Hasbro

In 'Ms. Monopoly' Women Earn More Than Men — Even Feminists Are Raising An Eyebrow

Amy Pilkington 11 Sep 2019

Congratulations, Hasbro! You've somehow managed to unite both feminists and the MRA against a single product.

Good job. Have a cookie. Now go sit in the corner and think about what you've done.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here.

Yesterday, Hasbro announced the release of 'Ms. Monopoly,' which is the latest of a long history of Monopoly re-skins.

What makes this more notable than the latest edition of Horse-opoly or Disney Villains Monopoly, is that it also features a whole new character in the Pennybags family.

Rich Uncle Pennybags, or Mr. Monopoly, now has a niece: Ms. Monopoly.

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While one can quibble about specific choices made in Ms. Monopoly's look — the (not) Starbucks cup makes me twitchy — the actual idea isn't bad.

We can all agree that Mr. Monopoly is kind of out of date and it's cool to see a game about money and property have a female face on the cover.

In addition, the game is meant to highlight all the incredible inventions women have been responsible for throughout history, promoting the idea of STEM being a place girls can thrive.

This is good. In a crowded Monopoly shelf, one that gives female creators a spotlight is awesome.

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But too bad they ruined it with the money thing...

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In case you couldn't read the text on the picture of the box above, it touts itself as: "The first game where women make more than men." Because somehow, they wanted to make a game of Monopoly with your relatives even more volatile...

The senior director of global brand strategy and marketing for Hasbro Gaming, Jen Boswinkel, told USA Today that they wanted to highlight a subject modern kids may not know about yet.

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We can quibble about whether the wage gap is real or not, but you know where there's never been a wage gap? MONOPOLY.

Giphy | HISTORY UK

Boswinkel said:

"With all of the things surrounding female empowerment, it felt right to bring this to Monopoly in a fresh new way. It’s giving the topic some relevancy to everyone playing it that everybody gets a turn, and this time women get an advantage at the start."

This time? Last time I checked, this is the first time a specific gender has been singled out in an edition of the board game. (Not to mention how it perpetuates the idea of gender being binary.)

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How do they expect this conversation starter to go?

"Mommy, how come you got more money than me when you passed Go?"

"Well, Bobby, because throughout history men have made an average of 15% more in salary than women have. It's important to change that so that everyone makes a equal wage for equal work, regardless of gender."

"But then why do you get more?"

"Because this game is stupid, Bobby."

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Maybe they decided to give the game such obvious bait for ridicule so that people wouldn't notice its more egregious mistake.

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For a game dedicated to highlighting inventions by women, such as chocolate chip cookies and bulletproof vests, it completely ignores the fact that the game was originally invented by a woman: Lizzie Magie.

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She patented it in 1904, but it failed to sell until 30 years later when Charles Darrow repackaged it and sold it to Parker Brothers as Monopoly.

Twitter | @JMaliaMiranda

When called out for not mentioning Magie, a Hasbro spokesperson hedged:

"The Monopoly game as we know it was invented by Charles Darrow, who sold his idea to Parker Brothers in 1935. However, there have been a number of popular property-trading games throughout history.

"Elizabeth Magie — a writer, inventor and feminist — was one of the pioneers of land-grabbing games. In 1904, she received a patent for the Landlord’s Game, which was meant to educate people about the dangers of wealth concentration."

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When trying to tout your new product as highlighting the many women who have invented things and were overlooked, maybe start with your own folly.

Twitter | @Frankenfarts

Much like how decades of players have missed the point that the economic system illustrated in The Landlord's Game and then marketed in Monopoly is broken, whatever message Hasbro is trying to send with Ms. Monopoly is, at best, muddled.

And either way, the game still ends when someone flips the board.

h/t: The LA Times_, USA Today

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