Some days I feel as if the iron has monopolized my life, from pressing stubborn wrinkles to the days of childhood when boys across the Monopoly game board insisted I have it as my token, “Because you’re a girl.” No top hat, race car, or battleship for girls, they would insist. Bah! So when Hasbro Toys announced today that a fan-driven Internet poll ousted the iron in favor of a cat I smiled in triumph for little girls everywhere.
According to Elise Leonard of Litzky Public Relations for Hasbro, this was part of Hasbro’s Monopoly “Save Your Token” campaign on Facebook from Jan. 9 through Feb. 5, 2013. Fans can visit the game's Facebook page to bid farewell to the iron and view additional Monopoly “Save Your Token” campaign content. The cat was able to claw its way up the voting ladder past the toy robot, guitar, helicopter, and diamond ring options offered in the campaign.
I chuckled to see the Hasbro press release where the only one mourning the loss of the iron was a man, Eric Nyman, senior vice president and global brand leader for Hasbro Gaming: “While we’re a bit sad to see the iron go, the cat token is a fantastic choice by the fans, and we have no doubt it will become just as iconic as the original tokens.”
Say all you want about how modern men do iron, that token was always tied to a mother’s apron strings weighing her down.
Besides, I am more than an iron. Frankly, being a mother of four who works from home, I’m more than a race car, shoe, thimble, battleship, top hat, Scottie dog (apparently the fan favorite of social media), or wheelbarrow. Although, somehow those symbols never felt as irritating because I loved to quilt and sew with my grandmother, used a wheelbarrow in the garden which reminded me of Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit, my uncles were Navy men, the top hat was cool, and who doesn’t love shoes and dogs?
The iron, however, represents only drudgery and all for the production of a smooth, flawless, wearable surface soon to be ruined with wrinkles. Personally, as a tomboy, I never saw the attraction. My mother, a retired Macy’s private label NYC fashion designer and Parsons School of Design graduate, actually has one of the Monopoly irons on a charm bracelet! I recall being about seven and telling her, “You can have mine too and make them into earrings! I’m not playing that piece!”
I have come to see gaming as an early potential indicator of a child’s future career interests and a means of stimulating them to reach in new directions. It begs the questions: “Do kids who love Risk and Battleship choose to serve in the military or just become corporate raiders?”
We’ve all heard about the studies of video gaming and the impact on teens. Studies show improved manual dexterity and computer literacy on the plus side and aggression and a decline in school achievements in the negative column when violent games are played too much. However, board game studies appear to yield a universally positive effect, according to a Palo Alto Medical Foundation study conducted by Gentile, Lynch, Linder & Walsh.
An article by Melanie L. Martin titled How Board Games Can Help Your Children Learn lists five board games to help your child learn and Monopoly beats out Chess for the top slot.
Martin wrote, “Monopoly can teach your children a multitude of subjects. They practice addition by adding the dice together to see how far they move. They must know how to add the money together and make change if necessary. Children's reading skills will be called into use with the Chance and Community Chest cards as well as the property names and information.”
The Toy Industry Association’s Toy Fair will kick off this Sunday in NYC, where the newest toys and games for 2013 will be on display. Hasbro isn’t saying what they will bring to the gaming table for the event.
When I told my sons about the shift in the Monopoly tokens my nine-year-old swiftly pointed out, “Iron? Does our set have one of those?” My teens chimed-in, “Yeah Mom, we’ve never seen that token on our board. Are you sure it came with one?”
Oh it came with one, it just didn’t remain with one. Perhaps it’s time to order a new, more complete set online? Either way, our new kitten sits on the board and wreaks havoc on my behalf whenever we play so it’s a win-win.