Drew Zahn is a WND news editor who cut his journalist teeth as a member of the award-winning staff of Leadership, Christianity Today's professional journal for church leaders. A former pastor, he is the editor of seven books, including Movie-Based Illustrations for Preaching & Teaching, which sparked his ongoing love affair with film and his weekly WND column, "Popcorn and a (world)view."More ↓Less ↑
Editor’s note: Some of the descriptions and images in the article below are risqué and may be cause for reader caution.
Screen capture from My-Minx.com
Young girls aspiring to be fashion queens may find more than they bargain for in a new, free, online game called “My-Minx,” which permits players to role play … as prostitutes.
At My-Minx.com, touted by its own header as the “online fashion game for girls and dress-up game for style icons” and the place where “Barbie meets Chanel,” players create an avatar – or online representative – that flirts, shops, develops her career, builds a wardrobe, competes in style shows, and picks up lovers and “clients” at an online cocktail bar.
In addition, girls as young as five or younger – should they have the computer know-how – can immediately trade in online points to “purchase” for their avatar lingerie, nipple tassels, condoms and “antibaby” pills among other choice items on their way to the top of their own fashion empire.
My-Minx had already generated controversy last week – before revelation of the game’s prostitution play – over a feature that allowed the avatars to adopt celebrity children, such as members of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s family.
At the time, parents groups in Great Britian, where the game is produced, expressed outrage:
“Having them getting virtual condoms or morning after pills will not make them any less promiscuous. As regards child adoption, this game encourages them to think that they don’t need to worry about morals or ethics,” spokesman Andy Hibberd of Parentkind told London’s Daily Mail. “It is sending out all the wrong messages, and the only reason its creators have made it is to make money. They are exploiting children for profit. Children’s innocence is very precious.”
WND has since confirmed with Blighty Arts, which produces the game, that threats of lawsuits from one of the celebrities whose child appeared in the game have convinced the company to remove the feature. The other adult themes, however, remain.
When asked about the appropriateness of encouraging young girls to role play as prostitutes, Blighty Arts founder Chris Evans dodged the question, responding only, “The average age of My-Minx.com players is 19.1. We are targeting late teens and early 20s fashionistas.”
Evans had earlier told AOL’s ParentDish that certain safeguards were in place, explaining, “When you register, you can’t register if you are under the age of 11, and even so, there is nothing on there that would offend any child who might play the game.”
He continued, “This is a fantasy world and there is no way that we are going to get customers that young. I can’t see how an 11-year-old would have any interest in it.”
Regardless of whether or not 11-year-olds would be interested in a free, pink, “online fashion game for girls” where “Barbie meets Chanel,” a WND investigation did, however, reveal Evans’ claimed safeguards are not currently in place.
WND’s player registered as a 5-year-old girl, born Feb. 1, 2005. After selecting body features like hair length and breast size (with nude, cartoon guides to demonstrate the options), the completely naked avatar appeared in the game’s bedroom area. From there, the player was invited to choose if her Minx was single, married, gay, bi, or “horney” among other options. She also chose from a list of attributes, such as beautiful, alcoholic, “preggers” or “a b—-.”
A quick trip to the clothing store finally relieved the avatar’s nudity, but a jaunt to the cocktail bar to find “a lover” produced a startling message: “You managed to find a new client – well done. Kachiing!”
Screen capture of message, “You managed to find a new client – well done. Kachiing!”
Apparently, however, being a prostitute isn’t very profitable in the game’s Style City. The new “client” only paid the avatar character 50 points, or “pink pounds” (the game designer is British), per day – not a lot of “Kachiing,” when purchasing a pair of ballerina shoes for the avatar costs 150.
My-Minx is still in beta, a programming term for publicly testing a product before rolling out the final version. Currently, My-Minx also includes message boards for players to converse, daily puzzles and games that earn additional pink pounds and forums for voting on who has created the most stylish minx.
When asked by ParentDish what’s in store for the final version, Evans declined to answer, calling the future update’s features a “secret.”