Google and Apple have pulled a very controversial plastic surgery game aimed at children from the Google Play and App Store.
The “Plastic Surgery for Barbie” allowed users aged 9 and up to perform cosmetic surgery on what it called an “ugly”, overweight girl.
Available as a free download, the app enabled children to perform a variety of procedures on “Barbie”, which involve making scalpel incisions, inserting syringes and performing liposuction before stitching her back up again.
After the treatments, you can compare the girl’s thinner and “prettier” appearance with her old self before the surgery.
Although Plastic Surgery for Barbie was removed from the Apple App Store, another entitled “Plastic Surgery for Barbara” still exists with the same premise and graphics. It is listed as suitable for users aged 12 and over though.
“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,” said Nigel Mercer, former president of the British Association for Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) in a statement.
“Even more shockingly, the app then encourages children to utilise surgery – going so far as to include images of syringes, scalpels and lipsuction cannulas – to ‘fix’ the patient, who is described as an ‘unfortunate girl.”
Founder of the Everyday Sexism project, Laura Bates, said the plastic surgery app are “incredibly damaging” to young girls’ idea of body image.
“We are calling on iTunes and Google Play to reconsider whether these kind of things are what their platforms want to be offering to children,” said Bates.
“It is just so sad that we are sending that message to children as young as nine that the ideal body is all that they should be aiming for and that they way to get it is by cutting their bodies apart.”
The plastic surgery apps caused a huge backlash from social media users for promoting plastic surgery to children.
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