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Newest Monopoly Board Game Promoting Sexual Inequality

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Hasbro’s newest monopoly board game has been announced in the last week and it has a very special theme, that has already raised some controversy. What’s all the fuss about and what do I think of it?

Power of Women and Ms. Monopoly

Ms. Monopoly is a monopoly game just like any other, but with a few twists. It promotes the idea that women are equal to men and that they can accomplish anything they set their mind to it

The invention of monopoly is a sex discrimination story in its own: a female called Lizzie Magie sold the patent to Parker in 1935, but never really capitalized on it – it was Charles Darrow who got all the credit, allegedly copying one of her versions of the game.

The properties are repainted to resemble the theme – they represent the greatest female inventions and include the likes of: stem-cell isolation, chocolate chip cookies, wi-fi, home security system, modern shapewear, retractable dog leash, paper shopping bag, hairbrush, coffee filter, space station batteries, edgeless beauty sponge, windshield wipers, fire escape, DNA model, life raft, bulletproof vest and others.

Inventions are nicely implemented and are explained in more detail on property cards. There are a few occasions where they could be better arranged (chocolate chips cookies and stem-cell isolation are on the most expensive tiles and don’t really relate to each other much; hairbrush, coffee filter and space station batteries on orange are another example), but most of the time they are relevant and relatable.

Ckeck out the hilarious “review” of Ms. Monopoly by Jimmy Kimmel:

Women Make More Money than Men

Now we come to the part, where the real controversy begins. In Ms. Monopoly, women start with $1900 and collect $240 each time they pass go, while their male compatriots start with $1500 and collect $200.

I am not sure what Hasbro meant to achieve with this, but it’s definitely not sending across the right message – message of equality and equal chances for both sexes. I assume it’s another one of those modern reverse-sexism moves, where women are treated favorably to give a marketing impression that the company is not sexist.

Such treatment, in my opinion, is just as harmful to women as sexual discrimination – in fact it is sexual discrimination. Giving beneficial treatment to women, it sends a message that females can’t succeed if they start on the same level as men and are therefore inferior. That’s certainly not gender equality.

Formula W

I noticed two more examples of so called reverse-sexism happened this year.

2019 was the inaugural season of an all-female single-seater racing championship, called formula W. 22 female drivers from around the globe were selected to take part in a six race season. Live coverage available on Channel 4 in UK got the series quite a big media coverage. Jamie Chadwick won the championship in the end.

Yes, motorsport is a predominately male sports, but that does not mean women are not allowed in it and that they cannot succeed in it. Just remember Danica Patrick, a well-known American racer. But giving them a series is like saying: “We know you can’t make it in the world of motorsports on your own, so we’ll make a series just for you.”

Pippa Mann, British Indycar driver shared her thoughts on the subject on Twitter: “What a sad day for motorsport. Those with funding to help female racers are choosing to segregate them as opposed to supporting them. I am deeply disappointed to see such a historic step backwards take place in my lifetime.”

I believe a better way to endorse women in motorsports would be to sponsor someone talented (like Jamie Chadwick) and give them a seat in F3 or GP2, and to really see how they stack against others of the similar talent, instead of finding a dozen drivers of dubious talent and giving them a seat in series on the sole merit that they are female.

UEFA Supercup

On 14th of August UEFA Super Cup match took place in Istanbul. Super Cup is half competitive, half exhibition match that takes place preseason. It was a clash between Liverpool and Chelsea, and it was a pretty entertaining match. Liverpool won after penalties eventually, but the point is that the game was refereed by a full women lineup – Stéphanie Frappart being the main ref. She did a solid – not perfect – job

Frappart is indeed one of the better and more experienced female referees (refereeing the latest women World Cup final), but compare here to the full pool of refs (including males), she is nothing special – one could even argue she lacks a bit of experience with the toughest of matches. There are at least a dozen of male refs of same or better credibility who could easily have been selected for the match.

Still, Stéphanie Frappart was selected and I couldn’t shake the feeling it was a marketing thing, trying to sell how female can do it as well. TV crews certainly noticed the refs, giving them more screen time as usual and I am sure UEFA capitalized on the whole thing nicely.

And that is what bothered me. Had she been selected on merit of being a great ref is one thing, but they pushed her forward for all the wrong reasons (personal gain), disguising it behind the gender equality curtain.

Conlusion

The real world is a very complex thing. Although I don’t think examples like above are they way to go, I realize there are a lot of factors to consider, so I will give them some slack. Some.

But the world of board games is much simpler and giving equal starting chances to all players has been a part of them forever. Therefore, I really don’t understand why Hasbro would use the unequal income in Ms. Monopoly. To give men a taste of it? I find the idea stupid, and it’s not game I would want to play. And it’s not a game I see a bright future in front of.

Read about Monopoly editions I do recommend.

If they really wanted to promote gender equality, they should finally stop denying the Lizzie Magie’s involvement in game creation, apologized for ignoring her and build a game around this. That would send out a much better message, the one acknowledging women’s big contribution to existence of monopoly, not “let’s turn the tables on men”.

Read about my winning monopoly tips.

What are your thoughts on the subject?

Vasilij

 

10 thoughts on “Newest Monopoly Board Game Promoting Sexual Inequality

  1. I know little about about sports, so I can’t say I know all the example you’ve stated so far. From my point of view, I think picking winner or best people based on gender isn’t right to me. It is better every picking is done based on merit and with transparency. There are definitely females that can standout far from men. Not that females are weak in many hard games male indulge in. In my working place, male admit female can perform well when trying to drive customers to their company. Many of my colleagues that are male admitted that fact.

    1. There is huge marketing potential in women that are good in a predominantly male sports, that plays a big role in the examples I stated. It’s all about the money in the end and corporations are always on the lookout on that next big female.

  2. I am all for equality whether it be associated with race or gender. I really like the idea behind Ms Monopoly, except for that rules change. That makes no sense and it definitely does not promote equality. It sends the wrong message. Equal should always mean equal, no handouts.

    As for the theme of the new Monopoly, I can see it creating other versions based on also race and ethnicity of successful business owners or inventors. As a former video game producer I can understand why Chocolate Chip Cookies can seem out of place.

    Sometimes when doing functionality design it is hard to make things match up or be relevant to one another when you have either a diverse or limited amount of items to work with. Perhaps one factor in their placement choice was the over all revenue that invention has made.

    Hopefully those who do buy the game will change the rules on their own when both men and women are playing, giving each the same equal sums of money. Leave it to Hasbro Gaming to come up with something a bit different from the past. Controversy can sometimes boost sales.

    1. I’d like to see those future versions, if they make them. They have the potential to be even more ridiculous than Ms. Monopoly. 🙂
      I agree with the your opinion on the matching up of the tiles – yes, they are not grouped ideally, but it’s not a big deal. It doesn’t affect gameplay and it does not reduce the enjoyment in playing. Not perfect, but fine.

  3. This is a very interesting post, who would have thought the feminist, equality, call them what you will brigade would turn their attention to the game of monopoly, and actually I was completely unaware that the game of monopoly was invented by a female, Lizzie Magie , and why don’t those same people publicize that fact, actually that information could come in quite useful if I’m ever in a quiz and that question is asked, however I don’t think the equality brigade will ever be useful, I really don’t see why they have chosen monopoly to promote their equality or inequality agenda, thank you for sharing this eye opening post. 

  4. I went into your article hoping for some common sense to be displayed; I was not disappointed. You hit the nail on the head most succinctly.

    ps: I’ve known many women who mopped the floor in monopoly! They’d probably sneer at this version.

    1. I’m glad you found it interesting.

      There is no reason to think women are any worse at board games than men. OK, board games may not be at the top of majority’s interest list, but those who do play are on equal terms with men.

      I am against handicaps in games as a general, the only exception may be when the game is friendly and skill difference is extreme: i.e. you are playing with your children.

  5. Great article, and I truly agree with you. This is just another one of those examples of feminism having gone way too far! Equality is all good and well, but only when it is indeed equal. And in order to gain equality, we should not be tipping the scales in the wrong way and shaming men for being men, which is basically what is happening here. Shame on Hasbro!

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