The Choices App: Stories You Play is an interactive game recommended to young teen girls with pinned scenes on Pinterest. It’s loaded with “choices” girls can make that include experimenting with a wide variety of sexual partners.
Picture this: you have a daughter starting her freshman year of college. She is smart, confident, grounded, and has the world at her feet. You want nothing but the best for her, and of course this includes her experience with higher education. Your daughter arrives for her first day on campus. Almost right away, she quite literally bumps into a young man, who explains that he doesn’t mind being “tackled” by a pretty girl.
Next, your daughter moves into her new home. She realizes both male and female students will be living there, and immediately wonders how many of her housemates – of either gender – she will “hook up” with. She meets her new roommate, a girl who encourages her to show up at a campus party where she will be seen by the entire student body wearing only a bikini. Finally, she meets a sorority girl with whom she instantly gets into a catfight over a guy, claiming victory not because of the words she used or how she chose to take the high road, but because of how great she looks in her bikini. Your daughter steps back, sighs contentedly, and says, “Now THIS is college!”
Dangers of Choices App: Stories You Play
Does this sound like your worst nightmare? Maybe it is, but it’s also a scenario typical of the game “Choices: Stories You Play,” an app for Apple and Android published by Pixelberry Media. The Choices app allows players to choose an avatar and a name for themselves to use while navigating through a series of, well, choices. There are several different scenarios you can place yourself in and one of them is being a college freshman at a (fictional) top university. Though the avatars a female player can choose from are of varying skin tones and thus we are supposed to see them as racially diverse, they all have a few key things in common: they are all thin, scantily dressed, and stereotypically beautiful.
Because the Choices app is interactive, and the outcomes of each different scenario are dependent on what the player chooses, there are many ways the whole pretty-young-college-freshman scenario can play out. However, one thing is clear: this game is rife with stereotypes that are damaging to young women and men alike. Females are adversaries to one another, competing to see who can better sexually attract a man, and men are pieces of meat to be fought over who only value women for their looks. In the round I played, my avatar got into an argument (over a guy, naturally) with another character. She was then told by her roommate, “Your bikini won you an enemy,” and “Your first day and you already have a nemesis, you are so lucky!” because in the world of Choices, girls are meant to be valued based primarily on their physical appearance and to compete for attention from guys, rather than lift each other up.
Why this is concerning