In 2019, Hasbro announced it was introducing Ms. Monopoly, “the first-ever game in the Monopoly franchise that celebrates women trailblazers.” It sounded like a great idea on paper, but one year on, people are still pissed off about the misplaced feminism of this female-centric spinoff.
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Ms. Monopoly was created to “spotlight women who have challenged the status quo.” Hasbro’s commercial for the game profiles several young female inventors and entrepreneurs and surprises them with over $20K to “fuel their inventive spirit and further their projects.” It looks (and sounds) incredibly heart-warming, but on closer inspection, the game is incredibly problematic.
In Ms. Monopoly, “women get a higher payout at the start of the game and more money when passing go.” Then there’s the cringeworthy player tokens – the OG shoe, dog and boat have been replaced with a wine glass and what appears to be a jewelled watch. Not only is the game a harsh reminder of the pay inequality working women face on a daily basis, but it just reinforces the tired gender stereotype that females only care about materialistic objects like fine wine and expensive jewellery.
Even Ms. Monopoly herself is a cause for concern. According to Hasbro, she’s the niece of Mr. Monopoly AKA Rich Uncle Pennybags. While the game states she’s a “self-made investment guru,” Twitter users pointed out that she’s also the heir to her wealthy uncle who, in real life, would’ve more than likely given her the capital to start up her business.
Perhaps the most problematic part of Ms. Monopoly is Hasbro’s complete disregard of the fact that Monopoly was originally derived from The Landlord’s Game, a board game designed by a woman named Lizzie Magie in 1903.
According to various reports, Charles Darrow has been widely credited as the inventor of Monopoly but actually copied Magie’s idea and sold it to the Parker Brothers, which later became a Hasbro brand. Darrow became incredibly wealth, but Magie – who sold her patent to The Parker Brothers – got a measly $500 and disappeared into obscurity. Ironically, The Landlord’s Game was all about being anti-monopolist.
The outrage against Ms. Monopoly is just further proof that consumers have wisened up and this kind of performative equality and virtue signalling comes across as incredibly insincere and greedy.
It also begs the bigger question: what was so toxic and masculine about the original Monopoly? As the age old saying goes, just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you should.
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