Remember the good old days when Barbie’s only crime was representing an unattainable body image for young women? Well, that was long before kids were able to subject her to the plastic surgeon’s knife.
As reported by Jezebel, Apple’s app store pulled a Barbie-themed plastic surgery app from its website yesterday, roughly one week after it was introduced, following Twitter backlash led by the account @EverydaySexism.
Recommended for children aged 9 and up, the app, titled “Plastic Surgery & Plastic Doctor & Plastic Hospital Office version for Barbie,” was created by a designer named Corina Rodriguez, and enabled the user to step into the role of liposuction doctor.
The introductory image of the app depicts an obese young woman vaguely resembling Barbie and a hurtful blurb stating, “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…”
The kicker: “We’ll need to make small cuts on problem areas and suck out the extra fat. Will you operate her, doctor?”
The app was made available as a free download last week on Apple’s iTunes store, but disappeared late Tuesday in obvious response to negative Twitter feedback.
As EverydaySexism originally tweeted: “Tweet @itunes if you think they should reconsider marketing this crap to players aged 9+.”
From a Twitter user named Tanya (@just_moi): “This crap shouldn’t be marketed to anyone whatever their age!”
From Ayala Prager (@ayalaprager): “Any plans to schedule Action Man for post-fight rhinoplasty? Thought not.”
And Marcus Barber (@rightfuture) posted a screen shot of the Barbie plastic-surgery app along with the comment, “Have just disconnected my 11yo daughter’s iPod from internet access due to this rubbish.”
Incredibly, there’s more than one plastic surgery app out there for kids.
As it turns out, there’s a similar app available on Google Play, which shows a blonde cartoon figure named Barbara lying on a hospital bed with surgery-marker lines all over her body.
In this instance, the crudely-written blurb reads, “Plastic surgeon is going to make operation on her body and face in order to return Barbara’s cute look.”
On Tuesday night, a Google spokesperson addressed the issue by saying, “We don’t comment on individual apps but will remove apps that breach our guidelines.”
In a separate statement, Everyday Sexism founder Laura Bates said, “It is just so sad that we are sending that message to children as young as 9 that the ideal body is all that they should be aiming for and that the way to get it is cutting their bodies apart.”
For the record, neither the iTunes app or the Google Play plastic-surgery app appear to have any connection to Mattel, the longtime manufacturers of the Barbie brand. The London Evening Standard reports that the company issued its own statement: “This app has nothing to do with Mattel or the Barbie brand. We will be looking into this use of the Barbie name.”