This Teen-Created Tampon Video Game Is All Kinds of Awesome
What happens when girls code? Girls (and women) make amazing things. Things you want to download, share, play and tweet about, like the latest video game to totally take over our lunchtime funtime: Tampon Run.
Don’t LOL just yet, this game is made to make you think differently about more than just a high score. It follows a 16-bit-sized super heroine walking down the street, defeating dudes with a unique arsenal. The weapons in Tampon Run are, you might have guessed it, tampons. Strange? Um, not really. As the creators, NYC high school students and Girls Who Code grads Andrea “Andy” Gonzales and Sophie Houser, point out, “It’s stranger that our society has accepted and normalized guns and violence through video games, yet we still find tampons and menstruation unspeakable.” Preach, sisters.
The aim of the game is simple. You defeat your enemies by shooting cotton torpedos at them. To gain more ammunition, collect tampon boxes along your journey. Once you run out of tampons, it’s GAME OVER. The game is addictive, but it’s just a gateway for getting to know more about its true superheroes, the two young women who conceptualized, coded and created it.
Sophie and Andy are budding Internet stars by way of Girls Who Code, the nonprofit working to close the gender gap in the technology and engineering worlds. Sophie tells us that it was her mom who suggested she apply to GWC this past summer. “She thought I would like coding because it’s creative and mathy, both things I love.” Even if, Sophie soon discovered, coding is actually “more logical than mathy.” Andy spent previous summer vacays canoodling with coding at the co-ed SummerTech Computer Camps, and Summer ‘14 at Girls Who Code (once she was old enough to apply, of course).
For their GWC final project, the two new friends teamed up to work on a video game that they hope will be a gamechanger on a more global scale than your immediate social media circle. “Andy wanted to build a video game that made some sort of social impact. I liked the idea of using code to create social change (and I liked Andy!), so I joined,” Sophie explains. “While brainstorming, I jokingly said we could create a game in which a girl throws tampons. As soon as I said it, we knew there was something there.”
“My initial intention for the game was to address the hypersexualization of women in video games,” says Andy. “But when Sophie threw (haha) the tampon idea onto the table, I was swept away by it. We didn’t realize this issue really existed, and on such extreme levels (in some countries, women end up isolating themselves while they’re menstruating, are just uneducated on how to care for themselves, and/or can’t afford it). It’s a totally legitimate issue, and I’m so happy that we were able to help bring it to light.” We are too — a powerful concept, mission (and hopeful impact) behind a seemingly simple game.
We’re hard at work improving Tampon Run and guzzling bubble tea! pic.twitter.com/NzGcDUvN1D
— Tampon Run (@TamponRunner) September 6, 2014
Tampon Run as you know it now is just Version 1.0. Sophie and Andy tell us that they are working on making the game more difficult, creating a global leader board so people around the world can compare scores and answering the many requests they’ve gotten in this short launch period for a mobile version. You go, girls. ‘Til then, we’ll be using this pair as inspiration for our own foray into coding. Girls who code = girls who rule = women who will change the world — wouldn’t you agree?
Have you played Tampon Run yet? What do you think of Andy and Sophie’s mission? Seriously, how inspired are you by these two?! Give ’em some love below!
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
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Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
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You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com