Battling Islamophobia One Outfit at a Time

Polina D, Ashna G, Bianca H, Maisha H, Karla M

Growing up, when we played dress up games, there were never any diverse models or fashions, and we couldn’t see ourselves reflected in the games. We wanted to change this for future generations of young girls, and give them the opportunity to play games that reflected their race, religion, and showed diversity in professional careers. We made a dress up game that has options to add hijabs, different skin tones, and doctor, astronaut, and lawyer outfits to the model.

In recent years, the hate crimes against Muslims has been steadily increasing. In fact, half of Muslims in the United States admit that it has become more difficult to live in the U.S. as a Muslim. Following this grave issue is the lack of diversity of Muslim representation in games, especially dress up games that adhere to the modest fashion required by the Islamic standards. In addition, most of the dress up games that were available did not serve a greater purpose other than creating a cute outfit.

We decided that the best way to tackle the problem is by exposing girls at a young age. We believe that if girls are playing dress up games that show other girls wearing hijabs, or dressed as doctors and lawyers, they would normalize that image and see that girls can do more than just wear pretty clothes and makeup. They would also be able to envision themselves as anything they wanted to be, and see that reflected in our game. We made sure to include different skin tones and modest clothing that abided to the conducts of the Islamic faith to tackle the lack of diversity that existed before.

During the program, we only covered JavaScript for one day, so we didn’t have a solid knowledge about it. But, JavaScript was vital for our project, specifically the buttons on our Design tab to switch out the layers of clothes. We overcame our lack of knowledge by researching JavaScript commands and functions online, and by asking our teachers for help.

We are a group of five girls who are interested in coding and want to make a difference in the world. Since we were given the opportunity to make any project we wanted as part of the Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program, we made a game in order to combat Islamophobia. We wanted to combine our loves of fashion, coding, and awareness of social issues to create a project that could help others.

It started when we all played dress up games as kids and noticed the lack of diversity in the games. We wanted to see more characters with clothing from different cultures, as well as to be representative of different religions. For example, in Islam clothing is more modest, and we wanted clothing choices in the game to reflect that. By introducing young girls to people who look different than what society depicts them as, young girls get a wider perspective on the world.

This project was made by Girls Who Code Summer Immersion Program students at Pivotal.