Apple and Google Pull Barbie 'Plastic Surgery' App Aimed at 9-Year-Olds
Sometimes there are two sides to an issue, and sometimes there's, well, this. On Wednesday, Apple and Google removed a Barbie-inspired "plastic surgery app" from their app stores. The "Plastic Surgery & Plastic Doctor & Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie Version" app was a sort of liposuction game that went a little something like this: the player was presented with an "unfortunate" girl with "so much extra weight" that the player was instructed to graphically cut the girl open, remove her fat, and stitch her up to make her "slim and beautiful." We're not making this up. The app was targeted at kids aged nine and above.
The creator of the game is known only as "corina rodriquez," and she's the owner of several other approved apps with a similar "makeover" theme. Prepare to wince at her description of the Barbie makeover app:
"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?"
The player is taught how to put local anesthetic on areas of Barbara's body, make incisions using a scalpel, and suction out fat. This process is then repeated on different areas of the body. Once the surgery is over, you can play "dress-up" on the now-slimmer cartoon patient.
Post-surgery "Barbara" bears a strong resemblance to Barbie — which is always a sign that something's gone wrong, really — though it doesn't seem like Barbie creator Mattel has had any involvement.
When women's-rights group Everyday Sexism Project found out about the app, they started a Twitter campaign to get it removed, which prompted Apple and Google Play to pull it. Thousands of furious Twitter users lashed out against Apple, and the company quietly removed "Plastic Surgery & Plastic Doctor & Plastic Hospital Office for Barbie Version," while still leaving Rodriquez' other apps intact.
It's not the first time an app has slipped through the cracks of Apple and Google's app-approval process. The Make Me Asian app, which turned self-portraits into Asian caricatures, was pulled from Google Play after a petition on Charge.org was signed by thousands of people demanding that it be taken down.
Other apps that have been forcibly pulled after uproar over their content include Baby Shaker, iHottiez, and iBoobs. (You can use your imagination.) An app called Obama Trampoline, which featured Obama et al bouncing around the Oval Office, was also removed after Apple decided that a pants-less Bill Clinton wasn't appropriate. Also, Bill Clinton is no longer in the Oval Office, but, details.