Radical is the name of a Hanzi (written Chinese characters) when it is used to form other Hanzi characters. The radical “女“ (women) is always used in Hanzi that represent a subornative positive or bad natures of humanity. This game is designed for Chinese speakers to reflect on the sexism that is built into Chinese written language. It gives players an opportunity to think about existing Hanzis with fresh eyes. While players deconstruct and reconstruct existing Hanzi, they will invent new meanings for different combinations of Hanzi.
The goal of this six-person game is to win as many cards as possible by finding matches. Each player will have a chance to be the judge and win cards from other players. To avoid losing their cards, players need to think creatively when generating meanings from given cards, so their answers don’t match with others. The game ends after every player has guessed once.
This game makes “女” at the center. As one of the players said, this game forces players to “describe women using other Hanzi characters”. “女” is used as an additional character to describe subornative position, like in characters like “奴”(slave) and “妓”(prostitute). By deconstructing and reconstructing them in the game, players will try to use the other Hanzis, like “又”(again) or “支”(support) to describe women. In this process, “女” is changed from a marginalized radical that is used to characterize a patriarchal society to the center of discussion. This game allows players to think out of the box of covert sexism that marginalized “女” and women.