From PhD in History to playing HayDay

Dear anyone who has ever wanted to ask me: Why would a PhD (Indonesian Studies) drop out from Cambridge and feminist global intellectual want to hold the torch for the very male chauvinistic white space of Mobile Gaming?

the short answer:

Because we just never know who our allies will be in the march towards the greater good.

the juicy answer:

Five years ago, social technologies had proliferated. Mobile Gaming technology (my passion) would truly become one of the most important applications on our smart phones. The feminist activist in me decided that’s the industry I wanted to be in for the following reasons.

As a critical theorist, the mobile gaming phenomenon was fascinating because its scale was unprecedented in human history. That were so many people connected so directly in real time in a common place and it really required negligible investment from each of us to do so! This was also the era of excellent new mobile games for women. So much so that today over 52% of the gaming audience is made up of women. That’s right — the majority of people playing games are women.

Understandably, women caught on to social mobile games like moth to a light because it truly understood our physical reality. For women who did not own their own rooms and TVs, they didn’t need to buy another pricey piece of equipment, get a room or need to complete for the big “screens” of our home for attention. They could be privately challenged and entertained. As women, we no longer needed anyone else needed to know or judge what we were doing to entertain ourselves online. Especially for women in traditional spaces and relationships seeking for deep sense of community nothing beat games. Additionally for women who couldn’t afford to constantly shop, access to expensive photography equipment, or hire social media gurus, they too could feel like they belong to an exclusive online community. And that’s liberating, confidence boosting and ultimately leads to happiness.

The best games have made us the happiest. They are like great songs, movies, plays, speeches — they inspire us to be better and to be happier. We feel good and that’s what keeps us coming back for more. And from a sustainable health and wellness practice perspective, they keep us saner instead of drinking ourselves, being frustrated by our family life or commute, feeling helpless. It makes us believe we can win again. There are clear personal benefits. And for some women, mobile games as just as satisfying as running, leaning in, massages or yoga is.

For the first time, statistical probability suggests that most new moms have themselves enjoyed playing games. In this way and more, most of the people making these games probably don’t realize how revolutionary their products have been for global mental health and wellness. In some real yet ethereal ways, makers of those games have been brilliant designers who have persuasively deconstructed gendered assumptions in ways even philosophers have not been able to. So thank you mobile games:)

As a feminist anthropologist, these startups were social experiments that showed us that women as gamers, will compete against each other through cooperation and will nurture a community they would never actually see. Women, who according to conventional theory, were always considered the more physically grounded, biological determined species was finally proven to be quite otherwise! Fascinatingly, social mobile games did that a scale, cost and efficiency that no-one else could. And that’s important for our collective well-being. I know this because I’ve lived with, written about met secret gamers in many of these spaces.

So hopefully this answers: Why would a PhD (Indonesian Studies) drop out from Cambridge and feminist global intellectual want to hold the torch for the very male chauvinistic white space of Mobile Gaming?

And today upon 5 years of completion of this experiment, it’s come to bear that mobile gaming really has done a lot for women’s health and wellbeing. Thank you guys for expanding your startup’s footprint and liberating women in meaningfully yet silent ways. For me, learning from these dudes meant seeing how their ambition had unintended consequences that were completely inline with my passions.

So today I ask you folks, I appeal to your risk taking, crazy to see another future, ambitious side and to ask yourselves: do you believe one could similarly revolutionize the rest of healthcare too? I believe we can and we will in 2016. Hold your breathe for skiplist.

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