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15 May

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Odd girls’ space: Barbiegirls.com

May 15, 2007 | By |

barbiegirlsbeta

On Wired’s Underwire Blog, Danah Boyd shares some thoughts on BarbieGirls, a new (and scary!) online space for girlie girls. Two things struck me as odd. First, the whole thing is just so Barbie-esque (i.e. odd & weird & pink), and personally, I find the whole gender aspect of it more than just slightly nauseating.

But second, there’s something odd about their privacy/security measures. (See section “message to parents” on the website.) Obviously, as a space for really young girls, it’s a no-brainer to try to create a safe & child-friendly environment. But to have your employees monitor the “Secret B Chat” which ” occurs only in a girl’s room and is only available to “best friends”? Also, word filters are used, it seems, a bit enthusiastically:

Girls can only use words we’ve selected, approved, and compiled in our database, and no exchange of personal information is allowed.

Come on, you’ve got to be kidding: A positive word list, which actively lists all the words that are allowed? Or is it just a regular bad word filter that takes out a few dozen offensive words, but won’t really stop any kid from talking about what they want exactly in the words they want?

I realize I’m not the target demographic. But this is odd.

Comments

  1. Hey i just wanted to say that the site is cool but i agree about the swearing people dont have the right words in mind they just want to swear because they want to fit in with the crowd.

  2. hi

  3. hi pit – even though you are right, we are not the target group, i have to say i really enjoyed your review – never heard of a positive wordlist as well – surely there was a project manager who has no idea whatsoever and took some ‘precautious’ measures…

  4. Aishuangel

    hi! could someone tell me how to get into rooms? i’ve tried by clicking the “map” and clicking “rooms” , but it says “no rooms availabe” . could someone help me? please

  5. Yo, I think it is so cool!!!

  6. Yo, I just love playing games of the compter. That’s why I love this game!!!

  7. i love this website!

  8. Anonymous

    why is in it working im so mad that cryin ohhh

  9. amber

    i am mad because its not workin but i love it

  10. merna

    i love play games for girls i want to download game zwinky

  11. toni ann

    hi i m a new youser can someone help me please

  12. toni ann

    i love playing barbie games but dont all girl do

  13. Hm. Not to offend anyone. but: seriously, how many of you are paid by Mattel/Barbie? Just being curious about Mattel’s approach to PR blogging?

  14. gloria

    cooool

  15. Having designed toys and play experiences for Mattel and having gone to L.A. to visit their HQ, I can tell you that what you perceive as something odd, in L.A. sadly, isn’t. They conduct a large amount of user testing which is kinda scary to think that there are people and kids who will go for the ultra kitch and pink stuff. Californian kids and tweens are decidedly different from the rest of America as well. So I wouldn’t be surprised if they are catering to “concerned parents” with these ridiculous privacy measures.

  16. Hi Alex,

    It’s not so much the pink-ish stuff that I perceive as odd, but rather the whole positive word list – if the wording there was correct, it’d mean that there’s a list of just, what, 1.000 words or so that are allowed to use. How would that work in a conversation, particularly with young kids who use all kinds of colloquialisms? (Although I’d suspect that one of the marketing people just got the wording wrong and they mean a regular bad word filter, which takes out swear words according to a bad word list.)

    But yeah, I guess you’re right, Californian kids are socialized somewhat differently ;)

    Thanks for your feedback. Got settled down a little? Sounds like you’ve been on the road a lot lately…

    Cheers, P.

  17. jennifer

    hi i am so tired, cuz it don’t work but i like it when i can play it. bye-bye!

  18. Aishuangel

    hi! i too love this site!

  19. Angela's bunny

    Im very tired because I can’t go there because it says that you guys are busy

  20. Megan

    Hi! I really don’t like barbie, but i tried out barbiegirls and i felt like i should throw my computer to get that junnk off my stupid screen.

  21. lies

    Wath ‘s the specialcode? I love this website!!!!!!!!!!!!:) baybay

  22. What is the special code??????????????????????????????????? I love verry much this website!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. ya bu siten bazenleri sapıtıyo ama üye olunca içinde çok güzel bir oyun var ya ben o oyunnu çok beyendimm

  24. what is your name?

  25. weirdo

    whenever i type in barbiegirls .com. it never works

  26. I LOVE ALL OF YOU GIRLS ON BARBIE GIRLS.COM

  27. Hailee

    I not agree it is fun and safe!I mean it

  28. Maryam

    I thought it was fun but it never works anymore. I thought I was going to explode when for the hundrenth time it did not work. now I think it’s plain stupid. and plus, why can’t we talk to people if they are undefined? I suggest Pokemoncrater.com. it’s more fun and exciting. you can even get your own pokemon.

  29. angel

    it is fun so maryam you say bad

  30. PoliceGirlie

    The webbie is surely fun.. But they should’nt use the game to earn more profit.. Anyway, if you want to go 2 the website.. it should be http://www.barbiegirls.com and not http://barbiegirls.com Ok..

  31. hey i nlike barbie but i love the bratz the are much cooler and have prefect fashion sense and im only 9 wow.i love the game but how do you get into rooms

  32. Anonymous

    does anyone now and secret codes to barbiegirls.com they have pretty things but it wont let you have them you have to own a barbie girl mp3 player i think it sucks you have to pay 59.99 just for one to unlock everything at barbie girls .com

  33. hey i think this website ,when i say this website i mean barbiegirls -is -fun but it has its down sides i mean half the time you cant go to Furni-fever or the b-cafe or the cinima or any of the other rooms and you can never go to the park cuse it is always full wich i think they should limit the people that log in because that is why i only go on late at night cuse thats when most people are sleepin in america and you can go every where even the park its cooler after dark .and i know why you cant go to any bodys room cuse once again you have to own a barbie girl mp3 player which is stupid because then you cant have most of the clothes that they have. oh and i wanna know what the b girls boutique looks like it looks awesome but i cant go in it because i dont like barbie so i do not own a b girl mp3 i cant wate tell they get the BETA work over with so i can see the new and improved barbie girls .com oh and the way you get into barbie girls is to go to barbie.com and once you get to the homepge click on the lap top peace out and keep rocken on.

  34. This site rocks my socks!!!!!!!!!!!

  35. its really awesome, but SOMETIMES I cannot enter it ,LIKE NOW . WHY???!!!

  36. The website is pretty good,but weird boys pretend to be girls on it.You can report people,and some just report you because you wont be their friend!!

  37. Its not fair!Sometimes they are full because new girls came along!First come first served i think.Anyway,sometimes when you click on any shop,it wont let you go in.And i cant belive you have to have a barbie mp3 to go to the best places!Excuse the languge but it freakin bugs so much when it is “ful”.And you cant get into the rooms!!I have to say,in Barbies defense,it is and awesome website,but with a couple of changes,it could be super dee duper!:)p.s.my rating out of 10=3.Everybody give your ratings!!

  38. I am so sorry girlies!Barbie freakind rocks my pants off!!OMG!i LOVE YOU GUYS!!XXX

  39. Anonymous

    this girl said the code is Rotkehlchlchenscheibe

  40. Brittany

    i lov this site it rocks my sock man!

  41. WHAT IS THE SPECIAL CODE? PLS. ANSWER ME…

  42. I love the game it is so cool! oh and what is some of the SPECIAL CODES!!! PLEASE TELL ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. i love the website!!but i need codes.i do not have any mony to get a barbie girl!!please tell the codes.

  44. Brianna

    i luv the barbie girls site but i do think it’s mean that you need a barbie girl to go into rooms and into the best places. also you have to have a barbie girl to unlock the cool hair styles, jewlery, and clothes! and half the time i can’t get in or my computer can’t find the site, it drives me crazy!!! Barbie i love your site but you should get it fixed.