OEGSTGEEST(NETHERLANDS) – A 23 year-old Dutch card fan has reinvented the playing card decks by breaking centuries-old tradition.Indy Mellink a forensic psychology graduate, encouraged by her father, decided to create a gender-neutral playing cards.
“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, the images of a king, queen and jack were replaced with gold, silver and bronze.
The cards were a hit amongst friends and family. They bought the first 50 decks of GSB (Gold, Silver, Bronze) cards, which have images of gold bars, silver coins and a bronze shield after which Mellink made more of them and began selling them online.
Within a few months, she had sent out around 1,500 packs, including to Belgium, Germany, France and the United States. Game shops have also shown interest, she said.
Switching to the GSB cards from traditional cards would take time as Mellink found that most players were never conscious of sexual inequality in decks before.
“It is good that we reflect on gender neutrality,” said Berit van Dobbenburgh, head of the Dutch Bridge Association, while playing with the new cards. It would be complicated to make a formal switch because that would require updating the rules, she said.
“I wonder if it’s worth it. But gender neutrality, I am all for it! It’s great that someone of this age has noticed this. It’s the new generation.”