Facebook games are pretty synonymous with heteronormativity. Most games attempt to appeal to women with feminine themes, plenty of “cute”, and the color pink wherever possible. Women are the main audience of Facebook games and they spend the most money in these games. In almost all of these games, they presume that the player is straight and interested in relationships with the opposite sex.
It Girl is a game released in 2010 by Crowdstar, one of the major social gaming giants. In It Girl, you have a female avatar that represents you that collects clothing in order to increase style points and XP to win parties, complete quests, and unlock new locations. If you’re not into fashion much, you probably wouldn’t enjoy the game. It’s been awhile since I played it, and when I logged in today I noticed that the game now features “boyfriends”.
Getting a boyfriend involves going to parties and looking for the man of your dreams. When you see him, you can click on him and “flirt”, which will tell you if you have what it takes. All of the men I flirted with required me to have more friends who play It Girl, so I wasn’t social enough to get a boyfriend. Getting a boyfriend is a core part of the game, because it fulfills your trifecta: Your car, your house, and your boyfriend. Life complete. The benefit to having a boyfriend? He gives you gifts.
So here we have the forced sexual orientation upon players, since you can only choose a female avatar and you can only pick a boyfriend and not a girlfriend. It Girl also reinforces negative stereotypes as the woman being a “gold digger” seeking out men for the material rewards they provide. What girl doesn’t want a man of their dreams to buy them things, give them attention, and spend money on them, after all? I can think of many girls and women, actually.