Tuesday, January 14, 2014

When Barbie Gets Fat

There's a new IPad app. Have you heard of it? Maybe not because it's a game for children. It's called, wait for it..... Barbie Plastic Surgery. Obviously not affiliated with Mattel in any way, this game let's you cut Barbie open to perform liposuction because, guess what? She's gotten too fat. This page on buzzfeed takes you step by step through the process with screenshots if you have the stomach to go look at it. No, it's not graphic, but let's remember it's a game for kids. Specifically kids 9 and up. The game's description says "This unfortunate girl has so much extra weight that no diet can help her". So the solution is to cut her open and suck out the fat!

You've GOT to be fucking kidding me. Kids deal with messages day in and day out that being fat or even chubby is bad. According to The National Eating Disorder Association, 42% of girls in 1st through 3rd grade want to lose weight. 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of becoming fat. According to Teen Magazine, 50-70% of average weight teens think they're fat and 35% of girls ages 6-12 have dieted to lose weight. And let's not forget that teens who even think they're fat are at a higher risk for eating disorders, suicide attempts, depression, and more. And along comes a game for children that directly says if you're fat you need to be sliced open and operated on to make you worth something again.

And let's talk some about how liposuction doesn't even actually work. I mean, sure they suck the fat out and it's gone from that area for good, but the "problem" is that it returns- all of it. Just not in the same place. A study from the University of Colorado found that fat removed from the hips and lower abdomen tended to return in the upper area of the body over the course of about a year.

So what exactly are we teaching these kids and, let's be honest, mostly young girls, about how to view their body? To undergo risky surgery (and yes, every surgery carries risks) just to be acceptable? To be found beautiful? Not that we should be focusing on girl's and women's appearances in general, but to only feel beautiful when you fit a narrow standard is ridiculous. This is already a huge problem and it's only getting worse. Next thing you know there'll be stomach mutilating games (weight loss surgery) encouraging our young girls to go under the knife in an even more risky surgery in which 1 in 200 patients die. Cosmetic surgery can literally kill and that doesn't even count that 1/3 of people regain all of the weight in gastric bypass surgery and 63% gain some of the weight back and everyone regains the weight with liposuction surgery. So we're teaching our young girls to risk their lives for procedures that aren't even guaranteed to work. (and weight regain is only ONE possible side effect of weight loss surgery. The list of others is long and awful). All because of a growing war against fat people and the severe bigotry of fatphobia that goes along with it. This has got to stop and it has to stop now. We can't afford to lose more of our children to hate.

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