We met two fabulous Essex girls at Semple Secrets, writer and lecturer Syd Moore and artist Heidi Wigmore, who recently launched their tongue-in-cheek card game of Super Strumps (like Top Trumps but with boobs and attitude) at the Women of the World forum in London. The ladies were both a little tired of the stereotypical view of others on being Essex Girls, and being quite brainy they decided to explore other female stereotypes to see if there was anything that could be done to address some rather dated and cliched views on women.
They discovered over 250 regularly used stereotypical descriptions of women (only 20 for men, interestingly) including Yummy Mummy, Fish Wife, Drama Queen, Bimbo and many others. As Syd said, stereotypes follow us around and can pigeon hole us in an annoyingly narrow way and being an Essex Girl has many qualities to celebrate, including being glamourous, sociable and sexually liberated.
So they invented Super Strumps the card game, to celebrate women, each stereo type is given a 'special power' , Career Woman can 'penetrate glass ceilings', the Grande Dame can 'summon armies', the fishwife can 'destroy with one word' and the Essex girl is 'invulnerable to cold'. Points are given for Nurture, Strength, Independence and Resourcefulness, and the idea of the game is to collect women with the highest points for each section.
The aim of the game is to have a laugh, with much discussion and debate along the way about how much control we have over how we are perceived. But interestingly, Syd said when they invented the game, they brainstormed the point system with a huge group of women of assorted ages and it was the older role models that everyone wanted to give the highest points to. Age, experience, strength of character, independence and knowledge were all seen to be wonderful qualities that older women possessed, with the Old Biddy card getting top marks for strength, independence and resourcefulness, well above the It Girl or the Yummy Mummy. Syd thinks that today's younger women are desperate for role models from the older generation because they expect to be busy and working well into their dotage, and want good examples to look up to.
All good stuff. Super Strumps has a website which will soon be selling the game at £7.99. Which stereotype do you think you are?