May 23, 2024


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Barbie has dealt with patriarchy, so what's in store for Monopoly?

Barbie has dealt with patriarchy, so what's in store for Monopoly?

Margot Robbie Productions LuckyChapwas recently nominated for multiple Academy Awards for her blockbuster hit, Barbietakes on a new challenge – a film based on the board game Monopoly. The announcement was made Wednesday at CinemaCon. But unlike Barbiewith the climax centered around the game's original creator, as played by the diminutive Rhea Perlman, and the circumstances behind the game's creation. Monopoly Fraught for a completely different reason. Will LuckyChap rise to the occasion with another euphoric hit that opens the door to forgotten history, or will it further obscure the game's origins?

in Monopolists: The obsession, fury, and scandal behind the world's favorite board gameAuthor Mary Pilon does an amazing job of revealing the secret history of Monopoly. Her investigation, published in 2015, reaffirms that it was Lizzie Magee, a staunch leftist in her day, who invented and patented the precursor Monopoly known as Landlord game In 1903. That board game was not a story about the joys of capitalism, but about its dangers, and although it was influential in progressive circles at the time, it was never a commercial success. Only later, in the 1930s, Magee's work was used as the basis for a book by Charles P. Darrow. Monopoly, the game that would find its way to Parker Brothers, and eventually into the massive catalog of intellectual property now owned by Hasbro. You can read more thanks to the excerpt published in Watchman Nearly a decade old, but the book itself comes highly recommended.

Given this backstory, it makes sense for Ruby to star in the project. It is another story of a woman marginalized by the machinations of corporate conspiracies. But in the case of the original Barbie, creator Ruth Handler was also the co-founder of Mattel. She benefited greatly from her invention. Maggie wasn't much like that, and unfortunately, her original idea was twisted into the opposite mirror of her intention. It's a story no less troubling than the generational traumas of American feminism, but it's a very different story that LuckyChap has to tell.

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Complicating matters here is the fact that just a few months ago, Hasbro completed an aggressive series of layoffs that wiped out less than a third of its workforce, a maneuver that was completed exactly two weeks before Christmas 2023. In a way, they were layoffs. Workers that mirror story Monopoly In itself, those who did the work of creation become deprived of the revenue that would have rewarded their success.

LuckyChap clearly has its work cut out for it. First, patriarchy took over. Now it can have capitalism squarely in its sights. Will you flinch?