Ima be frank. As a queer poly feminist fairly critical of the legacy of the institution of marriage and its role is the historical oppression of women–who on top of this pretty much can’t stand Jane Austen–this game is, uh, not my favorite in theme. But it’s kind of cute in game play and a lot of folks like it, so I thought we’d take a look. It performs about exactly as I would have guessed on the representation front.
For those of you unfamiliar, Marrying Mr Darcy is a card-based role game, where you try to increase your character’s stats (Wit, Beauty, Reputation, Friendliness, and Cunning) to try to snag the best husband possible. Sigh.
This is an example of a game that does not showcase any racially diverse characters, but where it arguably makes sense within the theme. All the characters in the game are the same as the characters in the source material; all of those characters are white. Now, if we could just get an equivalent number of games published in the industry based on works featuring people of all sorts of races, ethnicities, and cultures, this individual game wouldn’t be an issue at all.
A rarity in the games world, every single playable character is female! 1
In addition to the 8 playable female characters, there are 5 male Suitors (essentially victory cards sought by players).
The backs of the Character cards feature a silhouette of a woman & and the Event cards show a silhouette of a man and woman together. When people are pictured on the fronts of the even cards, overwhelming the pictures are of women. Of the 31 Event cards with people on them, less than 10% showed only men. About 42% showed only women and 48% showed men and women together.
This is awesome! No depictions of gender-diverse folks; however. Still, a stand-out and impressive:
This game is pretty much Heteronormativity(TM), The Board Game. Really not much else to say here.
The entire game is about seeking relationships, but only socially-sanctioned straight ones (regardless of your character’s actual wishes). The only option to not be forced into a straight marriage is to become an Old Maid, whereupon your chance of winning becomes pretty much luck-based:
There’s some mix of different body shapes-curvy/not curvy, slight height differences, etc. but not huge. No folks with visible impairments.
Overall, a lot of the lack of diversity in this game can be blamed on the source material. This might be why it doesn’t make me feel quite as gross as some other games. (Or maybe it’s that the whole theme already makes me feel gross, so a bit more isn’t very noticeable.) But it is cool to see a game showcasing so many women! More of this!
- It would be infinitely nicer to see this in game without such a loaded “female” theme of trying to snag a husband, however. ↩