|CC Photo by evalopez|
Madeline is a smart girl.
Madeline is an awesome writer.
Madeline is 12 years old.
Madeline is a playful girl who likes to play mobile phone games with her friends.
But Madeline and her friends don't like that some video games offer no options to play as a female.
they certainly don't like that some video games charge to select a female player, but provide male player options for free.
Madeline and her friends want the same access to playing video game using a same sex character that their male friends have.
There are lots of ways that Madeline could pursue this. She could study to be a video game developer and create her own games that had female characters, but this would take many years of building skills, and it might not be a career that Madeline wants to pursue (yet).
Instead Madeline used a skill and a tool that were immediately available to to advocate for a change that might yield more immediate results.
Her tool --- the almighty pen
Her skill -- the ability to craft a well written argument that was recently published in the the Op Ed section of the Washington Post.
and this tool and skill resulted in at least one video game company to change its practice and offer both male and female characters for free as options in its video game.
According to Madeline's research, of the 50 top selling running game apps ".....90 percent offered boy characters for free, while only 15 percent offered girl characters for free."
"These biases affect young girls like me. The lack of girl characters implies that girls are not equal to boys and they don’t deserve characters that look like them. I am a girl; I prefer being a girl in these games. I do not want to pay to be a girl."Madeline Messer, Op Ed Washington Post. March 4, 2015.
Congratulations, Madeline for your fabulous piece of research on the lack of equal access to female characters in mobile phone games
Congratulations, to those in the the video game industry who responded in such a positive way to Madeline's appeal.
"The very same day Maddie's op-ed came out, Natalia and her husband wrote to Maddie. They told Maddie she was right. Soon, they say, there will be a free female character in Temple Run.
Disney is also changing its pricing. They'll no longer be charging $30 for its character.
The makers of one game went a step further. They created a new character, called Maddie."Source: Steve Henn, Jess Jiang NPR April 8, 2015
Congratulations to all the people who supported Maddie in your comments to blog posts and articles by challenging the many people who failed to see Maddie a fabulous role model for other young people about how the powerful tools we hold in possess with our ability to communicate well and spark the change we want to see in the world. (More on this tomorrow)