Play Tampon Run On The Run: Teen Coders Take Menstruation Stigma Video Game Mobile

EducationEntertainmentGirlsTech TuesdayWomanhood 1 Comment

“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.”

NYC high school students Andrea Gonzales (16) and Sophie Houser (17) met last summer at Girls Who Code, an organization trying to close the gender gap in tech. It’s where they cultivated their love of coding, and worked together to develop Tampon Run, a first of its kind video game that uses projectile tampons to destroy the taboo of menstruation.

Initially launched for the web last September, it tackles a serious issue with a sense of humor, and now, to spread the game’s important message even further, it’s gone mobile.

Tampon Run_4

The teen coders were inspired to make their game, which features a heroine who hurls tampons at her enemies, by the Lone Star State. More specifically, by the inconceivable events that unfolded during a 2013 vote on a controversial anti-abortion bill in the Texas State Capitol.

As it was reported, upon entering the capitol to watch the debate and vote, women had their tampons and maxi pads confiscated by state troopers (the fear was that the women might start throwing them). Anyone with a gun however, was able to hang onto it, as permitted by Texas law.


Andy and Sophie had a similar reaction. “We thought that was kind of ridiculous. So we made the game so that the girl actually was throwing her tampons, as a joke on this whole incident,” Sophie told Fast Company.

With that, they got to work coding for social change, and their noble mission to de-stigmatize menstruation unfolded like so:

Their game is based on one indisputable premise…

“Most women menstruate for a large portion of their lives. It is, by all means, normal.”

Tampon Run_2

As a result of the prevailing social stigma…

“Most people, women and men alike, feel uncomfortable talking about anything having to do with menstruation.”

That made no sense to them, so they set out to make a profound statement about how messed up our social mores have become.

“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.”

Tampon Run is their way of discussing the taboo in an accessible way.

“Instead of holding a gun, the runner holds tampons, and instead of shooting enemies, the runner throws tampons at them.”

Andy and Sophie’s web game initially launched in fall 2014 to viral kudos, but this dynamic coding duo didn’t stop there. They spent a few week’s this winter working with a development company – Pivotal Labs – to create a new and improved iOS version of Tampon Run. So now tampon chucking fans can play their favorite game anywhere their mobile device goes.

Whether you are on “Team Tampon Run” or not, the impact the game is already having is undeniable. In addition to receiving “a lot of mail from people who realized they were contributing to the taboo, or they didn’t realize it was an issue,” Andy told Fast Company that in the last six months they’ve also “learned about a middle school in California where everyone started playing the game… and talking openly about their periods.”

Brava ladies!


  • Dave

    Wow. I guess I didn’t realize we had a problem. I’m an EMT, and as such, I’m not “grossed out” so to speak by menstruation, or periods, or tampons etc. Now that I think about it, my girlfriend did find it extremely odd the first time I offered to pick tampons up for her. I don’t think I’m out of line though in saying 2 things; 1) don’t females contribute (arguably) more than males to this stigma? If a woman is on her period, she generally says something like “I’m on my… ya know… thing right now”. “You mean your period?”. “Oh my god yes, but that’s gross”. Disclaimer: that’s only 99% of the woman I know. Maybe I just attract a certain type? And 2) Couldn’t there be maaaaaybe better games to code? Wage gap? Racism? Etc. I mean, we all poop too. Nobody can argue that it’s “abnormal” or “weird”, but isn’t it ok that we don’t do it in front of each other or talk about it in the break room at work? Many of us get hemorrhoids during our lives. They’re normal too, and nothing to be ashamed of (just like menstruation), but isn’t it ok that we don’t like to speak about it in frank terms with each other? Am I out of line? I’m not a “Woman hater” at all, just making discussion.