Hasbro has divided opinion with its attempt to launch a feminist take on its iconic game, Monopoly, with the introduction of Ms Monopoly, a version in which women are paid more than men as they play out the game.
The official line from Hasbro is that Ms Monopoly has been launched to ‘celebrate women trailblazers,’ and marks the first time in the franchise’s history in which a new character graces the cover of the Monopoly box.
‘While Mr Monopoly is a real-estate mogul, Ms. Monopoly is an advocate whose mission is to invest in female entrepreneurs,’ read a press release issued by Hasbro.
Launched to highlight the disparity in pay between men and women, Ms. Monopoly sees women players earn more money than their male counterparts, by collecting $240 to each male player’s $200 as they pass Go.
In the game, women also receive $1,900 in Monopoly money at the start, compared to the $1,500 for each male player.
The game has, however, faced some major criticism and been accused of ‘misplaced feminism,’ while others have lambasted the new version as a marketing opportunity seized from the genuine issue of the real-life gender pay gap.
A particular issue that has arisen among media commentators is that the game ,while launched to celebrate entrepreneurial women, makes no mention of the originator of the Monopoly game, inventor Lizzie Magie who patented the title Landlord’s Game in 1903.
Of the launch Hasbro has said: ‘Ms Monopoly was created to inspire everyone, young and old as it spotlights women who have challenged the status quo.’
To celebrate the launch Hasbro has surprised young female inventors and entrepreneurs with investment to the tune of $20,580 to ‘fuel their inventive spirit and further their projects.’
The very specific sum happens to be the same amount of Monopoly money featured in the game. Well-intentioned as it may be, the move has been used to underscore some outlets’ arguments that the initiative is simply a mis-judged marketing ploy.
Those in support of the launch have backed Hasbro’s move, indicating that at the very least, the introduction of Ms Monopoly has drawn attention to the issue of the gender pay gap, and is the first step of many more to come in drawing attention to inequality.