And they blink cute

I am the subject of total mockery. Many contributors to this newspaper have made jest of my addiction to what they call “this thing like Neopets but instead you dress little girls.” [It’s true, I say it all the time-Ed.] They are missing the point.

Poupeegirl  is brilliant in its simplicity. This Japanese website allows users to create an avatar, often a likeness of the user, and dress it to their hearts desire. This is seriously the point of the website. 

Actually, the point of the website, like most websites, is to make money. But more on that later.

This site should make sense to anyone who enjoys putting outfits together. It’s really more like having a virtual Barbie than a Neopet, but with near limitless options – and isn’t that sense of infinity what the Internet is really all about?

Either way, the access to clothes I would never usually see or wear gives me ideas, and helps me notice peculiar global fashion trends.

Unfortunately, the object of the site has little to do with creativity. The real life friends I have who also happen to be Poupee friends have discussed how a much better site would allow user-generated content, letting people design their own clothes. It could be the Linux of online dress-up sites. [Both in the sense that it would be open source, and it would almost exclusively be used by virgins-Ed.]

The object of the site is clearly financial. In order to gain access to the nicest clothing on the site, users must fork over real currency, in exchange for exclusive jewel money.

Poupeegirl also offers brand-name sponsored items for the avatars, by companies such as Louis Vuitton and Coach. According to a Japan Times article, a survey taken by the site after one such promotion 52 per cent of respondents said that “seeing the real virtual item made them want to purchase the real thing.”

Blogger Greg Tannahill went to so far as to refer to Poupeegirl as a “strange Japanese community founded on vicious consumerism and virtual paper dolls.”

True. However, television, the Internet, and our country’s economy are all made possible by this same vicious consumerism. Whether or not I condone vicious consumerism, the site has had little effect on my shopping habits, at least in terms of frequency. Instead, the second-life sort of world has become an addictive realm in which “buying” virtual clothes with virtual money (called ribbons) is nearly as satisfying as buying real clothes with hard-earned dollars.

And just how far in am I? Before leaving for a recent camping trip, I gave a friend my account password so she could dress my Poupee while I was without Internet access. Users are rewarded handsomely for having “perfect attendance,” which involves taking daily snapshots of new outfits.

Perhaps this is mockable. But just talk for five minutes to anyone who plays Farmville, and they’ll likely begin hyperventilating about how they forgot to irrigate their virtual corn crops that morning.

Essentially, Poupeegirl is just another amusing way to waste time on the Internet. There is nothing more sinister to it than that. Of course it’s shallow, and of course its objective is to make money. But the fringe benefits of hours of amusement for anyone interested in fashion persist.

On that note, please search Nads on, and add me as a Poupee friend. Your comments on my posted items can help make us all ribbon-rich, without spending a real dime.

//Natalie Corbo
A Crazy Person

Enjoy it? Share this on Facebook


© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: