Reel Girl game of the week: Scrabble

Scrabble, in some ways, is best board game ever invented, hands down.


Scrabble is fun and educational. Anyone who can read can play, yet the game naturally evolves to  meet and match ages and skill level.

Scrabble is in no way sexist, unless you believe in the bullshit that girls are verbal. That’s a  generalization fostered by training and reinforcing girls to be well-behaved, quiet bookworms, then calling it a “natural feminine” behavior. A “female” advantage, by the way, that magically vanishes when “being verbal” gains status; males dominate Nobel prize winners and great author lists.

Whether you have girls or boys or both, Scrabble will develop spelling and vocabulary. There’s just one problem my family has playing Scrabble.The game is vicious.  It’s rare to play without someone in the family crying or quitting.

Why oh why is this game so competitive? I have tried to figure out what it is about Scrabble that brings out the worst in my kids. The bad behavior happens not only in how my children treat each other but how they treat themselves. They make fun of and cut down each others words, but also they do the same thing to their own creations. Almost never do I see a one of them put out a word and feel really proud of it; more often, she feels like, somehow, she could have done better. Thus, when we play Scrabble we all feel slightly on edge and vaguely dissatisfied, until the inevitable blow up comes and the whole game is ruined.

Scrabble is a great game, but I don’t know if its worth the emotional upheaval. Nonetheless, Reel Girl rates Scrabble ***HHH***

10 thoughts on “Reel Girl game of the week: Scrabble

  1. Actually, I never played Scrabble as a kid and noticed its visciousness as an adult playing with friends. People always snapped at each other and argued over words. Even in friendlier circles there was always someone who took 15 minutes per turn and everyone elase got fed up. For some reason it’s a game that everyone takes very seriously.

  2. Oh, good, it’s not just my family that fights when we play Scrabble 😉 As a reader and writer, I particularly hate losing to my more scientifically-inclined little sister, though of course as an adult I don’t storm off in tears anymore.

    • HI Nicola,

      Someone wrote a great comment on Reel Girl’s FB page about how the way its designed, the point system, makes players feel frustrated and inadequate and like great words are stolen away…she also does not like Scrabble though and I do but what she wrote is true.


      • No where does the box say Scrabble Pink is for girls! NO WHERE.

        A little research by Nan-Yi or Margo and they would have learned that pink Scrabble was introduced in 2006/2007 the purpose being “[Scrabble] a much loved favorite the traditional game has gone pink in the hope of raising awareness of breast cancer as well as gaining much needed funds for on-going research.” But as usual Margo fires first without ever taking time to ask any questions.

        As to this comment from the main blog post, “Almost never do I see a one of them put out a word and feel really proud of it; more often, she feels like, somehow, she could have done better.” Obviously, they feel a lack of pride, and a belief that they aren’t doing their best, for a reason. Look in the mirror and I think you shall find the answer.

        • The Amazon description says, “All the fashionable game pieces are designed with a woman in mind”. Whether or not Pink Scrabble was designed to raise awareness of breast cancer (a disease that can affect men as well as women), it’s still being marketed to women and treated as a special “feminine” edition.

        • ooooh Ted, that hurts, I am such a bad mom! as far as breast cancer-pink, much has been written about this, brilliantly by Peggy Orenstein

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