Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sex & Candy or shall I say Sex & Barbie?

While adventuring through the pink virtual world of Barbie I have been observing the other avatars around me. Each avatar has a curvaceous body with fully formed boobs. The image of "sex appeal" is present subliminally. We don't see avatars performing sexual acts in Barbie World but the avatars are fairly sexualized. The body shape of every avatar is the same and cannot be adjusted like I talked about in my Identity blog. This gives every girl a curvy, sexy avatar to call their own. One thing I observed is that during the day the avatars look totally different than the avatars in Barbie World at night. The avatars during the day typically show no midriff and are fairly covered but some of the Barbies at night look pretty risky. Some avatars were showing their stomachs and others had tube tops on (as you can see in the images above). I guess you can change your outfit when you have VIP status because all the “sexier” avatars I saw had obtained VIP! Sexuality is prevalent in Barbie World but you have to search it out. When I was in Barbie World later at night I could access other avatar's rooms. I felt a little creepy but thought I should check it out. In these rooms avatars were dressed more scandalous but no talk/discussion of sex went on. Since the avatars in this virtual world are automatically so curvaceous and pretty sexualized this could be teaching girls that they must look the same way to be sexy/hot to impress other people. The VIP avatars could change their clothes and in one of the rooms the avatars would hold a “fashion show.” Two people would be the judge and then the other two would change their appearance (hair, face, clothing, etc.) and then they would walk around like a model would walk the cat walk. After this the two judges would judge who they thought was the best and that person would win the modeling contest. In these rooms the focus was on appearance and beauty not on characteristics or interests. This goes to show that the girls playing in this game have already learned that beauty/sexuality is an important thing in our society to survive. Of course I didn’t see anyone having sex or taking their clothes off like in some other virtual worlds but the idea of sexuality is apparent. These girls already know that clothing, make up, and outside appearance is SUPER important to their popularity and to win contests. In another room we had a "couch party" where everyone just sat on the couch and then no one talked (that was pretty weird & really had nothing to do with sexuality). One thing I realized when entering into these other avatars rooms is that you can sit on couches if they have them but you cannot sit/lay on their bed. So yes, the importance of sexuality/appearance can be observed in Barbie World but sexual acts cannot be performed or observed. I think sexuality would be more prevalent in the virtual world for adults rather than this world for young girls. I actually tried to sign into my Barbie World account today and I received a message saying I was banned? I don’t know why I would be banned but apparently I am? Maybe being in Barbie World at night allows for suspicion, I don't really know? I really just wanted to see the difference of Barbie World during the day compared to later at night. After seeing that message I felt like the ultimate creep when I didn’t even do anything creepy? Weird….Maybe it’s a good thing – Barbie World was way to pink for me to begin with! Haha


Do you think sexuality in our media is prevalent and impacting young children? If, so how do you think images of sexuality shapes children to view not only themselves but the people around them? Do you think that sexuality in our society has a positive or negative impact on young children including boys and girls? Do you think that images of sex/sexuality are hyper sexualizing children growing up in the 21st century?

Here are two screen shots of the modeling and couch party!

Here's the message I received making me aware that I had been banned from Barbie World!


  1. i completely agree with you about how games like this are "training" girls into like pink and "girly" things.

    I believe this game is a perfect representation of how the media portayes gender, from a female aspect that is. If you think about it there are even male and female daipers from newborns on up. what is the purpose of this if not to start telling them girls were pink and boys were boy. this goes further into kid swim suits having 2 pieces like thier 18 year old counter part.

    i don't believe that we need any more exposure of drag queens, gays, and bisexual because that has to be a slow process to come out, specially since how stations like mtv have made all gays, and specially bi-sexuals look like nothing but sexual deviants. But i think your asking the wrong question of if exposed to more of this culture would it be more accepting . i think the question should be if media stopped defining gender (sex) by certain colors and sex appeal, would this change how we categories people. i believe only those confused should be more exposed to what gender truely is, just because instead of helping people, i think it would hurt and confuse just as many more.

  2. You pose an interesting question, I think that sexuality in media directly impacts young children, especially young girls. I believe that young girls are especially impacted because of the fact that pop culture is directed more towards females. Young girls always want to act older than they are, and they want to watch all the shows that the older girls are watching. This means that they start watching MTV and shows like Jersey Shore that will glorify partying and sex without any consequence. If young tween girls are watching this then they will start to believe what they see on TV.

    I do believe that the newer generation is becoming hyper sexualized. As a society sex is still a taboo subject but in pop culture its glamorized and the pornofication of pop culture is becoming prevalent in youngsters who really are too young to understand what sexuality is. The problem is that sex sells therefore things are not going to change.

  3. First off, how funny that you got banned from Barbie world! (But I’m glad to hear today you were allowed back in). But in response to your questions, yes to all of the above!
    Now in my last quarter at UC, many of my Communication classes have dealt with sexuality and your question reminds me of a paper I did Winter quarter, about a book called, Too Sexy Too Soon. The very beginning chapter talked about 2nd graders worrying about whether or not they looked fat in their outfits, and boys around the age eight asking about blow jobs. “What??!” was my response. When I was around that age, the last thing on my mind was getting any kinds of naughty with anyone, and whether or not I was looking sexy for the playground. It goes to show that media is hyper sexualizing the children of today, and it’s going to keep getting worse. The thing most startling is games and shows that are supposed to be just a place for girls to “hang out” and have a “really cool time”, are sending the wrong messages. Girls playing these virtual worlds are only getting a false idea of what is beautiful, and feminine, to other girls, and to the opposite sex.
    The girls that are judging other Barbie avatars are only being trained to be the snarky, judgmental girls on the real playground. These virtual worlds should encourage the girls to make friendships, and get to know people rather than make judgments about outside appearances.
    And just to compare my own virtual world, its so interesting that Barbie world’s avatars are so curvaceous and sexy, yet no sex is discussed, while on Habbo Hotel, the avatars couldn’t be more stumpy and child like, but sex is the only thing on everyone’s mind.

  4. I definitely think media effects young children, especially girls. Many times young girls will look at the media and try to reflect what is being presented in front of them and their peers in order to fit in. It seems as if young girls are dressing in as little clothing as possible and appear thinner than a couple years ago, and the main cause of this issue is the media and its influence on society. I believe sexuality has a negative effect on children, they are starting to believe sex is okay at such a young age which has been resulting in teen pregnacies as well as diseases. Magazines often tell teens how to make your man happy, which often entails sexual refrences. Same goes for boys, boys are told to be buff and masculine in order to win over a girl. Our society is driven by the media and children and viewing media at a young age which has a significant effect on their lives.