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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Striving to be a Bimbo?

I promised you a big post and here it is =D

Welcome to Miss Bimbo, an online virtual game from France that has recently spread to the UK like a virus. A self titled "virtual fashion game", Miss Bimbo is a virtual doll site catered to girls 9-16. In this game your bimbo is is encouraged to eat next to nothing to stay waif thin and even to get breast implants to land a rich boyfriend. The site itself claims to be free but when you run out of virtual dollars you have to send text messages from your cellphone costing you about $3 each or use a Paypal account to build up your account.

From the site: "Bimbo dollars is 'the cabbage,' 'bread,' the 'mula' you'll need to buy nice things and to get by in bimbo world. To earn some bimbo cash you will have to (gasp) work or find a boyfriend to be your sugar daddy and hook you up with a phat expense account!"

According to CNN the French site Ma Bimbo was even threatened with a lawsuit when a parent discovered a $200 cell phone bill his daughter had run up buying bimbo bucks for the site. Yes, bimbo bucks.

The site itself operates like any virtual pet or people site. Neopets for instance is a virtual pet site for kids, teens, and adults that lets you feed, dress, and play with your pet. It's also a site that claims to be free but charges money for premium services also. So what's the difference? Neopets is a world that, while populated by a wide cross section of age groups, is innocent fun. You don't get any influence for children one way or another. You don't learn how to take care of a pet because in Neo, your pets can't die if you forget to feed them and in fact is not a place that takes any stance on being able to do so.

But Miss Bimbo is different. Nicolas Jacquart the creator of the site explains, "The game is structured in such a way that it simply mirrors real life in a tongue-in-cheek way. It is not a bad influence for young children. They learn to take care of their bimbos. The missions and goals for the bimbos are morally sound and teach children about the real world. If they eat too much chocolate in the game, it is bad for their bimbo's bodies and their happiness levels compared to if they eat fruit and vegetables, which reinforces positive healthy eating messages. The breast operations are just one part of the game and we are not encouraging young girls to have them."

Really? Your main goal of the game is to become the "hottest, coolest, most famous bimbo in the whole world." Sounds morally sound to me. And also to the many parents who have complained when discovering their daughters have accounts on this site. Morals aside, having your daughter compete to be the most famous bimbo in the whole world is disturbing. That job is already taken, a fact that is not lost on the creators of the site.

Recently the site shut down to, I would guess, make changes to the game. And page that comes up is a site to see. It seems to address some of the issues brought up by concerned people.

Regarding the use of drugs in the game: As a result of this rather surprising media attention we have decided to remove the option of purchasing diet pills from the game. We apologize to any players whom this may inconvenience but we feel in light of this weeks proceedings it is the correct action to take. So keep your bimbos skinny the old fashion way, starvation.

Regarding the most famous bimbo in the world: We would also like to sincerely apologize to our players for the media comparison of Miss Bimbo and Paris Hilton. We feel that this does a dis-service to the players whom send their bimbos to university, tea parties or chess tournaments. If you've sent your bimbo to a tea party or chess tournament then you should be offended. If not, then you can suck eggs apparently.

And the biggest gem: At this time we would also like to remind players that the Miss Bimbo team assume no responsibility or liability for any fashion faux pas, hair style disasters, or boob jobs incurred in real life as as a result of playing the Miss Bimbo game. While reading this please keep it mind that the site is targeted for 9-16 year olds but players can be found as young as seven.

Now this site does sound very tongue in cheek, to an adult at least. But this site highlights a bigger problem facing young girls today. When the goal of a game is to become a socialite and skyrocket to the top of fame and popularity with the help of eating disorders, drugs, and surgery all to bag the richest boyfriend or sugar daddy then there is an issue. When a games tagline is "Stop at nothing to become the reigning bimbo!" then there is an issue. But what is the issue?

The issue is not the game itself but what it promotes. Will this game cause little girls to develop anorexia or dress like prostitutes? Probably not. But when your daughter is facing a world where her biggest role model is Paris Hilton or Lindsey Lohan or Jamie Spears then what chance does she have? Do we really want our 9 year olds to strive for the title of Miss Bimbo. The subconscious message of this site is to work hard at being vapid, beauty and thin obsessed. To catch a rich boyfriend and use any extreme to do it.

The creator said, "The breast operations are just one part of the game and we are not encouraging young girls to have them." But then we have to ask, why include them? Instead of keeping your bimbo starved why not just enforce a healthy view such as three squares a day using the proper food groups. The BBC interviewed the creators and their reasoning was that their site reflects the reality of what it is to be a female in society. So to these men the reality of what it is to be a female in society is literally Paris Hilton.

This site irks me when thinking of Maddie. Do I want her to grow up in a world where the standard of beauty inside and out is this site and the people it's clearly based on? Little kids don't get tongue-in-cheek humor. Kids are literal thinkers. So in the end this site will stay up and the over 200,000 users of this site will play it. The adults will take it with a grain of salt but the kids..... Who knows. This site made for adults would be a massive and popular joke. We'd laugh and probably play it. But, and I can't believe I'm writing these words, it's not us but our little girls that are fighting to be the worlds biggest bimbo.

But it's not all the fault of the site. In fact it is none of their fault. Why? because we live in a world that worships the almighty dollar. If there wasn't a market then there wouldn't be a site. Over 200,000 kids play this game. Who are their parents? Are there moms and dads out there that proudly proclaim that their 13 year old daughter is the worlds most famous bimbo?

These people need a swift kick to the head. Either for not monitoring their kids internet usage or for actively letting them play this site. We need a wake up call in the world right now. If we don't watch out for our daughters then we are screwed. Do we really want them thinking that the only way to live is as a bimbo? A friend of mine stopped letting her 6 year old watch Zoey 101, the show starring Jamie Lynn Spears. Because she is a bad influence on kids. Granted mistakes happen but do we want the little ones emulating a teen mother? Of course not. If the issue comes up then talk about it but don't put yourself in a situation where her hero might a Maury guest, trying to find the baby daddy.

In the end we need to monitor our kids and make sure they don't grow up too fast. And the parents who let there kids play a site called Miss Bimbo are doing just the opposite. I've just learned how precious childhood is. There are so many people who need to learn just how precious innocence is. Especially Nicolas Jacquart.

I oringinally read about this topic on Behind the Buzz. Head over and check out the blog because it's a great read.

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