In a landmark case of jumping on the women-are-people-too bandwagon, toymaker Hasbro is rolling out a trendy version of the iconic board game, Monopoly, that penalizes male players from the first roll of the dice. It’s catchily called Ms. Monopoly, and despite it seeming to be such an SJW themed tool to empower the fairer sex, feminists are none too happy about the latest attempt to “empower” Hasbro’s bottom line.
The box nearly shouts the message: “The first game where women make more than men,” and features not the chubby monocle sporting banker now relegated to the background, but instead, an attractive, young, well-dressed gal with one hand on a hip and the other holding a to-go coffee.
A quick description on Target’s website touts the “fun” new tokens – a notebook, jet, glass, and barbell. “The game celebrates women inventors as players move around the board collecting iconic things that wouldn’t exist without women. WIFI, chocolate chip cookies, bulletproof vests, and the list goes on!” Two out of three isn’t bad as claims go but, let’s give the WiFi credit Dr. John O’Sullivan – just to be factual.
And then fun abruptly takes a twisted turn onto an anti-feminist path. The revised ground rules are a true trophy generation inspired masterpiece, which is sparking a bit of squabbling:
- Female players get a starting bank of $1,900 compared with $1,500 for male players.
- Girls also get $240 each time they pass “Go” on the board, while boys get just $200.
- Instead of acquiring property, the winner will have invested in female entrepreneurs.
Basically, the good folks at Hasbro have a taken a game where everyone started equal and then scratched and clawed their way to board domination and replaced it with handicapping male players to level the playing field. Where does that incentivize women to just kick ass normally? Women don’t need a step up in original Monopoly. And exactly what does this teach the typical 10-year old boy or girl?
Amy Peng, associate professor in the department of economics at Ryerson University, believes this sends a derogatory message: “Are you doing this because you think women are not as productive as men and need to be overcompensated?”
Christine Sypnowich, feminist scholar and head of the philosophy department at Queens College, hammered the same point: “It’s unhelpful to portray women as needing special advantages. What women need is to be treated as equals with respect.”
Of course, the female spokesperson from Hasbro did not yield to criticism from academia:
“We believe this game and its content embody a positive message about female empowerment that we hope is embraced by a wide variety of audiences.”
A “wide variety of audiences” that will shell out $20 for a passing fancy from a corporation that has seven men but just one woman in executive management: Gaming the system in real-time, but not solving their own gender wage gap hypocrisy.
A senior economist at the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute, Elise Gould, put it rather bluntly, “They can take a hard look at their own personnel issues and use that as an example for the real world as opposed to the game world.”
It’s Just So Ironic
It was dubbed The Landlord’s Game by feminist, comedienne, and inventor Lizzie Magie, and received a patent in 1904. Historians now credit Lizzie Magie for the invention of Monopoly, but apparently, she never passed “Go” or collected $200. For the better part of eight decades, the kudos were bestowed upon one opportunistic man, Charles Darrow, who hijacked The Landlord’s Game after observing the local Quaker contingency in Atlantic City, NJ, spend hours attempting to stay of jail, purchase railroads, and avoid taxes – all on a piece of wood using tokens and trinkets and fake paper money.
Darrow tinkered and toyed with different versions and materials and was successful in selling Monopoly to Parker Bros. during the Great Depression – becoming the first millionaire game creator in history.
Now that is just sad. Not so much for Darrow and his descendants, but heck, Magie isn’t credited anywhere on Hasbro’s website or the game itself. So much for Ms. Monopoly.
Now, this writer is a capitalist-loving, free-market kind of gal, but the hypocrisy from Hasbro in this instance is too much to leave alone. Telling women they must be given freebies to be competitive while not acknowledging the woman who invented the game over a century ago is no way to win in the game of equality. Lord help us when the creative folks at Milton Bradley mess with gender fluidity in the Game of Life.
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