Maddie Messer is a 12 year old gamer that is making headlines nationally for standing up for what she believes in. It all started when she noticed the lack of gender diversity in many popular smartphone games, including the ultra popular game Temple Run. She decided to take her concern a step further.
Maddie researched and charted the top 50 “running games” on iTunes, and the results were disturbing: 98% of the characters in these games were males. Not only that, but most of the games charged a fee to change from the default male character to a female character. Maddie wrote candidly about the issue in an op-ed in The Washington Post:
“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.”
The Best Part
What’s so amazing about Maddie’s story is what happened after the publication of her op-ed. As a result of her shedding light on this issue, major companies began to respond. One of Temple Run’s developers, Natalia Luckyanova, personally wrote a letter to Maddie, informing her that the app would soon be making female characters available to players at no additional charge. Rumor has it that Disney also plans to make female characters more readily available to players of their smartphone games.
The very best part is that in an effort to honor Maddie for her bravery, the creators of Temple Run are going to be releasing a new female character named Maddie. Maddie Messer’s story will truly come full circle when she is soon able to play Temple Run using her own personalized avatar. She has become our hero both, figuratively and literally.
3 Things We Can Learn From Maddie
- Standing up for yourself is important.
Chances are that when Maddie first brought light to the issue, she had no idea that the response would be so incredible. Her story is a great reminder that standing up for ourselves is both necessary and worthwhile.
- Courage doesn’t have an age requirement.
Not only are we impressed with Maddie for what she has accomplished, but we also admire her for being so brave at such a young age. After all, she’s still years away from being able to drive, yet she is standing up to major game developers and companies.
- Championing an issue requires work.
Finally, what is amazing about Maddie is that she not only noticed the lack of gender diversity in smartphone games, but she also did the legwork required to bring the issue to the table. She spent time researching and writing about the issue, which is ultimately why her voice was heard and change is now being implemented.
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