Politics & Policy

Tampons as Ammunition

Two teenage girls created a video game meant to de-stigmatize menstruation.

Two teenage girls have created a successful video game that is getting worldwide attention, and the Left is excited because the game is about throwing tampons at men.

The game, called “Tampon Run,” involves a crudely drawn female figure shooting tampons at similarly crudely drawn male figures. The side-scrolling platform and simple “jump” and “shoot” actions pay homage to early video games. Think early Super Mario Bros. if Peach had been trying to defeat Bowser while she was riding the crimson wave.

The menstruation-themed game is irritatingly addictive, and it’s filled with little jokes only women will understand. Unlike most video games, the gamer doesn’t lose when the bad guys run into her. You lose only when you run out of tampons. (Just like in real life, amirite, ladies?)  Even the title of the game, “Tampon Run,” recalls the monthly drudge to CVS so many women experience, unless they have the forethought to keep their bathrooms well stocked.

However, the preachy message before you play the game ruins the momentum. After hitting the “shift” button to start, a red screen pops up that reads, “Most women menstruate for a large portion of their lives.” Who knew?

The gamer then is forced to scroll through six or seven screens about de-stigmatizing menstruation by using tampons instead of guns, saying, “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.”

The teenage inventors of Tampon Run, 16-year-old Andrea Gonzales and 17-year-old Sophie Houser, tell Time in an interview that they attempted to create a video game “with a feminist twist.” They disliked the “hyper-sexualization of women in video games” and sought to “incorporate a social justice message” into their game. The definition of social justice apparently encompasses bodily functions shared by women of every race, nationality, creed, and income bracket.

The girls, graduates of the Girls Who Code program, claim to have received fan mail from all over the world. The high-schoolers and their video game-with-a-message have been covered by the New York Daily News, Jezebel, and Today.com. Planned Parenthood even tweeted about them.

The Left is all atwitter over the game’s message, which is, apparently, that we need to talk more about periods. I have no desire to talk about menstruation while playing video games, but apparently it’s empowering.

In their Time interview, Gonzales and Houser said that they are working on developing Tampon Run to make it more challenging. People “have been suggesting power ups or features we could add to the game like maxi pad shields or super absorbency tampons or other types of enemies that we could implement into the game,” Gonzales said.

— Christine Sisto is an editorial associate at National Review Online.

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