Toy and game company, Hasbro, has made history by creating “the first game where women make more than men.” Available on shelves right now is Ms. Monopoly, a modern update on the classic board game. Although Hasbro has marketed the game as a female-centric concept that will empower young women and girls, the game is ignorant of the underlying issues from which the gender pay gap arises and tone-deaf to the central ideas of feminism.
The box cover features Ms. Monopoly, the niece of the real-estate mogul Mr. Monopoly described as a woman who invests in female entrepreneurs.
While some traditional aspects of the game are still intact, the amount of money which players receive has changed. Females start the game with $1,900 as opposed to the $1,500 male players will begin with. Women also receive $240 each when they pass go while men still get the normal $200. Instead of buying property, players are meant to collect or invest in inventions created by women such as stem-cell isolation, bulletproof vests, and chocolate chip cookies.
Hasbro described this ignorant reconstruction as an attempt to “recognize and celebrate the many contributions women have made to our society and continue to make on a daily basis.” Calling attention to the countless inventions and advancements made possible by women throughout history is great, but a board-game cannot do anything to change the centuries-old social and economic discrimination that still persists today. To put it plainly, women do not want a head start. We want an equal playing field to begin with.
If Hasbro truly wanted to highlight women who challenged the status quo, then they should have included information cards biographizing the women behind each featured invention. But when chocolate chip cookies are the highest priced invention on the board game, Hasbro exposes their own invention as a tone-deaf and ill-executed attempt to capitalize off of vital social progress.
Making one of the most recognizable board-games female-centered is not going to inspire young girls at their dinner table. Nor will it teach them the true meaning of feminism and what it means to advocate for oneself. In fact, Ms. Monopoly takes one of the few situations where everyone involved begins at the exact same level and has the exact same chance of success, and shifts the power dynamic unfairly in favor of women. The kinds of debates that arise on game night are about who was the last person to see the TV remote not institutionalized discrimination. This game is not going to do anything to induce a meaningful conversation about gender pay disparity. To propose that giving women a head-start would, simply illustrates a larger lack of understanding indicative of society’s poor comprehension of gender discrimination.