Ms. Monopoly: Empowering or Unhelpful?

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Ms. Monopoly: Empowering or Unhelpful?

Claire Taylor (10) enjoys her extra Monopoly money.

Claire Taylor (10) enjoys her extra Monopoly money.

Claire Taylor (10) enjoys her extra Monopoly money.

Claire Taylor (10) enjoys her extra Monopoly money.

Avery Haan, Staff Reporter

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Hasbro, the company who manufactures the popular game Monopoly, is coming out with a new version of the game: Ms. Monopoly. In this game, female players make more than men. Women start the game with $1900 whereas men only start with $1500. Every time a female player passes go, she gains $240, and every time a man passes go, he gains only $200.  Hasbro intends to manufacture this game in order to celebrate female entrepreneurs and women’s empowerment. The purpose is to create “a fun new take on the game that creates a world where women have an advantage often enjoyed by men,” the company stated.

However, the announcement of this game has been met with some backlash. In the real world, women make 80% of what men make, so they are actually 20% lower than the average paycheck for men. Although the intent is to empower women, the game seems like it is giving women “special treatment and undue advantage” as stated by Rachel Greszler. Amy Peng, an associate professor in the department of economics at Ryerson University, said, “Are you doing this because you think women are not as productive as men and need to be overcompensated?” Some critics say that because Ms. Monopoly does not mention the wage gap, it appears as though Hasbro is saying women need an extra advantage to win, or that they are not capable of playing on an equal field as men. Christine Sypnowich, the head of the philosophy department at Queens College and a feminist scholar, has pointed out, “It’s unhelpful to portray women as needing special advantages…What women need is to be treated as equals with respect.” Elise Gould is a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute who has said that if Hasbro was really concerned about women’s empowerment, they would take a look at issues within the company. “Who’s in leadership? Who’s getting promotions? They can take a hard look at their own personnel issues and use that as an example for the real world as opposed to the game world.” However, sophomore Claire Taylor commented on the issue, “Monopoly is obviously a classic board game, and I had never thought about a Ms. Monopoly before. But I think it’s a cool concept! I don’t really see it as women needing advantages. With the game originally created by a woman, I think that’s a really cool tribute, whether that was the intention or not.”

This leads to another issue that people have found with Hasbro’s new game. Mary Pilon is an author of the book The Monopolists, that details the history of the board game. Elizabeth Magie is the inventor of The Landlord’s Game, as evidenced by “patents, myriad newspaper clippings, U.S. Census records, letters, several sworn depositions, the U.S. Supreme Court, and acknowledgment in the National Women’s History Museum and the Smithsonian.” She introduced the game to a Quaker society where a man named Charles Darrow came in contact with the game. He tweaked it, and sold it to The Parker Brothers as Monopoly. However, Hasbro denies Magie’s claim to the game. Mary Pilon has said, “I think if Hasbro was serious about women’s empowerment, they could start by admitting that a woman invented the game.”