Extreme makeover for little girls

My daughter just showed me something pretty awful: a game on an online game site for children. It’s called ‘Extreme Makeover’, and yes, it is exactly what it sounds like. You have an avatar – a virtual doll – and you give her a makeover. You start with the nose – a nose job of course (you cut with a scalpel along a dotted line). Because all little girls need to think about having a presentable nose, any old nose (with character) will certainly not do. After that, it’s the cheeks: collagen cheek injections for plumper cheeks, and then the same of course – collagen injections again – for plumper lips. After that you use a hammer and a chisel to sculpt the jawbone (I don’t even know what the correct term for that is), and then finish with hair implants for thicker and fuller hair. Now the doll/avatar/virtual self is ready for the spa. But before that she needs to lose weight of course because that’s what you have to do if you’re a girl and you want to be pretty. Unfortunately I was so aghast that I can’t remember exactly how much weight this virtual doll managed to lose, but I think it must have been about 30 pounds or almost 14 kilos.

Let’s let that sink in for a moment.

Can someone explain to me how anyone in their right mind can think that it’s ok to develop a game like this for little girls? For anyone? Girls have enough to deal with as it is with the over-sexualization of girlhood and pressures to be thin, pretty, desired, and demure. We have cultural ideals that send them the most mixed and ambiguous messages, and now we’re not only teaching little girls that it’s what you look like on the outside that counts, we’re also normalizing going to any lengths to achieve that perfect look. It’s drastic plastic or nothing girls! It’s insane, it’s shocking, and, frankly, it’s disgusting.

Help me out here. How do we get this game taken off the internet?

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2 thoughts on “Extreme makeover for little girls

  1. my two girls, 16 and 11, came across this game the other day and were playing it over the week end. They thought it was hysterical… From my perspective it is no worse than any of the other dress up games, make over games, day spa, or hair salon games. This type of game is just a drop in the bucket with what is wrong with our world and trying to get the game deleted will probably have no result. It is also a reflection of what the media bombards us with. Beauty is a multi billion dollar industry- just look how difficult it is to even suggest that beauty is not an image that looks like a Barbie doll. So I focus on my own family…my girls love to paint their nails and have their hair done, but they also play hockey and downhill bike. They want to look pretty but they also want to get good grades. They ski, snowboard and dance. My 16 year old loves WW2 history and also loves art. My 11 year old hates math but loves to do science experiments and has an obsession with lip balm. I can’t change the media or how we are told what is beautiful but I can teach my girls to be respectful, strong, polite, intelligent people and to have self confidence and teach them that beauty is for sale on the outside but it is the inside that you can’t buy.

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    • Thank you for your comment! You are so right about this game just being one of many things that are wrong in the world. I also realize that this isn’t the only game like this out there. I do however think that it’s worse than regular dress up games; I think it’s terrible to normalize plastic surgery for children. Your girls sound lovely, and like my daughter they are capable of thinking critically. Everyone can’t, but maybe it’s also a matter of age, much younger girls also play this game and they are probably much more susceptible. I find it highly problematic and even though I don’t actually think I can get this specific game off the internet, and I know that even if I could there are more just like this and worse out there, I still don’t want to think that there is no point in doing anything because we can’t change the world anyway. If that’s what everyone thought we would never have change. What I can do with this blog is raise issues and participate in a discussion, that’s something. And in the meantime, like you, I focus on my own kids, talk to them and provide them with tools to think critically and nagivate contemporary culture, both the good and the bad.

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