“Clue” Ditches Its Housekeeper For a Female Scientist Character

The board game did it, in the patriarchy, with the progressive careers for women.

“Clue” Ditches Its Housekeeper For a Female Scientist Character
[Photo: Flickr user Karen Borter]

It’s a big week for women in STEM careers. On Friday, four Saturday Night Live standouts step into the gender-flipped roles of scientists (and one transit worker) who bust ghosts. In between laughing at the onscreen silliness, millions of young female viewers will get the message that doing science is fun and cool and possibly the only thing that will vanquish paranormal forces in New York City. Another similar victory has already taken place this week, however, with the announcement that the board game Clue is ditching its housekeeper character for a female scientist.

Hasbro, the company behind the classic game, recently announced that this coming August, Mrs. White, the resident housekeeper, will be replaced by Dr. Orchid, a biologist bearing a Ph.D. in plant toxicology. (In the movie adaptation of Clue, Mrs. White is the “black widow” killer played memorably by Madeline Kahn, who improvised the best moment of that or any movie.) The new character is the adopted daughter of the game’s mansion-owner, Samuel Black, who just may use her knowledge of floral poisons for nefarious means. It’s the first such character change in the game’s 70-year history, and it’s for a good reason. As Slate points out, Dr. Orchid will be the only female character who has any career at all: “Mrs. Peacock is a widow and socialite; Miss Scarlet is a femme fatale with no apparent occupation, though some versions of the game describe her as an ‘aspiring actress.'”

After 70 years, it’s about time Hasbro got a clue.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. He has also written for The Awl, Rolling Stone, McSweeney's, and Salon.



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