The classic Monopoly game lets players collect $200 when they pass “Go.” Under the rules of Ms. Monopoly, male players will still get the usual $200, but women will receive $240, reversing the real-life pay gap between men and women in the workplace.
Where can I begin with this? Well, I feel that I must open by saying that I didn’t really want to talk about Ms. Monopoly at all. I didn’t really want to add a few more drops of combustible fossil fuel to the fires of outrage that have no doubt swept across socal media, leaving charred remains behind.
But it’s just such a dumb, unhelpful concept to come out of Hasbro’s offices.
First of all though, let’s look at the positive elements of Ms. Monopoly. As per all special editions of the classic property-trading board game, the standard board has been shaken up with different things to buy.
“From inventions like WiFi to chocolate chip cookies, solar heating and modern shapewear, Ms. Monopoly celebrates everything from scientific advancements to everyday accessories — all created by women,” Hasbro said in a news release on Tuesday.
I mean, okay – why not? At least women AND men can potentially learn something here. For example, I didn’t know that the likes of WiFi and solar heating were invented by women. It’s always good to be more informed.
Secondly, as part of the game’s launch, Hasbro donated the total sum of £16,668 ($20,580) to three young female inventors of the future who already have some great inventions in the pipeline that would certainly benefit us all.
- Sophia Wang (16) from Connecticut, USA – invented a device that can pre-emptively detect sinkholes. The device is apparently already 93% complete.
- Gitanjali Rao (13) from Denver, USA – put together an invention to test drinking water for lead, to be used by individuals for instant results.
- Ava Canney (16) from Ireland – invented a spectrometer that measures the levels of dye in sweets and soft drinks.
Excellent. Brilliant. Fantastic.
So it’s too bad that these undeniably positive bits, of what should have been another Monopoly special edition, have been wrapped up in such a badly-executed package that also aims to land a seat on a feminist train destined for Pay Gap City. I have no problem with feminism as long as it doesn’t cross that line and start wearing camo-print attire. I have no doubt that some hardcore feminists would see that as toxic masculinity and say, “huh, you’re ACTING like you support feminism but only as long as it stays within your pre-conceived boundaries.”
Tough. Deal with it. As far as I am concerned, toxic feminism needs checking just as much as toxic masculinity. Isn’t the whole point to strive towards equality?
And that’s where Ms. Monopoly’s $40 per-tour-of-the-board advantage in the favour of women torpedoes the entire product’s credibility. The playing field hasn’t been levelled nor has equality been achieved. In fact, a gender advantage has been handed out and the realm of double-standards breached. Isn’t it ironic to be accepting the kinds of advantages that you have been (rightfully) rallying against for so many years? These kind of things simply don’t help the cause and only serve to aggravate anybody with common sense.
Because I don’t recall the classic version of Monopoly being weighted in the favour of men. Unless I missed the edition where women are only entitled to 160 bucks for passing “Go” and must play the game in their underwear for the viewing pleasure of the male participants.
But, as a man, am I outraged about the existence of Ms. Monopoly? No. It’s just a stupid product that doesn’t contribute anything to the end goal of equality. The other important thing to remember is that products like this are devised by companies BECAUSE they will generate news items and explosive Twitter debates. Hasbro couldn’t ask for better publicity or for a more effective marketing campaign that needs little financial input on their part. All they had to do was drop a few press releases and images, sit back in the boardroom and watch the internet light up. In short, to get worked-up about products like this is to play directly into corporate hands – irresponsible corporate hands who are going to make a lot of money out of dividing our society just a little more as some of us fall into the Us vs Them trap. Granted, it’s mostly the extreme fringes that engage in virtual slanging matches but it’s also the extreme fringe types that shout the loudest and give positive causes bad names.
As already outlined, Ms. Monopoly does have some good stuff going for it but I see Hasbro and their savvy marketing.
My final thoughts are going to be on the game of Monopoly in general. I’ve long since found it incredibly strange that we enjoy playing this game. It’s a game based on the very same capitalist greed and social oppression that most of us absolutely resent and moan about on a daily basis. We’ve all been there: clinging onto a few low-tier properties, desperately hanging on to our last few bank notes while one player crushes us all with streets loaded with hotels. Perhaps you’ve also played with variations on the official rules where players can take out bank loans to stave off Game Over.
Sounds familiar, right? Like coming home from a long, tiring day at a minimum-wage job where you’ve been bitched at by men in suits who drive big cars and ensure that they stay at the top and grind everybody below them into dust in order to save a few pennies or squeeze an extra few cents out of the profit margin. Paying taxes and running the rat race just to keep the debt collectors at bay and food in your family’s mouths. Trying not to lose vital sleep over credit card statements or loan repayments.
Monopoly as a game is fun while everybody is on a level playing field. As soon as one player gains that significant advantage though, the fun stops. Neither Monopoly or its real-life counterpart discriminate based on gender. Both men and women feel the squeeze as those at the top live the high life and The System locks millions into a thankless machine of servitude. Many will escape of course, through hard work or being in the right place at the right time but, through pure circumstance, a vastly larger number won’t.
I guess we must be a masochistic race; playing a ‘fun’ board game based on our own suffering…for entertainment. Perhaps it is best not to over-think these things!
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