An app aimed at children aged 9 and over, in which users perform plastic surgery on “fat” Barbie to make her “slim and beautiful” has been removed from the Apple app store and Google Play store after thousands of complaints.
The women’s rights group, Everyday Sexism, raised awareness of this app, and urged users to petition for its removal from the app store.
Former British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons president Nigel Mercer also slammed the app, saying: "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.”
The app’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?”
In the game, users first identify Barbie’s 6 “problem areas”, and then begin work on her stomach.
The game becomes pretty gory, with users first injecting the stomach with anaesthetic, then making an incision with a scalpel. Next the liposuction machine is attached to pump the fat out of the stomach – several times on her big problem areas.
Next the wound must be stitched up and covered with bandages. This process, which is very graphic for a nine year old, is repeated all over Barbie’s body, before the user finally gets to work on this “unfortunate girl’s” fat face.
In just 5 days Barbie’s bandages are ready to be taken off, which reveal the “slim and beautiful” Barbie we are familiar with.
When Barbie is finally slim and beautiful she’s allowed a makeover and new clothes.
The game ends by comparing the before and after Barbie and congratulating the young girls this game is aimed at for their excellent plastic surgery skills.
This ‘game’ which has been heavily criticised for encouraging impressionable young girls to develop body issues and unhealthy ideas of beauty, has been removed from the app store but an almost identical app named “Plastic Surgery for Barbara” remains.