Plastic Surgery Apps for Kids: Fat-Shaming-App-Gate.
iTunes & Google Play have removed the Plastic Surgery for Barbara app!!!
Also, the company representative who was responding to my email from Dressup Mix gave me permission to share her email (*Trigger Warning, Fat-Shaming). Here it is:
On Tuesday, Twitter was exploding. Over this: "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?" Source: iTunes Store
Slim and beautiful... Problem areas... This unfortunate girl...
I have a hard time finding the words to describe how wrong this app is. An app designed for children 9 and up. I have more to tell, so please read this discussion for a sampling of what is wrong with this app.
As you can imagine, the interwebs were angry and much tweeting ensured.
iTunes pulled that app... but, there was another... "Barbara likes to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and once she found out that she looks ugly. 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. She is afraid of all of this, but I know you will check that everything is over normally." Source: iTunes Store
This second app by Games Banner Network Inc. was getting mixed up with the one created by Corina Rodriguez, but it is a different app altogether. And, is still available on iTunes. The fact that this app is still available makes me wonder if the Barbie Edition was only removed due to potential copyright infringement and not due to its content. I tried looking for Games Banner Network on Twitter, with no luck.
I finally found them by clicking the company name in iTunes and came to their website. The loud pink theme presents a plethora of apps obviously designed for women and girls. Acne invasion, spending your parent's money, makeovers, Justin Beiber, you can find it all here. And of course one of their new games, released last December, Plastic Surgery for Barbara. I decided to write to the company and request that they remove this horrible app. It was short, simple, and to the point.
Hello, Please remove your plastic surgery app. Why would you want to promote this to young girls? Offensive and sexist does not even begin to cover it. Please take this down. Theresa
I had asked them why, and a few hours later, oh yeah, they told me. In the interest of potential privacy issues, I have chosen at this time not to reproduce the email response here. *I have contacted the company to ask if I may share their response with my readers... Stay tuned... But I will say that my impression is that the Plastic Surgery for Barbara app was created to make people see how awful it is to be overweight, that people should "stop doing what they do now to be fat" because of "how disgusting we are, when we eat too much." It is upsetting to see such attitudes in our society, for a variety of reasons. Not the least of which being: MY BODY CAN LOOK ANY GODDAMN WAY I WANT!!!!
The email also alluded to the fact that I should hate what I see in this app. I can only presume the authors means the existence of a once-cute-now-overweight-Barbara. When someone uses the word hate to when describing their work, we should be worried. Very worried. We shouldn't be exposed to this kind of hate at all, let alone through such a mainstream source. I am quite certain that the motives and attitudes of this developer were unknown to iTunes. I am hoping that after this, platforms such as Google Play and iTunes will make an earnest effort to review the apps that they distribute.
What we do matters, what we say matters, what we sell matters.