Pop-Culture | Posted by Jenae S on 06/29/2011

Feminist Dilemma: An Addiction To It Girl

It Girl: The Facebook Game

It Girl: The Facebook Game

I’m a feminist and as such I try to make conscious decisions in my daily life that uphold feminist ideals. But then came It Girl. It Girl is a facebook game centered around fashion, partying, and dating. It is one of the few MMO-esque games marketed exclusively to women. The game is simple, create an avatar, buy clothes, go to parties, compete against other users. Yes, you compete against other users in “showdowns” where you can earn money and fame. You level up by shaming other girls with your fashion skills.

This game represents everything that I stand against. It Girl emphasizes style over substance. It Girl tells you that you can improve your reputation through the newest clothes or hottest boyfriends. Worst of all it pits you against other players who are not NPCs but actual people, other women somewhere out the real world.

So why can’t I stop playing?

I was introduced to It Girl a few months ago by a sorority sister. In the game I have a “clique” entirely made up of fellow students from my university. We’re on it everyday meeting each other’s in game boyfriends, giving each other confidence boosts to beat some other girl at a party. We’re addicted.

So why is this game so appealing? Is it that it’s an MMO similar to the Sims? Is it that cute clothes and cartoons are fun? Or is there some greater latent desire to challenge other women, to prove our femininity? Help me Internet, you’re my only hope. Why can’t I stop playing this game that stands for everything that I hate?

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  • Talia bat Pessi @ at 11:41 am, June 29th, 2011

    This is why I never do Facebook. Too much chance to hurt others.

  • Zoe @ at 12:45 pm, June 29th, 2011

    As much as the game is everything that feminism is not about, I wouldn’t be that worried. It’s just a game and games can be addicting. Why would anyone want to play Sims when they could just, you know, live their own life? Yet people still play the Sims, myself included.

  • Kat @ at 7:32 pm, June 29th, 2011

    I play It Girl, too. I’m only as good at it as I need to be to keep earning money to buy more clothes! I rarely go to parties or do showdowns or anything, mostly because I just don’t find it fun. I just like playing around with the avatar and her wardrobe, because the clothes in the game are really cool!

    Is it “unfeminist” to like clothes? Is it “unfeminist” to play a game with showdowns, where you compete with other girls over, admittedly, superficial things? (The avatars don’t even frown when they lose, so if there is any emotional trauma on the player’s part, that is a separate issue and they need psychiatric care.) I would say no. Feminism is about women having equal opportunities to pursue their goals and passions and equal standing in society as men. You are not a “bad feminist” due to anything you enjoy in your private time.

    I don’t think there is any more or less desire in women to compete with each other than men. Heck, most games are inherently competitive! If everyone wins, it’s not a game, it’s a group activity. Heck, technically, no one “wins” at It Girl, you just keep moving up in levels, and no other player is worse off when you do.

    But, it’s human nature to compete with each other on some level, whether it be on the athletic field or in a virtual mall. I think bringing gender into it for the sake of some political agenda is, at best, unhelpful, and at worst, damaging. Enough guilt-tripping already, especially if you are doing it to yourself. So, It Girl’s motifs are generally modeled after a particular type of lifestyle generally attributed to Western women, big deal! It’s not as if women like that don’t exist.

    If your feminist sensibilities are offended by the idea of a game with features that are typically considered feminine, then go play Farmville. Feeling guilty, or trying to make others feel guilty about an activity that harms no one and gives you pleasure is about as unfeminist as it gets!

  • Renee @ at 9:21 am, July 5th, 2011

    But it’s a game…that like playing Pacman and being all “it supports consummerism MAN! Don’t let theman Pull you in MAN!” See how ridiculousthat seems…

  • Games for Girls: Social or Sexist? | Benevolent Media @ at 10:42 am, February 2nd, 2012

    [...] worst kind of gender-biased tripe on the world.” Other players at The Border House and fbomb provide mixed reviews of It Girl (the original Facebook version of the app): “From a [...]

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