A plastic surgery app, in which users could suck out excess fat from a cartoon Barbie character, has been pulled off both iTunes and Google Play, due to public outcry via Twitter. Geared toward children as young as nine, the questionable game implored users to help “an unfortunate girl who has so much extra weight that no amount of diet and exercise can help her.”
While the heavy-set cartoon girl bears a striking resemblance to Mattel’s cherished Barbie doll, the company denies any affiliation with the game and says it had no knowledge of its existence. The app was developed by a woman whose other plastic surgery games for android devices included “Santa Eye Doctor” and “Beauty Nurse Makeover.”
In an era of surgically-enhanced movie stars and teen role models, it comes as no surprise that plastic surgery apps would soon make an appearance. But many argue such games are sending the wrong type of message to young girls, especially given the high rate of cyber bullying over physical appearances. The deleted app offered opportunities to make small cuts on the Barbie look-a-like’s problem areas, suctioning out unwanted fat to make her thinner, and much more “fashionable.”
However, once the volunteer project Everyday Sexism got wind of the app last month, they poured their energy into a social media campaign to get the game removed, relaying their message to more than 117,000 Twitter followers. Laura Bates, Everyday Sexism founder, told ABCNews.com, “To send those messages so blatantly to girls as young as 9 seemed really damaging.”
Apple deleted the controversial app along with a similar version entitled, “Plastic Surgery for Barbara.” And while Mattel never approved the likeness or name of their Barbie character in either game, the manufacturer continues to refute any relationship. “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,” commented Mattel spokesman Alan Hilowitz.
Time reports that Apple still has a plastic surgery simulator on its servers that asserts “beauty is a right.”
“Plastic surgery shouldn’t be looked at as something frivolous or as a game – particularly among impressionable children,” comments Dr. Thomas Loeb, one of Manhattan’s leading plastic surgeons. “However, for many people –adolescents and adults alike – cosmetic surgery can have a profoundly positive impact on their self-esteem and confidence, changing lives for the better. It may be going too far to say that ‘beauty is a right,’ but feeling positive about yourself and confident in the way you look should be everyone’s right.”
The “Barbara” app may make plastic surgery seem like an easy fix for those with body image issues, but in reality, any type of surgery is a major decision, and one that needs careful consideration and healthy motivations. Cosmetic surgery procedures are in high demand by both women and men, but it’s crucial that prospective patients educate themselves before embarking on any type of treatment, whether non-invasive or more substantial.
If you are interested in learning more about plastic surgery in New York City and would like to schedule a private consultation with Dr. Loeb, please call our Fifth Avenue office at 212-327-3700.
Learn more about NYC plastic surgeon Dr. Thomas Loeb.
ABC News, Plastic Surgery Barbie Game Deleted From iTunes http://abcnews.go.com/Health/plastic-surgery-barbie-game-deleted-itunes/story?id=21546714
TIMES, Sexist Plastic Surgery App for Kids Pulled from Apple Store http://newsfeed.time.com/2014/01/16/sexist-plastic-surgery-app-for-kids-pulled-from-apple-store/