Toy company Hasbro has just released a ‘feminist’ version of the classic Monopoly boardgame, but it’s not as empowering as they’d like to think.
Officially titled Ms. Monopoly, the updated game strays far from the original game’s concept. Classic monopoly is a strategy game that centers on the real-estate business model; where players win if they intelligently invest in property. Ms. Monopoly removes the strategic gameplay and instead gives players the choice to invest in women’s inventions, including ladies’ shapewear and chocolate-chip cookies.
Brand strategists at Hasbro claim that the game was created to celebrate women’s empowerment and “teach children about the gender pay gap.” Ms. Monopoly attempts to accomplish that by giving women players a disproportionate advantage to the male players before the game begins. Women start out with $1,900, and men with $1,500. The gap only widens throughout the game, with women collecting $40 more than men each time they make a lap around the board.
The problem here is that the game fails to realistically address the solution to the prevailing gender pay gap. Giving women more money than men may solve the pay disparity against women, but it creates another where men are now compensated unfairly. That entirely contradicts the fair demand for equal pay.
By giving women players an advantage over men throughout the game, Ms. Monopoly inadvertently perpetuates the myth that feminism is centered around an anti-men mentality, rather than a true desire for equality of the sexes. Women don’t necessarily want to be ahead of men, we want to be equal to them. This is particularly important in the business and entrepreneurship field, where women face serious gender discrimination on a daily basis.
One good thing came of Ms. Monopoly. Following the premise of the game, Hasbro invested approximately $20,580 into products by young women inventors and entrepreneurs. The young women, all in their teens, share a common goal to help others across the globe. The money was given to three inventors: 16-year-old Sophia Wang who built a device that detects sinkholes, 16-year-old Ava Canney who invented a spectrometer that measures the amount of additives in candy and soda, and 13-year-old Gitanjali Rao who created a device that detects lead in drinking water.