Friday, September 12, 2014

Let's Talk About Reproduction - Gaming Style!

"Although the concept of the video game may be strange, it’s stranger that our society has accepted and normalized guns and violence through video games, yet we still find tampons and menstruation unspeakable."

Men. We need to have a talk about periods. And as the opening line in Tampon Run, a 8-bit game made by high school ladies Andrea Gonzales and Sophie Houser, shows, we're way more comfortable talking about the rare occurrence of gun violence (which is still an uncommon act in the U.S. no matter how much you see it on tv). But Menstrual cycles? Something that nearly 3.5 billion women, or half of the world population, experiences once a month over 20+ years of their life? Nope. Can't talk about it. Ew. Gross.

Another thing women can't talk about? Their poop. Because apparently girls and women do not defaecate.

Other then the reproductive organs, all humans do the exact same damn thing. Get over it, men.

But these girls have a strong argument. Even now, as assured of myself as I am, it's still uncomfortable to talk about menstruation because I've been brought up with the world telling me the stigma's attached to it. 'It's gross. Men don't want to hear about it. You can't act like you have it. You'll get no sympathy. Suck it up. It hurts more to get kicked in the balls. But it's totally normal for women, so just shut up and deal with it.' I can't even discuss it openly with some women without them recoiling in fear that others may listen in.

Ladies. It's our Period. We all get it. It's completely normal. Get over it. And don't be intimidated by men telling you otherwise. Without it, reproduction would not exist and neither would we. This stigma seems to be fading as gender equality becomes integrated into society, so it's nice to have some female friends that I can be open about with womanly bodily functions. And before you give me that weird look, men, you guys do it too. Don't tell me you don't talk about your farts and poop openly. I've sat in on those discussions.

I'm digressing. Let's talk about the game.

Gonzales and Houser met at the Girls Who Code summer program directed to high school ladies who are interested in learning about gaming and engineering to get more women into computer science. When looking at their final project, they began to brainstorm about swapping bullets for tampons. While the professor loved the idea, he still needed to get approval from the heads of the program.

That alone shows what a taboo it is,” Gonzales commented.

The premise of the game is you throw tampons at the "enemy," collecting more as you go. If you run out of tampons, the game is over. Any enemies that pass you will confiscate your tampons. The longer your last and the more enemies you kill, the higher your score. It's a very simple browser based game, but the fact that we think the subject is so unusual is causing it to gain traction. The developers are looking to making a mobile version of it and include different power-ups such as maxipads, super absorbent tampons, and so-on.

Ladies, keep at it. While I doubt this will be the change that will force the world to realize that menstrual cycles are completely normal, it is a admirable first step.

Aside, Andrea (Andy) Gonzales avatar is fantastic. She's dressed up in a Chewbacca costume. Pure win.

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