London - A computer game that encourages children as young as nine to carry out plastic surgery on a Barbie-type character has been dumped by Apple after protests from 4 000 Twitter users.
The youngsters are told of a woman who has “so much extra weight that no diet can help her” and that liposuction makes people “slim and beautiful”.
The game, which could be downloaded from Apple iTunes, tells players they can help this ‘unfortunate girl’ by making cuts on problem areas and “suck out the extra fat”.
Outraged, a women’s rights group called Everyday Sexism posted a link to the game on Twitter, urging users to complain to iTunes that the app was damaging to young women’s self esteem and at risk of encouraging impressionable youngsters to develop body issues. One, Sarah Eldred, wrote: “Oh dear lord, this is awful! Is this really a game designed for little girls?”
Sue Black said: “This is disgusting and offensive. Please withdraw this product immediately.”
Sara Lin Wilde added: “Surely you can do better than a game that tells kids how plastic surgery is part of being pretty.”
Apple did not respond to the requests but removed the game from its platform.
The app called “Plastic Surgery & Plastic Doctor & Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie version” was released earlier this month by the developers Corina Game.
The Twitter campaign criticised another plastic surgery app on Google Play, called Plastic Surgery, that can be used by players of all ages. It is estimated to have been installed between 500 000 and 1 million times.
The game’s description reads: “Barbara likes to eat a lot of burgers and chocolates and once she found that she looks ugly.”
Google removed the app this week.
A Girl Guides survey found that 87 percent of girls aged 11 to 21 think women are judged more on their appearance than on their ability. And 60 percent of 11 to 21-year-olds said they have had comments about their appearance shouted at them at school, or have been shouted or whistled at in the street.