I’m a 12-year-old girl. Why don’t the characters in my apps look like me?

Madeline Messer, Washington Post, Mar 15, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

This article caught my eye not only because it flags a pervasive issue in the gaming community but because it also reflects considerable interest and initiative by a 12-year old net-generation student. The bad news first: "Of the apps that did have gender-identifiable characters, 98 percent offered boy characters. What shocked me was that only 46 percent offered girl characters. Even worse, of these 50 apps, 90 percent offered boy characters for free, while only 15 percent offered girl characters for free." In one app, Disney’s Temple Run Oz, it costs $29.97 to become the only girl character. There's no excuse for this; it's outrageous, and companies like Disney are (knowingly) creating long term problems with this sort of policy (one wonders what their education products look like). The good news is in the response: Madeline Messer, a student in the 6th grade, is taking on this inequality with a damning exposé in the Washington Post. That's the good that internet access for all can do

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