Mrs. Monopoly: an attack on your family game night?

The+controversial+board+game+offsetting+the+wage+gap+in+favor+of+%22celebrating+women+entrepreneurs+and+inventors%22+features+a+modern+businesswoman+in+the+foreground.

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The controversial board game offsetting the wage gap in favor of "celebrating women entrepreneurs and inventors" features a modern businesswoman in the foreground.

Natalia Mora, Memorial Copy Editor

In Hasbro’s new lineup of the classic board game Monopoly, gender divides are brought to light at the family game night scene. The new board game “Ms. Monopoly,” released Sept. 10, highlights a menagerie of issues the feminist movement argues for — and may have inadvertently pushed the envelope too far.

The game prompts female players to earn $240 when passing the GO space, while males earn only $200, replicating a reverse scenario in the commonly perceived wage gap between men and women in the workforce. This choice was meant to resemble the pay gap between men and women in the real-life workforce; women earn 81% of the man’s pay on average, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, the new installment replaces all real estate purchases players collect in the original game with female-led innovations, such as Wi-Fi and chocolate chip cookies.

The board game, licensed by Hasbro, sells for the traditional $19.99 at most chain department stores for children’s toys and games, like Walmart and Target. The game faced ample critical backlash, earning a 4.2 out of 10 on GameSpot.

The corporate decision spun the feminist community into a frantic controversy on the internet shortly after its release. Memes have outcropped as a result criticizing the game’s motives, claiming that it withdraws from the joy of simple board games without being needlessly tied into bipartisan ties. The masses argue that this imbalance in favor of women in order to atone for past oppression does not solve the issue at hand in the modern day.

This is not the Monopoly board game franchise’s first rodeo with targeting specific groups in their games. Hasbro’s past works include Monopoly for Millenials and Monopoly Socialism, the former implementing general stereotypes of younger generation such as veganism and social media, the latter an ironic jab at communism, the antithesis of Monopoly’s traditionally capitalist values by having players share assets at numerous points in gameplay. Both received lukewarm reactions from the masses, though arguably less passionate than Ms. Monopoly in its time of release.

Consensus states that the mechanism to empower women effectively fails to implement itself during gameplay. Though the assets purchased as players revolve the board cannot change, granting all players the same amount of money as facilitated during gameplay effectively does not change the course of the game. 

By nature, the board game places men at a disadvantage under wage gap provisions, but the party of players can easily decide not to incorporate the rules and to play as usual. With this titular feature removed, the board game is no different than the average Monopoly board and demonstrates little reason to purchase it as opposed to former, likely cheaper renditions of the game.

Even though the game is not being purchased and played by many of Hasbro’s common consumers due to the surrounding controversy, the board game sits on store shelves that children browse on shopping trips with their parents. The box’s cover depicts Ms. Monopoly, a businesswoman smiling smugly as the iconic Mr. Monopoly stands in the background holding her bags. Lined along the bottom lies in bold white font, “the first game where women earn more than men!”

This media representation can still prove harmful to children, indoctrinating them in these views without proper warrant. It could considerably manipulate the paradigm of Gen Alpha’s political alignments into the future. In any case, the force-fed feel of the game’s motives sour gameplay, as most consumers agree upon.

Social commentary as displayed by Ms. Monopoly should be heeded as a warning, as it not only poses a threat to warping the legitimate constitution of future political atmospheres but potentially infuses petty arguments and tensions at the dinner table on family board game night. This environment should be a safe, non-partisan activity where all friends and family alike can bond, laugh and connect under equal playing ground — and that means everyone collects $200 when passing GO.

 

Contact Natalia Mora at [email protected]