Apple and Google yanked plastic surgery games aimed at young girls from their app stores after a flood of feminist anger on Twitter, according to a report.
The games, called Plastic Surgery for Barbie or Plastic Surgery for Barbara at the App Store and Plastic Surgery on Google Play, were aimed at users aged 9 and up who could make incisions with a digital scalpel and perform liposuction, according to the BBC. On Google, the overweight girl needing liposuction was described as "ugly". She is also called "unfortunate" in another description.
A prominent British plastic surgeon said the app was disturbing. "This app blatantly and shamelessly uses child-friendly brand names [such as Barbie] 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," he told the BBC. "That Apple or Google could condone this disgraceful app as a game suitable for children is no less than sickening."
On Twitter, Everyday Sexism, the Twitter feed of the London-based Everyday Sexism Project, started a firestorm over the app with tweets
such as "@iTunes, if you could stop telling little girls that they'll never be good enough, that would be great".
However, it's unknown if it was the feminist outcry against the app or the power of Mattel, which produces the Barbie doll and owns the brand, that moved to get the unauthorized app banned from the App Store. From Mattel:
"This app has since been removed from iTunes. At Mattel, we take our commitment to children seriously and work hard to ensure there are no unauthorized uses of our brands that may be unsafe or inappropriate for children.
If there's anything that galvanizes app stores to yank sexist apps, it's copyright infringement and the threat of an impending lawsuit.
Published at 9:41 AM PST on Jan 17, 2014