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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. Andthey 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

This story first appeared on the author's Medium and is reprinted here with permission.

Because you're a girl.

This article originally appeared on 04.14.17


I was promoted a few weeks ago, which was great. I got a lot of nice notes from friends, family, customers, partners, and random strangers, which was exciting.

But it wasn't long until a note came in saying, “Everyone knows you got the position because you're a girl." In spite of having a great week at a great company with great people whom I love, that still stung, because it's not the first time I've heard it.

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Identity

This blind chef wore a body cam to show how she prepares dazzling dishes.

How do blind people cook? This "Masterchef" winner leans into her senses.

Image pulled from YouTube video.

Christine Ha competes on "Masterchef."

This article originally appeared on 05.26.17


There is one question chef Christine Ha fields more than any other.

But it's got nothing to do with being a "Masterchef" champion, New York Times bestselling author, and acclaimed TV host and cooking instructor.

The question: "How do you cook while blind?"

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All illustrations are provided by Soosh and used with permission.

I have plenty of space.

This article originally appeared on 04.09.16


It's hard to truly describe the amazing bond between dads and their daughters.

Being a dad is an amazing job no matter the gender of the tiny humans we're raising. But there's something unique about the bond between fathers and daughters.

Most dads know what it's like to struggle with braiding hair, but we also know that bonding time provides immense value to our daughters. In fact, studies have shown that women with actively involved fathers are more confident and more successful in school and business.

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Gordon Ramsay at play... work.

This article originally appeared on 04.22.15


Gordon Ramsay is not exactly known for being nice.

Or patient.

Or nurturing.

On his competition show "Hell's Kitchen," he belittles cooks who can't keep up. If people come to him with their problems, he berates them. If someone is struggling to get something right in the kitchen, he curses them out.

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This article originally appeared on 01.27.20


From 1940 to 1945, an estimated 1.3 million people were deported to Auschwitz, the largest complex of Nazi concentration camps. More than four out of five of those people—at least 1.1 million people—were murdered there.

On January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the final prisoners from these camps—7,000 people, most of whom were sick or dying. Those of us with a decent public education are familiar with at least a few names of Nazi extermination facilities—Auschwitz, Dachau, Bergen-Belsen—but these are merely a few of the thousands (yes, thousands) of concentration camps, sub camps, and ghettos spread across Europe where Jews and other targets of Hitler's regime were persecuted, tortured, and killed by the millions.

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Health

What I realized about feminism after my male friend was disgusted by tampons at a party.

"After all these years, my friend has probably forgotten, but I never have."

Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

It’s okay men. You don’t have to be afraid.

This article originally appeared on 08.12.16


Years ago, a friend went to a party, and something bothered him enough to rant to me about it later.

And it bothered me that he was so incensed about it, but I couldn't put my finger on why. It seemed so petty for him to be upset, and even more so for me to be annoyed with him.

Recently, something reminded me of that scenario, and it made more sense. I'll explain.

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