Many moons ago I was holding my 18-month-old son and was chatting with some friends. Completely unexpected, one friend asked me the following question:
So, are you going to let your daughter play with Barbies?
Huh? Did she really just ask me that? My daughter was still in my womb!
“Well,” came my honest reply, “I’ve never thought about that — I only have a son right now.”
I was curious why she would ask me such a question. Was it really that big of a deal?
After seeing I had not yet formed an opinion on the matter, my friend kindly explained why she didn’t let her daughter own a Barbie doll — and wow, it was an eye-opening experience for me.
Sure enough, four daughters later, my position is very similar to that same mom who brought up the Barbie issue. Today, I am grateful that she encouraged me to “think outside of the box” concerning Barbie dolls. She saved me from questioning myself later when peer pressure from other moms and daughters would be keenly felt.
I know Barbie dolls are always on the Top Ten “Hot Pick” list of toys for girls. In fact, when I was a little girl, I got a new Barbie — or four — every single year. I also had the accessories and Barbie cars, and yes, I played with my friends for hours on end with Barbies.
I think many moms out there are like I was when I was expecting my first daughter. Most of us never think twice about letting our girls play with Barbie dolls. If we played with Barbies, and our moms played with them, certainly there’s no harm in it, right?
I know Barbie dolls have been attacked because of the body image messages it sends to little girls — but my reasons go far deeper. Sure, body image is important, but I think it is highly overrated in this age of parenting. There are way more serious issues out there than how a girl feels about her appearance. There are moral lessons that go beyond the surface of the skin.
Let’s share some honest, mom-to-mom thoughts and please leave your kind and constructive comments below or on our Facebook page. I want to connect, chat, and help you through your parenting journey — not just throw out my opinion without giving you an opportunity to share yours! So, if you please, here are the reasons why my daughter will not be getting a Barbie for Christmas.
- I don’t like the idea of my daughter dressing and undressing a full-grown woman. I seriously did not think about this until I saw young girls undressing their Barbie dolls. Barbie dolls are crafted to look like adult women, not babies, and this is just simply improper and not natural.
- I don’t like naked dolls laying around my home. If you have had any dolls in your home for any length of time, you will notice that kids want to change their dolls’ clothes frequently. Sometimes, in the spirit of playing, dolls are throw down in mid-change and forgotten. There’s nothing wholesome about having small, naked dolls who are fashioned after grown women laying around the house. Does that bother anyone else?
- I don’t like the materialistic messages of Barbie. Barbie has gigantic dream homes, countless over-the-top expensive cars and a crazy, unrealistic wadrobe. Should my daughter strive and dream about living the life of Barbie? Not in the least. Happiness and success is not based on our possessions or appearance, yet Barbie teaches it is. Truly, truly sad.
- As a whole, Barbie’s clothing is provocative. I teach my girls to dress modestly as not to draw attention to their bodies. These teachings are based upon I Timothy 2:9 which says:
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
Barbie defies those teachings with more exposed skin, tighter clothes and shiny, flashy wardrobes.
- Barbie’s body proportions are unrealistic. Yes, I do have a problem with the body image messages that Barbie sends out, but it is not my biggest pet peeve about the doll. However, it is unfair for girls to think they need to have a crazy tiny waist and a large bust to be considered attractive and beautiful.
- The ideals set forth by Barbie are shallow. Do I want my daughter consumed with the latest fashion trends? Nope. Do I want her infatuated with the idea of having a boyfriend? Nope again. What do I desire her to be interested in and concerned about? As a Christian mom, I want my daughter concerned about her walk with God, loving her neighbor, serving others and her inward beauty. The Barbie products tempt her to think about one person and one person alone — herself.
- The original Barbie has a dark beginning. The question of “Why was a mature woman doll created” is a good question to ask yourself. If Barbies were never around, would little girls ask for a grown woman doll to play with? Just those questions can help you see the true beginnings of this doll’s inspiration. My daughter’s and their friends have always asked for “baby dolls.” They have a natural desire to care for babies — not an adult woman. Check out the history for yourself!
The reasons above are honestly why my daughter will not get a Barbie for Christmas. I have friends who let their kids play with Barbies, and that is their choice. I do not think of those families as less-than-intentional parents. In fact, I respect many aspects of their parenting, but could not and would not buy my daughter a Barbie. Has anyone ever given us one? Yes, they have. Did I make a scene? Absolutely not. My daughters said “Thank you” very politely and the matter was over.
Every decision we make concerning our children should be a thoughtful, unbiased and prayerful decision. We need more intentional parents in today’s generation; parents who are unafraid to do what they believe is right for their family.
What is your take on Barbie? Is she on your holiday shopping list?