More

Not all video games treat women like objects. This one does it right. Really really right.

Video games catch a lot of grief about portraying women badly. But the independent game "Sword & Sworcery" did it so well that other developers should sit up and take notice.

When a woman is featured in a video game, often she's a sexual object, a mission objective, a sidekick, or background decoration.

"Sword & Sworcery" isn't playing that.

Its protagonist, the Scythian, manages to save her world without triggering a single eyeroll or exasperated "really!?" because the developers know what you and I know: Heroes are heroes regardless of gender.


Like them or not, video games are big money.

That's right, we spent more buying video games than songs!

Video games have become a huge part of the way we tell our stories. But they haven't earned a reputation for telling everyone's stories. That's why "Sword & Sworcery" deserves a big shoutout.

Why is this game so special?

First and foremost, it's a good game as Anita Sarkeesian shows us. The retro 8-bit style is well-executed, the music is complex, the gameplay is slick, the puzzles are engaging and fun. But above all: The story is compelling and well-told.

The developers made a decision to make its hero, the Scythian, a woman. And they intentionally avoided the clichés that normally accompany games with female characters. She's not sexualized. She's not foofy or frilly. She's not a sidekick.


"Thankfully, the game doesn't resort to clear gendered signifiers like a pink outfit or a pretty bow in her hair, nor does it present her gender as some kind of surprise twist like we see in the original Metroid."
— Anita Sarkeesian

Is it important that the Scythian is female?


"When archetypal fantasy heroes in games are overwhelmingly portrayed as men, it reinforces the idea that men's experiences are universal and that women's experiences are gendered, that women should be able to empathize with male characters but that men needn't be able to identify with women's stories."
— Anita Sarkeesian

Because she is a person first. She is a person who decides to go on a quest to save a world she loves. That story is not unique to one gender. Anyone can work to preserve what they love.

"She didn't just exist in relation to another character — she wasn't just somebody's wife or sister or daughter — but rather, she existed as an individual, and as a hero."
— Anita Sarkeesian

Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

Former President George W. Bush and current president Donald Trump may both be Republicans but they have contrasting views when it comes to immigration.

Trump has been one of the most anti-immigrant presidents of recent memory. His Administration separated undocumented families at the border, placed bans on travelers from majority-Muslim countries, and he's proudly proclaimed, "Our country is full."

George W. Bush's legacy on immigration is a bit more nuanced. He ended catch-and-release and called for heightened security at the U.S.-Mexico border, but he also championed an immigration bill that created a guest worker program and a pathway to citizenship for undocumented people.

Unfortunately, that bill did not pass.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Picsea on Unsplash
True

It is said that once you've seen something, you can't unsee it. This is exactly what is happening in America right now. We have collectively watched the pot of racial tension boil over after years of looking the other way, insisting that hot water doesn't exist, pretending not to notice the smoke billowing out from every direction.

Ignoring a problem doesn't make it go away—it prolongs resolution. There's a whole lot of harm to be remedied and damage to be repaired as a result of racial injustice, and it's up to all of us to figure out how to do that. Parents, in particular, are recognizing the importance of raising anti-racist children; if we are unable to completely eradicate racism, maybe the next generation will.

How can parents ensure that the next generation will actively refuse to perpetuate systems and behaviors embedded in racism? The most obvious answer is to model it. Take for example, professional tennis player Serena Williams and her husband, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

Keep Reading Show less

I saw this poster today and I was going to just let it go, but then I kept feeling tugged to say something.

Melanie Cholish/Facebook

While this poster is great to bring attention to the issue of child trafficking, it is a "shocking" picture of a young girl tied up. It has that dark gritty feeling. I picture her in a basement tied to a dripping pipe.

While that sounds awful, it's important to know that trafficking children in the US is not all of that. I can't say it never is—I don't know. What I do know is most young trafficked children aren't sitting in a basement tied up. They have families, and someone—usually in their family—is trafficking them.

Keep Reading Show less

Roland Pollard and his 4-year-old daughter Jayden have been doing cheer and tumbling stunts together since Jayden could walk. When you see videos of their skills, the level of commitment is apparent—as is the supportive relationship this daddy has with his daughter.

Pollard, a former competitive cheerleader and cheer coach, told In The Know that he didn't expect Jayden to catch on to her flying skills at age 3, but she did. He said he never pressures her to perform stunts and that she enjoys it. And as a viral video of Jayden almost falling during a stunt shows, excelling at a skill requires good teaching—something Pollard appears to have mastered.

Keep Reading Show less