Miss Popularity relies on a series of clichés and politically incorrect attitudes towards young women that today seem overtly sexist and cringe-worthy. But, these attitudes permeated and defined popular culture when Transogram released the game in 1961.
On its surface, Miss Popularity is a traditional item-collection game. Players – presumably pre-teen and teenage girls – compete to become the most popular by collecting cards, accruing points, and earning money. Success is all about appearance. As the game progresses, each player tracks her score using a Miss Popularity Bulletin Board, complete with heart-shaped scoring pegs. Points are awarded for attributes like having beautiful legs, winning The Most Attractive Teen contest, and attending modeling school. Points are deducted for such transgressions as “neglecting your personal appearance.”
A key aspect of the game’s initial appeal was the inclusion of a pocket-sized, plastic Princess telephone. Ads from the day touted Miss Popularity as the game that “featured every girl’s favorite gadget – the telephone!” When instructed by a card, players dial one of five options: girls, boys, home, a judge, or misc. The phone automatically provides one of four random answers (yes, no, maybe, or busy) to such pressing questions as: does the player have a “nice figure” or, does one of the game’s four judges like her “type.”
The prize for becoming the most popular? The shiny “loving” cup of course!
Transogram’s True American Teen Game remained on store shelves for over 5 years, before disappearing in the late 1960s.
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