Miss Bimbo: harmless irony or outrageous influence?

Staff Writer Tech 15 Comments

bimbo-385_307897a.jpgThe papers are buzzing with the news that Miss Bimbo, a site devoted to pandering to a ‘bimbo’ has now hit 200,000 members in the UK and counting. The game challenges players aged nine to 16 to keep a bimbo in fine fettle with boob jobs and “waif thin” with diet pills, earning the right to dress her up in flimsy underwear, take her clubbing and generally make her “the coolest, richest and most famous bimbo in the world”.

The game’s designer, Nicholas Jacquart, says it’s all harmless fun. Somewhat predictably, both charities working with children suffering from eating disorders and parents’ groups are outraged.

There’s no doubt Jacquart has his tongue firmly in his cheek while raking in the cash as players top up their virtual funds with real money. He says:

“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 bimbos’ 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.”

Uh-huh. It’s an educational game! How did I fail to notice that?

I have no problem with irony, and if this game had been a tad more clever about it, I’d have been cheering it on. I’m not interested in ripping into women who choose to lead a life I wouldn’t, but I think making fun of an obsession with looks, money and fame is totally fair game.

Unfortunately, the average age of a player on Miss Bimbo is nine to twelve. In fact, it’s aimed at impressionable young women. Girls are already under extra pressure to be aware of appearances and other superficial nonsense, and there’s obviously an argument for restricting the age of those who can play Miss Bimbo to those who have a solid grasp of irony. In addition, I really I don’t think it’s doing men and boys any good to think it’s acceptable to create and control a woman, making a person a plaything.

Irony is funny; objectification is not. From Jacquart’s comments it’s clear that he’s aiming for one but almost certainly achieves the other. Even the use of the word ‘bimbo’… honestly, insert your rant of choice here. At least it’s not an aspirational term, I guess. Barbie this ain’t.

I’m not going to rave and scream and hurl abuse at Jacquart and Miss Bimbo, but this does say something worrying about how little parents are controlling access to the Internet at home.

I don’t think a child that’s on an even keel with a good support network is likely to suddenly develop bulimia because of a stupid game and I would think that the fashion and film industries have a far more dangerous effect on children close to the edge. I would just urge parents to monitor Internet use in their households and, rather than making a big fuss and making Miss Bimbo seem like forbidden fruit, teach their kids something about what’s acceptable and what isn’t.

What do you think? Are we getting overly PC and serious about a silly bit of fun? Or are games like this encouraging young children to suffer from eating disorders and accept misogyny as normal?

Alexandra Roumbas is Deputy Editor of Shiny Shiny. She thinks Nicholas Jacquart is a sad, strange little man and suggests that anyone affected directly or indirectly by an eating disorder contacts Beat.

By Staff Writer | March 25th, 2008

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  • http://www.s2999.com Jen

    I don’t think it’s black and white like that. Personally, I think it’s funny, sort of (I’m not into browser-based games, so I wouldn’t play it, but it might be entertaining for a while). Then again, I’m twice the age of those girls.

    So I dunno. I really can’t remember how impressionable I was at 12, but I’d like to think that people can think for themselves and not be tricked into thinking anorexia is good by a game. And parents should be around to instill some values, no? Like ‘eating good, being skeleton-skinny bad’.

    P.S. ‘Bimbo’ is one of the most annoying words ever. But… since it has a negative connotation (at least that’s the way I see it), girls should be able to see that it’s NOT the way to go?

  • txteva

    [Unfortunately, the average age of a player on Miss Bimbo is nine to twelve. ]

    Where did you see this? I’ve read (and from my experience) the average age more around 18.

    I play bimbo- it was linked to me by the LUSH forum, where most of the “fans” of bimbo on there are about 16-mid twenties.

    To be honest the game is a laugh and hardly promoting being skinny (small point being drastically overweight doesn’t affect the Bimbo, but being too skinny will kill her…).

    The game actually forces you to eat steaks and chocolate to keep the bimbo happy.

    It’s an amusing time waster… and I think everyone is just getting waay too PC about it all.

  • http://www.shinyshiny.tv Alex

    Hi txteva,

    The 9-12 statistic came from London’s Metro newspaper, and the fact that the game is aimed at 9-16 year olds from the Times article I link to.

    Thanks for adding your voice to the debate!

  • RosieC

    I would say that surely the main worry is that encourages players to think its ok to own and manipulate other people.

    Mind you, again I’m way older than either the target market of the 18ish player age. I’m not sure I’d have been that bothered then, but equally I don’t think I’d have played the game as it seems mind-numbingly dull

  • Chelsea

    Miss Bimbo doesn’t encourage being super skinny, nor does it encourage crash dieting like the news here (in NZ) say it does. It really only encourages your bimbo to be the most famous one on the site, something hardly worth crash dieting and being stick thin for.

    I completely agree with what txteva had to say. People are just being way too PC about it all, when it’s really just harmless fun.

  • Sely Babiie

    I think bimbo is harmless ! It doesnt make you wanna be skinny or get sugery it is actually quite good and something to do when your bored lol. My sisters go on it and all my mates and so do i. I hope they dont bann it cos its well good lol .


  • sara

    i dont think people of the age of 18 will want to go on miss bimbo

  • louise

    just though Id say the argument about ” I would say that surely the main worry is that encourages players to think its ok to own and manipulate other people.”.. well, anyone ever heard of the Sims????? I dont see them getting there asses kick about that. And also, you have the same eating to much will make you fat and you have to exercise to be thin thing going on there too. so really, this is just a bit of fun. and also, to the last comment by sara about 18 year olds not wanting to go on miss bimbo, im 18 and never tried it but now ive heard about it I think it sounds like a great laugh:)

  • Sarah

    Personally, I think the bad press about miss bimbo is very inaccurate – no wonder everyone’s getting so wound up about it.

    I play miss bimbo, and it is nothing like it’s made out to be. I tried it after I saw a bad article about it in a magazine, and was surprised to find the magazine was completely false.

    The game does not promote anorexia. In fact, your ‘bimbo’ can only be at their happiest when they’re around their 127 lbs Ideal weight. This weight is around 9 stone, which is a good healthy weight for an average height female.

    The game is not targetted at 9-16 year olds at all. It is targetted at anyone who wants to play it, and you only need to visit the forums to realise there are many adult players there. There are some young players on there of course, but there are also far more older players.

    Personally, I do not think that miss bimbo is at all manipulative to anyone. I’ve played it for ages, and have never been influenced by the way I play the game into real life.

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    Mind you, again I’m way older than either the target market of the 18ish player age. I’m not sure I’d have been that bothered then, but equally I don’t think I’d have played the game as it seems mind-numbingly dull

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    The developer must have run out of ideas. With all due respect, I don’t think such games will benefit kids. Boob jobs, diet pills and the game is aimed at 9-16 olds!