When I babysat my neighbors' kids, I thought it was pretty weird that their youngest daughter spent most of her playtime with the family iPad. Even more disturbing were the games she chose to play, which usually consisted of cartoon girls getting ready for their princess weddings, going to the salon to get their hair and nails done, or to the spa to pop pimples (cue gag). As if these weren't bad enough, a new gang of games has cropped up that take the body primping to an entirely inappropriate and rage-worthy level.
Plastic Surgery for Barbara, describes an "unfortunate girl" who can't lose any weight through dieting so she must resort to surgery to make her "slim and beautiful" (yikes) and the players get to help her with the surgery. How fun! When I first heard of the games I thought it was a cruel joke. I had to see for myself. I checked iTunes and Google Play, and the apps were there, available for free, and unquestionably marketed towards children. I even tried playing the game on my iPhone, and was promptly disgusted. The only play to the game is mutilating a cartoon body--cutting, sewing and bandaging Barbra to get her closer to beauty. Needless to say, I was nauseas for a myriad of reasons.
Everyday Sexism launched a powerful Twitter campaign to ban the game and any of its other forms from iTunes and Google Play. The previous version of the game, titled Plastic Surgery & Plastic Doctor & Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie Version, was removed earlier today (1.14.14) but a version is still available for Android users via GooglePlay and the Android digital store. Let's hope they're just a little late it remembering that not everyone has an iPhone.
If you're are outraged as I am, click the link to tweet Google and Apple: http://goo.gl/Xul00o
Even if the public manages a take-down of this nasty and incredibly problematic game, countless other games that relegate little girls to being vapid, materialistic, fluffy princess wannabes are still available for play. All of these games exploit body shaming and beauty ideals, much like the plastic surgery game, in addition to other limiting sexist stereotypes. This take-down should be the beginning of a more critical look at the digital gaming world for children, and the other games that embody the same problematic stereotyping. Although other games may be less extreme, they are still equally harmful.
Thanks to Handbag
Image 1 Via Handbag
Image 2 Via App Dropp
The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.