In a Barbie World, Teach Her This!

By Teri

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By Dannah Gresh, Founder of True Girl

Is Barbie good or bad?

That’s a question I’ve invited moms to ask since I published my best-selling Six Ways to Keep the Little in Your Girl. Ironically, Greta Gerwig poses the same question in the highest earning female-directed feature film, Barbie.

In the movie, a discontent teen named Sasha (Ariana Greenblatt) says to Barbie (Margot Robbie) when she first meets her, “You’ve been making women feel bad about themselves since you were invented. . . . You destroy girls’ innate sense of worth.” 

If tip-toed Barbie were an actual woman, her breasts would be so heavy she’d be forced to walk on all fours! (Or so rumors say.) Mattel, the maker of the doll, has more recently launched Barbie in all shapes and sizes to address this concern. But it’s still unattainably perfect Barbie who gets the starring role. 

Does it matter?  

It does. 

As an experiment, researchers gave some grade school-aged girls a sexualized doll, “Fashion” Barbie, then asked the children about their career aspirations. Girls who played with the Barbie doll had fewer goals than the girls who instead played with Mr. Potato Head, who has no sex appeal.

The messages our girls toy with matter. 

Now, I’m not here to debate the film. (Here’s a blog that does that well.) 

But I will say this: I think Gerwig might be Mattel’s biggest public relations crisis management tool to date. Because the only thing bigger than Barbie’s…er, figure…is her sales “figure.” She’s making a comeback. The “Barbie effect” is boosting Mattel’s direct to consumer sales. And that’s not going to change anytime soon. 

So, I’ll continue following the behavioral science on the impact of dolls. But I’d much rather Christians be known for what they are for, than what they are against. Many mommy bloggers and Christian leaders are rallying against a secular, pop-culture film. But I think there’s a better way to spend our time. And our persuasive words.

In a Barbie world, let’s teach our girls to be Bible girls. Instead of telling them not to be like Barbie. Let’s teach them to be like Ruth. And Miriam. And Mary

Yes, people are critiquing the movie. But I’d rather see us spending our time and our words communicating what our girls should become rather than what they should not be. Invite your daughter to study scripture so that she knows the will of God, uses scripture to train herself in righteousness, and put scripture to work so that her words, works and actions move others toward God. 

Because we have the solution that the Barbie movie couldn’t find. It clearly could not answer massive questions about gender and beauty. But we do have the answers. And we find them in the Bible.

Let’s raise Bible girls in a Barbie world.




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