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!