Talk about diversifying your portfolio.
The makers of an age-old favorite board game have created a new version that celebrates the contributions of women: Ms. Monopoly.
That’s great. Women have consistently been unrepresented on the board, which has just one real character — Mr. Monopoly, the top-hatted, cane-wielding image of capitalism himself. Originally conceived as “Rich Uncle Pennybags,” the Hasbro mascot has been the face of the game for years, appearing on the board, the cards and the commercials for new versions.
Well, this time, he’s been outmanned. Actually, he’s been outwomanned. The new game’s mascot is its namesake, Ms. Monopoly. She wears skinny jeans, killer heels and a graphic T under her suit jacket. She is a go-getter whose goal isn’t about cornering the market in the real estate game. She’s an entrepreneur who wants to invest, and she’s seeking out women-owned businesses for the big bucks.
The inspirational aspect of the game is that it isn’t fictionalizing the companies. It isn’t a generic “Suzy’s Sandwich Shop” or “Mary’s Muffins.” The entrepreneurs are real, and one is homegrown. The late Stephanie Kwolek of New Kensington is celebrated for her invention of Kevlar, the polymer that stops bullets in ballistic vests.
But the idea could definitely be more relatable today as entrepreneurship is a buzzword. You can get a Scouts BSA merit badge in it. You can pitch an idea to “Shark Tank” on television. Universities like Penn State encourage students to come up with outside-the-box ideas to generate products and germinate companies.
It’s the pandering of the game that doesn’t sound much fun. Girls get more money to start the game than boys. Does $40 in fake money seem like it’s going to fix a wage gap? Or does it just sound like boys won’t want to play?
Monopoly has always been that game that sounded more fun than it ended up — sometimes in tears after a harsh loss and sometimes in an unfinished bout that just got boring.
But if Hasbro really wanted to celebrate women, the company could have just given credit to Elizabeth Magie, the woman who patented it decades before Charles Darrow, the man generally called its inventor.
Do not pass “Go.” Do not collect $200.