outrage

Jon Pill
Posted on: January 25, 2021 06:00 PST

Indy Mellink caused a stir in the poker world by designing and distributing 1,500 decks of "gender-neutral" cards. The cards use gold, silver, and bronze to replace the kings, queens, and jacks of a traditional deck.

Concern over card rankings is a little over-earnest. And fully designing a new deck of the best poker playing cards is over-earnest to the point of mockability. Many people have responded by ribbing Mellink for her idea. But what must have caught her off-guard was the number of people who were furious that her product even existed.

Deeply-triggered men took to Twitter in droves to say things like: " What absolute shithousery this is," "Someone just take me out the back and shoot me now. Please," and "Just make your own damn card game at this point.... Also what's the issue? That there is a queen and king in it? Realy [sic]? That's where we are now?"

The cycle

The attempts towards some kind of woke culture are, like political correctness before it, part of a clumsy process that can easily fall prey to overreach and mob mentality. But it is fundamentally well-meaning. Society is just making its best moves to be more thoughtful, inclusive, and kind.

A policeman now calls himself a police officer. A non-fiction writer alternates the gender of her example characters. The singular "they" is enjoying another resurgence. Language is a work in progress and we'll most likely be negotiating this balance for as long as sex and gender are part of the minds and bodies of our species.

It isn't like Mellink is wrong. Card rankings are a small reminder that men have traditionally been valued more than women. But gender-neutral playing cards are interesting only in so far as they remind us of that sexism. After that their job is done. They are more concept art than a viable alternative to the traditional deck.

Even in the Netherlands, one of the few countries that still has an actual king, the worries about this matter are somewhat limited. How limited can be seen at the bridge club toward the end of the Reuters video below.

In the final analysis, most of us would probably rather just crack open a pack of small-index Copags for our home games.

But if you are terrified that a Dutch student is going to make you fold your kings and replace them with pocket golds, then I have some calming news for you: no one's coming for your traditional deck.


Featured image source: Twitter