Don’t Let Your Kids Play This Appalling Barbie Liposuction Game

Which one is better? Sigh.

Which one is better? Sigh.

As if we didn’t have enough fat shaming to go around, there’s a new game on the App Store called Plastic Surgery For Barbara, and it’s a doozy.

The idea here is that Barbara (or Barbie, if you will) is overweight. The developers want kids aged 12+ to play a game in which they can assume that fat is ugly, and that the only way to fix a weight problem is through surgery.

“Barbara likes to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and once she found out that she looks ugly,” says the App Store description. “She can’t make it up with this situation any additional second. And today plastic surgeon is going to make operation on her body and face in order to return cute Barbara’s look.”

So, she’s fat, which means she’s ugly, and she can’t wait any longer. If she just gets surgery, she’ll be “cute” again. Whew.

Gag.

Developer Games Banner Network has a host of apps on iTunes that are ostensibly targeted to girls, with titles like Polly Babysitter, and Beauty Makeover Miley Cyrus.

I wouldn’t let my kids play any of these, either, as they just reinforce the same stereotypical gender roles as the Barbie liposuction app. Girls care for children and focus on their looks, these apps say. None of them say that girls need to learn math and science as well as how to watch toddlers and apply makeup. None of these apps focus on a girl’s need to learn right from wrong, or practice a musical instrument, or read a book once in a while.

Plastic surgery for Barbara has kids cutting into the girl’s sides and face with a scalpel, and sucking out the fat from those areas. They then must stitch up the wounds.

Once Barbara is bandaged and recovered, children can then dress the thinner “after” Barbara up in a host of pretty clothes. Because, obviously only thin women can have nice clothing.

It’s appalling that this app exists, of course, but what’s worse is that it’s a reflection of how we all are trained to treat women as objects. If you want your kids to live in a less misogynist world, I’d say skip the apps about the shame of being overweight and introduce them to games that help them become better people, empathize with others, and maybe, just maybe, skip treating being overweight as a horrific condition requiring surgery.

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  • Andrew_X_Thomas

    I suppose there are a few percentage of people who find fat people beautiful. Most people don’t. The author of this article should ask himself to be honest and do a self-query as to whether or not he would ever date/see/marry a fat girl. I’m sure this game is quite tasteless on it’s own merits, but pointing out that “fat” is ugly is simply what most people tend to perceive. If you like being fat, or seeing fatness and all the negative health repercussions that go along with that lifestyle, so be it. Most people aren’t.

  • mister_rabbit

    Great article.

    Fat shaming is already a huge social problem, games/app like this are simply sickening in that they could work as a way to slipstream the ideas into children even faster. Kids already have to hear this crap from the media, their parents, friends (who’ve been brought up the same way), etc. Now they are seeing it in games? Absolutely appalling. These horrible ideas simply lead to body image issues, self esteem issues, etc in people. Not just adults & teens, but pre teens and younger.

    What’s worse, as Rob pointed out, is that this app focuses on the “quick and easy” method for “fixing fat” by using liposuction. This does nothing to reinforce healthy eating (aside from the engrish dialogue), exercise, lifestyle changes, etc that should be promoted for folks that DO want to lose weight.

    Disclaimer – I’m one of that “few percentage” that Andrew_X_Thomas mentions who finds fat people beautiful. I don’t discriminate against thinner females but as a rule my eyes are almost always drawn (in a good way) to the chubby/fat girl in a crowd long before they’re drawn to a skinny girl. But really, my disgust here isn’t fueled by my love for fat girls, it’s fueled by the sadness that this is where society has ended up, a place where a game like this could even be conceived. People are people, all (within reason, Hitler, Hussein, etc) are worthy of love & respect. Not just skinny people, not just black people, not just men, etc.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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