In a nod to the rise of crowdsourcing, Hasbro is calling on fans to vote on which new tokens Monopoly should introduce to join its classic wheelbarrow, top hat, thimble, and other playing pieces. Through Jan. 31, you can go to votemonopoly.com and choose from a range of options, including a hashtag, a scooter, multiple emojis, and various and sundry other objects that may or may not be more representative of modern life than the previous fleet of tokens.
In many ways, this contest is a sham. The votes will determine the pieces in a new “Token Madness” edition of the game, not the traditional, OG Monopoly that actually matters. Also, many of the 50-ish options the game is offering … are bad? One is a fish. Just, a fish. The aforementioned emojis, despite being conceptually #so #now, don’t even look like the classic Unicode emojis most people are familiar with, and then there’s the fact that emojis are digital things that don’t really exist in the meatspace, so trying to re-create them as solid objects just seems like missing the point. There’s also a gramophone, a cellphone that looks like it’s from the late ’90s, a fire, a janky-looking flip-flop … who picked these?
But the biggest problem with the contest is the lack of write-in option. Because the token Monopoly most needs right now is not a rotary phone, a cowboy hat, or a bowtie, but an IUD. That’s right, the long-acting reversible contraceptive method otherwise known an intrauterine device—do you have a problem with that?
Having an IUD token in the game of Monopoly would solve several longstanding issues. It would emphasize that access to reliable birth control is an important factor that enables people to become real estate magnates in Atlantic City. It’s hard to find the capital, time, and energy to buy up property when you or your partner is unexpectedly pregnant or raising a child, you know. Until now, Monopoly has consistently ignored birth control’s contributions to capitalist society.
If you’re not an IUD person, you might think that Monopoly should consider adding tokens that depict a range of B.C. options—a packet of pills, a diaphragm, a NuvaRing, a condom, a vasectomy (good luck representing that one!). Why not a whole Reproductive Rights edition of Monopoly! Let me stop you right there. We must include these tokens in the classic edition of Monopoly, or at the very least, this new Token Madness one, rather than ghettoize them. The bigwigs at Hasbro are probably unlikely to sanction a whole cadre of birth-control option tokens, so let’s be realistic here. We should focus our efforts on a single contraceptive method, and that method should be the IUD.
IUDs had a moment in 2016. They are still having a moment in 2017, because people are scared certain presidents will take our access to them away. The repeal of the contraceptive coverage provision of the Affordable Care Act is a scary issue that we should be thinking about all the time, including when we play board games. You might protest that children play Monopoly and that you don’t want to explain to your kid what an IUD is—but that’s where you’re wrong. You should explain what an IUD is to the brood of children you will be forced to have in country with no birth control access, early and often!
Ideally, all the token IUDs included with each set of Monopoly would be sterile and functional, so that when our birth control rights are taken away, every home in America would have a sleeper-cell device already in it, ready to be inserted into a uterus in need. But first steps first. Monopoly needs to get with the 21st century and celebrate the existence of IUDs. Let’s keep IUDs in people’s minds and hearts by including them in one of America’s most beloved board game traditions.
A board game without contraception? We’ve already got that. It’s called Risk.