The Quilt Scout
by Mary Fons
The old lineup from the Deluxe version of the game.
Photo: WikipediaA few weeks ago, in advance of
the big New York Toy Fair industry show, the Hasbro toy company issued a press release about one
of its most popular products, the board game Monopoly. The announcement regarded the removal of one of the classic
Of the tokens that were, until recently, included — car, battleship, cat, top hat, wheelbarrow, Scottie dog, boot, and thimble — guess which one got the axe?
The thimble, my friends. She’s gone.
Now, before you write an angry letter to Hasbro, you should know that it wasn’t the suits who made the decision to remove the thimble from the game. The company held an online vote to determine which game piece should be replaced (and with what.) Over 4 million people weighed in on this, which maybe disturbs me more than the removal of the thimble itself, for two reasons.
First of all, how is it that 4 million people knew of this token change decree and then
made time in their day to get involved in the outcome? Second of all, how come I didn’t know about it?
If I had, you can bet your sewn-on buttons I would’ve rallied the vote. With 21 million quilters in America, we easily could’ve saved the thimble. And we would’ve wanted to, right? The thimble has been a part of the Monopoly board since its creation in 1935. And a few years back, the powers that be removed the other sewing-related token from the board:
the iron. (They replaced it with a cat.)
Say goodbye to the thimble, friends. But get that rent money!
While it’s true that of the 21 million quilters in the country, not all of us use a thimble that much — I use one when I turn binding but haven’t hand quilted in some time — this is about symbolism, right? The thimble represents (or represented) the home, the feminine, handwork, and craft. I’d like to say that any of the other tokens are just as representative of the feminine sphere but come on: a dumb ol’ boot? A wheelbarrow for heaven’s sake? Ugh.
I know I’m in dangerous territory, here, so let me be clear: The Monopoly tokens that remain suit plenty of female players just fine. There are female Navy officers who literally work on battleships, for example, and I look fabulous in a top hat. A thimble is not a “feminine object,” per se; objects don’t have genders, for one thing, and besides that, plenty of men sew, whether they are making quilts or tailoring clothes.
C’est la vie, mon thimble! Photo: Wikipedia.But wasn’t the thimble your favorite Monopoly token for a host of reasons? Wasn’t it the token you chose because you like to sew, but also because the wheelbarrow was lame and the Scottie dog seemed sort of wimpy? To me, the thimble had a kind of power. A domestic goddess kind of power. A hand-that-rocks-the-cradle kind of power. A “You owe me $800 in rent on Marvin Gardens, buster, and while you’re paying me, I’ll bring home the bacon, fry it in a pan, and make a Dear Jane quilt while it’s cooking” kind of power. Or maybe that was just me.
On March 19th, Hasbro will announce the new Monopoly game piece that was voted in to replace the thimble. Among the 40 options: a T-Rex, a helicopter, an emoticon.
If you don’t like the new token, I have a suggestion; call it a “Monopoly hack.” The next time you play, go get an actual thimble from your sewing room and use that on the board. It’ll dwarf any old “token” T-Rex.