Plastic Surgery for Barbie App Removed After Outrage Over Sexism

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Plastic Surgery for Barbie App Removed After Outrage Over Sexism

Plastic Surgery for Barbie

An unofficial Barbie game about plastic surgery was marketed to children and taken down after Twitter protests.

Apple and Google removed two similar games about plastic surgery in which children are encouraged to "fix" a patient through liposuction from the iTunes App Store and Google Play. Twitter users launched a campaign on Jan. 14 to bring awareness of and call for the removal of Plastic Surgery & Plastic Doctor & Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie and Plastic Surgery because of the game's harmful messaging and marketing to young girls.

Pulled from the iTunes App store and Google Play on Jan. 14, Plastic Surgery for Barbie's description reads, "This unfortunate girl has so much extra weight that no diet can help her. In our clinic she can go through a surgery called liposuction that will make her slim and beautiful. We'll need to make small cuts on problem areas and suck out the extra fat. Will you operate her, doctor?" The game is marketed to players at least nine years old and uses the familiar presence of Barbie to entice young girls to play the free app.

A similar game pulled had a similar description but instead uses a character named Barbara, depicted like Mattel's Barbie, who "likes to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and once she found that she looks ugly." The plastic surgeon will "make operation on her body and face in order to return cute Barbara's look."

Everyday Sexism, a campaign that documents examples of daily sexism, tweeted pictures of the apps, asking Apple and Google to remove them. Both were removed.

A Google spokesman said the company does not comment on individual apps, "but will remove apps that breach our guidelines." Apple has not issued a statement.

The former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons told the BBC the games' rhetoric is damaging to women. "This app blatantly and shamelessly uses child-friendly brand names to target young, vulnerable children and exposes them to sexist and disturbing rhetoric as the 'game' critiques the body of a cartoon character who does not conform to an unrealistic beauty standard," he said. "That Apple or Google could condone this disgraceful app as a game suitable for children is no less than sickening."

Toy manufacturer Mattel issued a statement, distancing itself from Plastic Surgery for Barbie, which did not have authorization to use Barbie's branding. "This app has since been removed from iTunes," Mattel stated. "At Mattel, we take our commitment to children seriously and work hard to ensure there are no unauthorized uses of our brands that may be unsafe or inappropriate for children."

Source: BBC

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Yeah, I'm not gonna lie. Barbie's plastic surgery? Seriously, that is pretty fucked. Remember the days when she used to be president?

Wait, Barbie is a doll, isn't all surgery plastic surgery?

On a slightly more serious note, no, just no.

I find this hilaroius, really barbie plastic surgery, brilliant, how about boob reductions, facelifts to keep her young, beautifully twisted.

steam should greenlight this :P.

Looking at the screenshot provided in the article, I'd think all that bruising and scarring would be good motivation for 9 year olds to avoid plastic surgery. With some different wording in the description, maybe it could have been (or was originally intended to be) more of an "awareness" title.

Addendum: I'm surprised Valeria Lukyanova isn't involved in the dispute.

As fucked up as this is, I'm not exactly sure how it promotes sexism of all things.

you can have the barbie keep asking for more stuff, meanwhile her face gets more and more twisted and alien looking as things go i think its a great thing and could be wonderful tool for children to show the pitfalls of putting this idea in girls heads that they have to meet some idea from tv and such, nm when people take it too far and just start to look like freaks.

i think the only thing the plastic surgeon industry would object to was they want to sell this stuff like getting a wart removed, and the most natural wholesome thing in the world to have toxins injected into your lips and your eyes, have your scalp sliced open the pulled tight and stiched back together. mmm mmm good.

Except for marketing to kids, these sound like the kind of games that you can find on Newgrounds. In fact, I wonder if the nutjobs trying to get kids to play these games found something similar on a comedy site.

"At Mattel, we take our commitment to children seriously and work hard to ensure there are no unauthorized uses of our brands that may be unsafe or inappropriate for children." "Yeah, it's not ok for anyone to make something with Barbie in it, but we can still make a doll that has the physique of a model and loves constant shopping and driving in expensive cars. That'll show girls they need to be good little capitalists and give us more money." Sorry, I just had to dig at that a little.

cerebus23:
you can have the barbie keep asking for more stuff, meanwhile her face gets more and more twisted and alien looking as things go i think its a great thing and could be wonderful tool for children to show the pitfalls of putting this idea in girls heads that they have to meet some idea from tv and such, nm when people take it too far and just start to look like freaks.

i think the only thing the plastic surgeon industry would object to was they want to sell this stuff like getting a wart removed, and the most natural wholesome thing in the world to have toxins injected into your lips and your eyes, have your scalp sliced open the pulled tight and stiched back together. mmm mmm good.

Yeah, they should edit the game to do that and have Barbie end up looking like that crazy lady that wanted the face of a cat by the end of the game.

Mahorfeus:
As fucked up as this is, I'm not exactly sure how it promotes sexism of all things.

roseofbattle:

A similar game pulled had a similar description but instead uses a character named Barbara, depicted like Mattel's Barbie, who "likes to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and once she found that she looks ugly." The plastic surgeon will "make operation on her body and face in order to return cute Barbara's look."

To answer your question, the whole programmed response that a girl isn't worth anything unless she looks like a Stepford Wife on a heroine binge. It's especially bad considering the whole "potentially painful and dangerous" part by bringing in elective surgeries like this.

I mean really, the description even comes with 'she's worth less as a human because she ate a cheeseburger'.

Mahorfeus:
As fucked up as this is, I'm not exactly sure how it promotes sexism of all things.

How is a game about how a Barbie like character is resorting to surgery to make her look better, thereby implying that if she doesn't look perfect she has less worth as a person, not sexist?

Anyone else find it disturbing that we've got a group now saying what games we can or cannot buy because they have sa problem with it? I mean sure the game isn't one I'd buy, but come on, when I was a kid I played games that encouraged, speeding, reckless driving, running over people, and of course shooting everying that isn't you....not to mention ripping people's spines out... seriously, but a game about plastic surgery gets the 'THIS MUST BE STRICKEN FROM THE STORES'

I see this more as a body image issue than a sexism issue. If the game was about giving liposuction to men, it would still be bad.

Vivi22:

Mahorfeus:
As fucked up as this is, I'm not exactly sure how it promotes sexism of all things.

How is a game about how a Barbie like character is resorting to surgery to make her look better, thereby implying that if she doesn't look perfect she has less worth as a person, not sexist?

Or it can be used that a perfectly pretty person can have self image issues, nm famous pretty people with their picture everywhere, or she has some mental condition that makes her cumpulsive about this stuff, all sorts of triggers why some people would be driven to go under the knife to extremes even when they look good and healthy as is.

Be really wicked if the game asked after a certain point.

Barbie is a doll. What if she were a real person?
What are you going to do "doctor"?

what is too far there are sorts of ethical and mental issues that could be explored in this area. is not as cut in dry and sexism because some "hot" doll wants to go under the knife she is a doll she has no self motivation is what you do with the doll you sick twisted pervert. that is the point.

even for kids there are some good questions to ask oneself about this stuff and explore.

cerebus23:

even for kids there are some good questions to ask oneself about this stuff and explore.

Which would be great, if the premise wasn't "please help her, she has a non-0 BMI".

Or she was doing it for a man or men in general that would be sexist and etc. or ken made her do it to look pretty for him stuff. not even legal in the real world at all i dont think for someone to get operated on under those listed as reasons why you want a new nose or a new cheeks.

But ther is a wealth of stuff that could be explored int he game some of it could be very benificial to look at some things from some one else's viewpoint, like people not getting why a pretty person might not be happy with their own image.

While a 'Surgeon Simulator: Plastic Surgery Edition' sort of thing could potentially be interesting, the app here is just plain messed up. And that description; "Barbara's fat! Isn't she awful and inhuman for it?" is just plain messed up. And it's targeted at children?!

Normally I find the whole calls to get rid of video games ridiculous, but this should be taken down immediately.

Vivi22:

Mahorfeus:
As fucked up as this is, I'm not exactly sure how it promotes sexism of all things.

How is a game about how a Barbie like character is resorting to surgery to make her look better, thereby implying that if she doesn't look perfect she has less worth as a person, not sexist?

Because fat men don't receive anymore tolerance than women.
The fact that the games only display a female character can be read as sexist. If the game contained Cake-eating-Ken as well, there would be no problem in the sexism department.

But the mere fact that the game promotes the idea "Thin = Pretty and desirable, Fat = Ugly and in need of correction" has nothing to do with sexism. That is just good old fatty-bashing, which is a different issue.

Not every issue that concerns women can be classified as sexism.

Even leaving all that aside, I would not grant children access to this kind of material, since sexism or no, it does not promote a healthy way of thinking.

BigTuk:
Anyone else find it disturbing that we've got a group now saying what games we can or cannot buy because they have sa problem with it? I mean sure the game isn't one I'd buy, but come on, when I was a kid I played games that encouraged, speeding, reckless driving, running over people, and of course shooting everying that isn't you....not to mention ripping people's spines out... seriously, but a game about plastic surgery gets the 'THIS MUST BE STRICKEN FROM THE STORES'

The difference here is, it was marketed towards young girls. Those games you mentioned didn't use blatant and obvious marketing techniques to get young children to play them. That was a decision of your parents to bypass its rating and let you play them. This was the use of something children already identify with in order to bypass parents.

Either way they took the laziest common route, tossed barbie in because they hate her, and it will get sales and put it out, how they do not get sued out the gate for the barbie bit is a bit beyond me.

But really it is a great core idea for stuff. if someone put some work and thought into it you could do all sorts of intriguing stuff, ditch the barbie name tho we dont want to be sued. :p

Almost everyone has self image issues.

The role societal pressures play on those issues.

The stresses of celebrity and those pressures to look good.

Compulsive disorders that might compound self image issues.

The doctors role vs the patients wants. of course add in some bling for each operation performed, so you get new stuff each time you sell something to your client. so you got that ethical issue overhanging.

new mercadies benz and all you have to to is put in them triple DDDs your patient wanted. despite it not fitting her frame, it ruining her back, so on, hmm new car vs her health....

Each lipo is a new rolex watch, so how fit is too fit for lipo then? when do you tell your patient to go diet and exercise vs the knife?

fun stuff :P.

oh man, what a great way to wake up in the morning, laughing at this. everything about it is hilarious, and i can just hear the "barbie" type voice spieling out something like "hi, im barbie, and im getting a face lift so that i don't look like a 52 year old lizard!"

Are people really stupid enough not to see the real message this game has? It's a parody of Barbie and her super-skinny looks (who according to a lot of people is good role-model for small girls). Who would honestly feel the need to get liposuction after seeing the gory details of how its done. If I were a 9 year old girl I'd be put off it permanently!

This game is, through parody, actually giving the same message that these Everyday Sexism people are. Maybe you don't agree with the method of delivering that message, but Barbie is the one who's presenting young children with so called 'everyday sexism' when it comes to the pressure for girls to be super-skinny and wear pink at all times. This is clearly intended for adults, and the way it appears to be aimed at children is to hammer home the point that this is the stereotype that little girls look up to. The joke is that this game may as well exist as a fully accepted part of society.

MCerberus:
I mean really, the description even comes with 'she's worth less as a human because she ate a cheeseburger'.

Colonel Mustard:
While a 'Surgeon Simulator: Plastic Surgery Edition' sort of thing could potentially be interesting, the app here is just plain messed up. And that description; "Barbara's fat! Isn't she awful and inhuman for it?" is just plain messed up. And it's targeted at children?!

Normally I find the whole calls to get rid of video games ridiculous, but this should be taken down immediately.

Yeah, and you don't see the joke in that, with it's stupidly over-the-top description? This game isn't sexist, it's a mockery of the stereotypes that Barbie feeds to small girls.

Really.. is there anything that social justice warriors won't leave alone?

This is ridiculous. It is BAD to be fat and I'm not convinced that the fact that I *like* chainmail bikinis and good looking women on my screen is somehow bad, especially when men are just as hyper-sexualized as women but that's somehow a non-issue. The only thing I can see thats wrong with this is that they supposedly marketed to children, but other than that.. all I got to say is give it a fucking rest people.

LOL, ah that's some creepy shit.

Still, I don't fully understand the outrage, people would have to pay for this shit in order to play it, so who in the right mind would buy this crap? Do we really think so little of girls that we actually believe they can fall for this bullshit?

Then again, they did target it at 9 year olds... Fucking creepy as hell.

BigTuk:
Anyone else find it disturbing that we've got a group now saying what games we can or cannot buy because they have sa problem with it? I mean sure the game isn't one I'd buy, but come on, when I was a kid I played games that encouraged, speeding, reckless driving, running over people, and of course shooting everying that isn't you....not to mention ripping people's spines out...

So you played a game that actually outtright fourth wall-breaking said it was a good idea to go out and do stuff like that without any sense of irony? Because even GTA doesn't reach that low.

Additionally, this wasn't some evil group deciding to remove the game like how many groups in the past would burn books to censor opposing beliefs, this was Apple and Google deciding to remove the game. They could have kept the game on their services if they wanted to, but they didn't. The game can still go to market elsewhere, if somebody wants it so badly. Or at least, it can until Mattel sues the living hell out of them for copyright infringement, but the fact that the Barbie trademark was infringed upon is irrelevant to the overall content of the game.

cerebus23:
Or it can be used that a perfectly pretty person can have self image issues, nm famous pretty people with their picture everywhere, or she has some mental condition that makes her cumpulsive about this stuff, all sorts of triggers why some people would be driven to go under the knife to extremes even when they look good and healthy as is.

Be really wicked if the game asked after a certain point.

Barbie is a doll. What if she were a real person?
What are you going to do "doctor"?

what is too far there are sorts of ethical and mental issues that could be explored in this area. is not as cut in dry and sexism because some "hot" doll wants to go under the knife she is a doll she has no self motivation is what you do with the doll you sick twisted pervert. that is the point.

even for kids there are some good questions to ask oneself about this stuff and explore.

Alexander Kirby:
Are people really stupid enough not to see the real message this game has? It's a parody of Barbie and her super-skinny looks (who according to a lot of people is good role-model for small girls). Who would honestly feel the need to get liposuction after seeing the gory details of how its done. If I were a 9 year old girl I'd be put off it permanently!

That concept could make a good game suitable for people to experience and learn from, but these aren't those game. This isn't the Spec Ops: The Line of plastic surgery. It delivers it unironically with no sense of self-consciousness or with any tone that plastic surgery is a negative thing. Moreso, its directed at such a young audience that I don't think they'd come away with that kind of message, and that they'd take it at face value.

Exterminas:
...But the mere fact that the game promotes the idea "Thin = Pretty and desirable, Fat = Ugly and in need of correction" has nothing to do with sexism. That is just good old fatty-bashing, which is a different issue.

I'm inclined to somewhat disagree. While yes, its an issue for both sexes, the threshold for fat tolerance for women is much, much lower than it is for men. Not only that, its often acceptable for men to have extra weight if they're somewhat physically fit or muscular, whereas being skinny, even at the expense of physical health in strength, is generally portrayed more positively than it is to be about average or even fit. So while it is an issue for both sexes, men don't receive nearly as much negativity for being, say, 150 pounds at 5'6", than a woman does. And those numbers aren't random - they both fall in line in the "healthy weight" categories of the BMI scale[1].

[1] While I'll admit the BMI is wrong in a lot of way, but that is besides the point, as 5'6" and 150 pounds is indeed a healthy weight for an adult.

How is performing surgery on a plastic doll sexist?

It really has become the all purpose outrage buzzword hasn't it.

"Dracula kills an entire family leaving only the woman alive to feed. THAT'S SEXIST!!!"

It's an undead inhumane monster who is supposed to be the villain... how hard did your mother drop you when you were a baby because that is some severe brain damage you are suffering from.

Why not actually raise concerns about marketing a game centred around unironically correcting self image issues with surgery to children? Why does sexism need to enter the picture at all when you have about a thousand other legitimate reasons you could bash this game for? Because it's a female character? Would you still have raised such a stink if it was a game about giving fat people liposuctions?

Well, I'm apparently in the minority here yet again (surprise) but I really fail to see any big deal here on any level. Face it, plastic surgery exists, people want to be attractive, and billions are spent on cosmetic surgery and things like liposuction every year. It does provide an option for people who want to artificially do things like adjust weight and/or remove blemishes or change their features in some way.

The way I see it is that this just like any other "doctor" game, and looking at the examples and pictures it seems to be being fairly "honest" when it comes to the bruising and such involved in the procedures. What's more the examples involved here like "some fattie with self esteem issues comes in and wants to have extensive liposuction and cosmetic reconstruction now that they have hit the lottery" is pretty much the kind of client a cosmetic surgeon is going to attract to pay the bills. The cases where your doing reconstruction after an extreme accident are going to represent the minority of your typical practice. I suppose if they chose examples like "Joe, the 300 pound Ex-marine and career trucker has just completed his transgender surgery and completed his lifelong dream of becoming 'Stephanie' he has come to you to make him beautiful in his new life as a girl, within a budget of the eight hundred thousand dollars that represent the remnants of the funds from the second and third mortgages on his mother's house, try and make his dreams come true using these centerfolds as a guideline for the results he wants..." people would complain too. :)

All kidding aside, plastic surgery being almost entirely frivolous the jokes almost write themselves here, but it's not a bad idea for medical simulator. You have to understand though it's by it's very nature going to be pretty "silly" or "sexist" or whatever with people coming in to secretly try and have years removed, melatonin levels adjusted, weight sucked away, noses straightened or changed, and similar things, and to someone something negative can ALWAYS be inferred from this which is why it tends to be so secret and most cases, there does tend to be a stigma attached to people who have gone under the knife, especially in Hollywood.

Once you more or less acknowledge it is a field of medicine, and shouldn't be simply omitted as a game subject for that reason, one has to ask the question of how exactly this would be done without it being offensive to someone given that a lot of the procedures get attention to begin with as I pointed out. For example a lot of people complain about plastic surgeons lightening people's skin tones, something a lot of black models and actresses and such have been accused of doing for years, with accusations about racism, arguments for ethnic pride, and everything else being made around it, but that's still the kind of job a plastic surgeon is going to take to pay the bills.

Alexander Kirby:

MCerberus:
I mean really, the description even comes with 'she's worth less as a human because she ate a cheeseburger'.

Colonel Mustard:
While a 'Surgeon Simulator: Plastic Surgery Edition' sort of thing could potentially be interesting, the app here is just plain messed up. And that description; "Barbara's fat! Isn't she awful and inhuman for it?" is just plain messed up. And it's targeted at children?!

Normally I find the whole calls to get rid of video games ridiculous, but this should be taken down immediately.

Yeah, and you don't see the joke in that, with it's stupidly over-the-top description? This game isn't sexist, it's a mockery of the stereotypes that Barbie feeds to small girls.

I'm about 99% sure this isn't a case of Poe's Law

There are people out there that think that a game entitled; Sugar Daddy , isn't mysognigistic and thinks that women would love an endless runner where uyou play as a cartoon Paris Hilton clone picking up old men to pay for shoes.

Why do idiot's have money?

Why are people claiming that this is supposed to be a 'ironic' game, or one that's supposed to have some sort of hidden anti-surgery message? From the links given, what I see is that you are given a fat girl and told to make her thin. She is described as ugly because she ate too many hamburgers and that "no diet will help her, only surgery will make her slim and beautiful". You even get to compare the original patient and the result after you're finished, FFS. How is that not wrong? How can you claim that there's some ironic message there that nine-year old girls of all people are supposed to understand?!

I'm loathe to jump on the "BAN THIS SEXIST SHIT" bandwagon, but these programs clearly don't promote a healthy way of thinking, and at best the content contains shameless fat-bashing. I don't really care that it only contains women patients and is marketed towards girls: this is a shameless POS that un-ironically creates the idea that you're less of a person just because you ate a few too many hamburgers. Please stop pretending that little Suzie is going to understand some imaginary deeper meaning BS behind this game.

Oh right, using Barbie's image without permission was just plain daft as well. Nicely done, morons.

Just rename the game and either make it genderless or add a male... problem solved.

Sofus:
Just rename the game and either make it genderless or add a male... problem solved.

Implying that the only thing wrong with this debacle is that it's a woman getting the treatment in the program...

What really disturbs me about the plastic surgery business is just how many intelligent women consider it to be simply another completely normal beauty routine. I'm sure a lot of you have heard of the TV show, The Apprentice. The last winner of the original (and way better) English version was a young A* student woman who wanted to go into business with Sir Alan Sugar to... open a plastic surgery chain. And she herself looked like a barbie doll despite fantastic grades, being well spoken, etc.

That kind of thing terrifies me. Girls, you don't ever need to go under a knife for anything. If you're not happy with your weight, eat a little less and move around some more. Don't like your nose? I guarantee someone will find it cute. Oh and for Christ's sake, leave your lips alone.

I am not at all surprised that these apps existed, simply because of how prevalent this is becoming. Worryingly, I'm pretty sure there are thousands of mothers out there right now who have undergone plastic surgery and are encouraging their daughters to also.

At first I thought it's some kind of satire app from some anti-plastic-surgery group. You know, PETA style. Then I read the thread and wondered if I somehow slipped into the GTA universe. I mean seriously...

Sure, young girls like to play doctor. But that's usually the run-off-the-mill cliche doctor, and not some particular field of surgery. But I guess that'd be the naive way to look at things. The creator did that for a reason, though I fail to see it. Conspiracy by the league of plastic surgeons?

And yeah, the usual sexism bullshit. I think that term is being used inflationary, stripping it of all meaning.

Seriously, what is sexist about that game? Females having an unhealthy relationship to their own body due to pop cultural influences? That isn't sexist, that's a representation of the current state of society. Would it be more acceptable if it featured a man getting hair implants or fake abs? Or does the game say that "Barbara" is an unattractive female and therefore requires plastic surgery in order to be attractive to men at any point?

This kind of bullshit made me despise the feminist movement, but since I already got a strike for disapproving of feminism, I better stop at this point.

WouldYouKindly:
Wait, Barbie is a doll, isn't all surgery plastic surgery?

That's the beautiful irony.

MarsAtlas:
That concept could make a good game suitable for people to experience and learn from, but these aren't those game. This isn't the Spec Ops: The Line of plastic surgery. It delivers it unironically with no sense of self-consciousness or with any tone that plastic surgery is a negative thing. Moreso, its directed at such a young audience that I don't think they'd come away with that kind of message, and that they'd take it at face value.

I understand your point that children may get the wrong impression from this game, but as I said, I honestly think this is intended for adults. Have you played the game, because you seem pretty sure of its tone. While I haven't actually played it, if we look at quotes from its description such as "she's worth less as a human because she ate a cheeseburger" it's pretty obvious to me from just how over the top it is that its taking the piss. Would a plastic surgeon wanting to indoctrinate children use language such as that? How many 8 year olds do you know who would even understand what being worth less as a human means?

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