Humor writer Rhonda Rhea got it right when she said, “Barbie boasts a figure that would only be feasible if she totally rearranged several of her internal organs.”
John Kehoe, Barbie’s biographer (1998) said the doll, at human size, would be 5’6″, weigh 110 pounds, and have these measurements: 39-18-35! *
Another comedian, Anita Renfroe, said, “I’d like to see a “Comfort Loving Barbie.’ They could accessorize her with sensible shoes, white cotton granny panties, elastic waist jeans and a flannel-covered hot water bottle.” LOL!
One woman’s story is an example of the extent some will go to feel beautiful … like Barbie.
Cindy Jackson, founder of the Cosmetic Surgery Network, transformed herself into a living Barbie with more than $100,000, because she wanted to appear “breathtaking” like her sister … even “glamorous.”
I grew up with a Barbie because my mom thought I should have one. (I’d rather have erector sets and Lincoln logs to this day!) I played with them with my sister, but I always thought Barbie was “too primp-y.” At age 9, my Barbie was much like that 1959 version in the photo. (It was my mom’s not-too-logical step up from a Tiny Tears baby doll, but maybe Barbie was all that was available at the time.)
Even as a child, I compared Barbie with all the women I loved and didn’t like what I saw in her.
She didn’t have my grandma’s wrinkles or my mom’s thighs. Her measurements weren’t like anyone I knew, and all the Webb family had short, stumpy legs. I thought her tiny feet would be better suited to a China doll.
What can you expect from a plastic, pin-up-perfect doll except unreachable standards and superficial everything?
Elisabeth Elliot, a godly woman who died recently (June, 2015), described these impossible standards:
“People’s standards, of course, differ. Usually, in things that do not matter, we set them impossibly high and thus guarantee for ourselves a life of discontent.”
Author and speaker Tonya Ruiz wrote, “God wants us to be smart. He wants us to use our brains and ‘consider’ what we do. … Barbie’s head is empty — yours is not.”
God not only wants us to be smart; He wants us to be wise, and He is the source of wisdom (Proverbs 2:6). He is the source of wisdom about beauty, good body image and every healthy thing women seek. It does not good to compare ourselves with each other. We must believe what God says about us.
So what does God say?
“I will praise You because I have been remarkably and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, and I know this very well” (Psalm 139:14, HCSB).
After I became a Christ-follower, I discovered a beauty far beyond Barbie. I came to understand and embrace the beauty of who I am in Christ and why He created me.
Elisabeth Eliot concluded her thoughts on physical versus spiritual beauty with these words: “In things that matter we set them (standards) too low and are easily pleased with ourselves.”
I think this is the balance. There’s nothing wrong with beautifying our bodies to the glory of God. Even my no-nonsense Grandpa agreed it’s OK for women to “paint the barn.” But in what really matters — inner beauty — our standards are often vague or shallow.
The Bible encourages discernment about true beauty: “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” (Proverbs 31:30; also 1 Timothy 2:9).
Mary Kassian wrote, “The Lord wants us to clothe ourselves in fine, spotless garments of righteousness — in holy character and holy deeds. (Revelation 19:7-8). He wants us to be beautiful, and through Jesus, we are! The great story of the gospel is that God gives us the opportunity to clothe ourselves in the beauty of Christ.
“He provides the beauty,” Mary said, “and we don’t need to work or strive to measure up, nor do we need fear that we will fail to meet the standard.”
The King desires our beauty (symbolically illustrated in Psalm 45:11) because it is His gift to us, and it’s far beyond the beauty of a plastic doll.
How can you cooperate with the Lord as He makes your life beautiful?
* Reference to Kehoe: http://graphic.pepperdine.edu/living/2007/2007-03-22-barbie.htm