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Getting Rid of Barbie’s “Perfect Image” Pressure

By: Bethany Beal

It was a regular Wednesday morning at work when the mail arrived. I started scanning through the letters when I noticed a big hot pink magazine.

“Barbie” was the only thing written on the front cover.

I was annoyed to see this piece of junk mail at the office and started to cut out the address label in order to remove us from the mailing list. Right before I tossed the magazine in the trash, curiosity got the best of me and I took a peek inside.

The magazine was filled with dozens of perfect images of plastic dolls dressed in slinky, provocative outfits. The pages were loaded with the latest Barbie everything.

Every doll was done up to perfection from head to toe.

Every outfit perfectly styled. Every face perfectly made up. Perfect figures. Perfect hair. Perfect, perfect, perfect.

At first I wanted to yell, “This is ridiculous! Why are we allowing little girls to play with these teenager dolls, dressed in tiny, seductive, outfits?” Thankfully I had self-control and didn’t yell. Instead I pulled up my computer and did some research.

The History of Barbie.

I dug a little bit deeper into this world-famous doll’s history. What was this girl all about? Why is she so popular? How did she come into existence?

The Barbie Doll was “born” in 1959 by Ruth Handler who named the doll after her daughter, Barbara. Barbie was introduced to a skeptical group of buyers at the American Toy Fair in New York City. The buyers said that little girls play with paper dolls and baby dolls, not a teenage girl with a woman’s figure. I guess the buyers must have overcome their skepticism pretty quickly considering Barbie’s current fame.

What is Barbie’s Job?

That is the question. Not her paid job, but her job as a doll. This is the explanation that I found: “Simply, to be a teenage fashion model.” No wonder all of Barbie’s clothes are based on current runway trends from Paris. It’s Barbie’s life purpose to be totally up-to-date on the latest fashion trends.

Barbie is a Legend.

According to popular online newspapers and magazines, Barbie is a legend. Barbie lovers describe her this way:

“Who else or what else has continued to remain relevant in an ever-changing world? Barbie has. She has earned her stardom, and she deserves it. She’s handled all criticism with charm and grace and has continued to be herself.”

I wonder if her fans realize that she is just a piece of plastic and not a real person. Moving on . . .

Barbie in Real Life.

If Barbie were an actual woman, she would be five feet nine inches tall, have a thirty-nine-inch bust, an eighteen-inch waist, thirty-three-inch hips, and a size three shoe. Let’s just say if you had the choice to take on these measurements, I’d advise you to run for your life. These measurements are totally absurd and completely ridiculous looking.

Barbie in a Nutshell . . .

A teenage girl who never grows old, never looks ugly, never has a bad hair day (unless you destroy it), never has a pouchy stomach, never has pimples, never has yellow teeth, never has a bad make-up day, never, never, never!

For crying out loud, this girl is perfect. And she is the legend that has captured the hearts of billions of dollars around the world. Our money shouts that we love her and want more of her.

I’m honestly not trying to bash on Barbie here, I’m really just concerned with her current “role model” status. Let’s be real for a minute. Girls are not doing well. Christian girls are not doing well. There has been a massively high bar set for us, and no matter how much we want to reach it we can’t.

It’s an unreachable bar of physical perfection.

We don’t say it out loud, but we feel it. I feel it! I take one drive down the street to the local outdoor shopping mall and blaring in my face are perfectly Photoshopped images of girls in perfect outfits with perfect hair and perfect make-up.

The perfection message has been made loud and clear, and sadly we have believed it. We may not say we believe it, but our actions show that we believe it.

That’s why I’m mad at Barbie. Because she continues to flaunt her slinky little outfits on her tiny plastic, “perfect” body, deceiving little girls around the world into believing that outward perfection is key.

Destroying the Perfect Body Obsession.

Let me fill each of you in on a little secret, Barbie’s inventor and creator made Barbie for the purpose of being a teenage fashion model. That is her purpose as a creation, and she is doing it quite well.

Stop and think about this—you are Someone’s creation, too.

You were created by a Designer for a specific purpose, and it wasn’t to live your life obsessed with physical appearance. Your Designer and Creator is God. He is the One who formed you (Psalm 139:13), and He is the One who is in charge of giving you purpose (Philippians 2:13).

I want you to listen very carefully here.

As the Creator of you and me, God set aside a big chunk of verses to describe a successful woman. If our Creator has taken the time to give us our very own chapter on success, I think we better pay attention. The chapter is Proverbs 31:10–31.

In that chunk of verses, the word beauty is only mentioned one time. That’s right only once! Here it is:

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised (v. 30, emphasis added).

Did you catch that? In our personalized chapter for attaining true success, beauty is only mentioned once and we are told that it’s fleeting. God must have known that we would get this area a little confused.

Beauty is fleeting. It won’t last. It has no eternal value.

According to God’s Word, who is the woman being praised? It’s the one who fears the Lord.

I think it’s time you and I stopped fearing Barbie’s perfect body, stopped fearing the billboards and perfect magazines, stopped fearing movies and TV shows, and started fearing our Creator.

It’s time for us girls to stand up and say no more to Barbie’s “perfect image” pressure.

Make it personal…  

-I challenge each of you to stop and ask yourself if you truly believe Proverbs 31:30.

-If you do, are you living it out?

-Do your actions show that fearing God is more important to you than physical perfection?

-How have you bought into the lies that physical perfection gives you value?

Photo credit: www.flickr.com | ahref

Getting Rid of Barbie's "Perfect Image" Pressure

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