Wednesday, March 3, 2010


She will let me...

and the others won't.

Totally unrelated, I must tell you about cleaning out/up Sister's room. We came to the Barbies. I have a love/hate relationship with Barbie. I had them as a child...mostly I had my mom's Barbies...and I loved dressing them and fixing their hair. I also hate them because the current "standard of beauty" is skin deep, realistically un-attainable, and it's quite pathetic. That alone greatly influenced T and I in purposing not to introduce our girls to Barbie. However, over the years, Sister has been gifted with somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty Barbies.

So...Sister and I are cleaning up and I see the mound of Barbies. We pick several to give away, and come across four Ken dolls. Two are without clothing. I sent her, with them in hand, to her Daddy to ask if he was okay with her playing with these totally ripped dolls. (I'm not a fan of Ken.) His reply, "no." We checked out the other two and discovered, while still ripped, they weren't nearly as unrealistic. As I spoke with Sister on the "why" of our concern, we talked about the world's standard of beauty...and about God's standard of beauty. I picked up Barbie and we talked about how unrealistic she is (I'd like to add in that multiple times Sister has asked why there aren't any short Barbies or any "not so skinny" Barbies, etc.)- no one has legs that long and a waist that tiny (not to mention, Barbie had children!), or other parts that size. In an attempt to reinforce how unrealistic Barbie's measurements are, I asked, does so and so look like that? What about so and so? I named a few people and then asked, "does mommy look like that?" Sister's immediate reply, "well, most certainly NOT."

Now that I've opened a can of worms...state your thoughts, please.


  1. Wow those pictures of your little one are amazing! What (if any) editing software do you use?
    Also, thank you so much for the comment on my blog. Reading it actually made me tear up a little. I needed a gentle reminder to cherish this chaotic time in our lives where it is just the 2 of us doing these projects on our own. These will be fond memories one day!
    The roach comment made me laugh! When we tore down one wall in our breezeway, we hit a roach nest. There was one in there that could have been the size of a mouse. I flipped out and T said "it winked at him". Oh the joys of reno :) Hang in there with you upstairs. I know it will be beautiful when finished!

  2. I couldn't agree with you and T more regarding Barbie and Ken. I love classic toys but I won't mind one bit if Baby Sister misses out on the golden couple... or the whole Disney princess phenomenon, but that is another can of worms for another day!

    I must say, J, that I admire the way you explained and talked to Sister about why you don't like Barbie. You're an intentional mama.

  3. Oh J - Man did I LOVE Barbies growing up. Now, PP's room has vintage Barbie prints on the wall and she's already received a couple of special edition Barbies. It's really odd, because as I read your post it was the first time I ever thought about the fact that PP might one day (soon!) use Barbie to evaluate herself or those around her (including me!). I really, really, realllly loved Barbie growing up (and played with them until...oh, MIDDLE SCHOOL). Barbie even taught me to french braid! And while I don't think I ever consciously used that "image" to evaluate myself, I sit here wondering if I ever subconsciously used it to evaluate others...I feel certain I did. I still remember the girl who sat in front of me in 3rd grade (her full name), and none of the other girls would befriend her because she "smelled bad" and already had some acne. I think about her a lot and wish I had had the courage then...Oh what a huge can of worms. I want PP to be confident, kind, Godly and strong. I've thought and thought about how to guide her into an example that I'm not sure I am consistently able to set, and now that I think about it, why would I give her Barbie - a truly unattainable example. On the other hand, if I start with Barbie where does it stop? I wish you could just impart everything you've spent your life learning into their little minds...the "how's" and "why's," and all the lessons that came with them. You've given me LOTS to think about today! :)

  4. Sweet sister, as you seek wisdom and discernment in this area, it is only evident that you want your precious girl to size herself up to God's standards. As I told you on the phone, she is bombarded with the world's standards ALL DAY LONG, from billboards to magazines in the grocery line. Why would a mother lovingly give her daughter a barbie to play with and size herself up to? I love you and am oh so glad that in God's wisdom, you are traveling these paths ahead of me. :)

  5. I totally agree with your thoughts on Barbie and Ken! It's so great that you guys are thinking through even these small teachable moments! I just hope I can remember to do the same with K is asking those same questions :-) And, love, love, love the photos. Gorgeous! Are you still using Manual and shooting in front of windows? Any new tips to pass on? I am dying to get my girl outside so that we can get in some real natural light. I feel like this winter I have gotten worse at photography instead of better!! I just never feel like she's really in focus :-( You definitely have an eye!

  6. I loved playing with Ken and Barbie growing up. But to be honest with you, I wanted Barbie's long hair and curves. I wanted a guy with Ken features. Never got the look of Barbie and got my heart broke with the guy who looked like Ken.I find it great that you guys are discussing it:) So for me I think it gives children the wrong thoughts of body image.

    God Bless

  7. You are a wonderful mother!

    I liked Barbie as a child, but probably liked baby dolls more. I don't think I ever really put much importance on Barbie's figure. I just thought it was fun to put the different outfits on her!

    But the world is different for our youngsters. There is more to combat. I think the way you're dealing with it is perfect...she's a doll, she's not a standard to be reached for.

  8. Well, you know how I feel about all this. This all goes along with my thoughts on raising a little lady with grace, modesty, and elegance.
    I, personally, don't have a problem with Ella playing with Barbies at the moment (she's only 22 months), but I might have to reevaluate it later. That being said, I would not let her play with anything with too short skirts or cleavage showing tops. Our few barbies are all ones who where the long, elegant gowns and have magic mirrors and such...for some reason, that feels better to me than the ones you see in the stores these days. Luckily, she seems to be way more into her baby dolls...and I'm going to keep encouraging that.
    My biggest heartache is seeing these shows on the Disney channel and such that have young girls rolling their eyes at their parents, being disrespectful, and dressing way too old. I also can't stand how they glorify girls acting like "air heads."
    Even in my own life, I have to be careful what I let myself read or watch on tv because I can find myself being sucked into it all if I'm not careful. It can be hard to find trendy clothes that are also modest (especially summer clothes...geez.)
    In the same breath, I want my daughter to grow up and feel like it is okay to dress a certain way for her husbands eyes ONLY. I don't want her to be ashamed of her figure, but to learn to love what God gives her...but to save that physical beauty only for her husbands eyes. Does this make sense? I digress...
    I could go on and on. For me, it just goes back to the whole wanting my daughter to be modest, act like a lady, have some class, grace, and poise, etc. I feel like if we mamas lead by example, but also do what you did with sister (in telling her that Barbie is unrealistic) then we can raise the type of little ladies God wants them to be.
    And hey, if it means getting rid of certain toys or tv shows if we sense it is a potential problem, I think we should definitely do it. It's not sheltering's raising them to love who they are because God made them!
    Hugs to you sweet Mama!

  9. Well, since we don't Barbie here, I don't have a say so. I played with them as a youngster and thoroughly enjoyed cutting their hair into new styles.
    You have been a busy girl!!!! Take a deep breath, a hot bath, and by all means let's have dinner and some gal time soon so you can catch me up on your life!!!! :) Love you!

  10. Those last 3 sentences made me smile. :) Even the most beautiful people I have met don't look like Barbie. Why? Because Barbie is the fake beauty, and I have met so many REALLY beautiful people, whose true beauty doesn't depend on a slim waist or bright red lipstick. I'm so grateful for that! I'm so glad that you're teaching your little girl the importance of inner beauty. She will appreciate that in the future, and hopefully from your teaching, teach her children the same thing. I have had 2 Barbies in my life--they had long hair, flowing, old fashioned gowns, and they had a sweet, quiet charm. My grandma called them "old-fashioned girls" and that's what they've always been to me. When I was in my tweens, I envied one girl that had every barbie thing imaginable. Since then, I've grown to detest them for their "sappiness", if you know what I mean. I'm proud of you, J, for taking this step with Little Sis. God bless your mothering!
    With much love, Rebekah

    P.S. I have an email to you in the draft right now. :) It will hopefully get finished and sent soon. Here's my blog link:

  11. The deep issue here is the message they send your girl and how you handle that ~ God will give you the wisdom as you seek Him for it! (James 1:5) It's complicated being a parent, isn't it! What a blessing to have the Lord to guide us! :)

    P.S. The barbie thing was never an issue at our house until the entrance of our Emma ~ thankfully, we have not really had to deal with it at all ~ most of the Mummy's of other little girls in our circle of friends are on the same page as us. But, I do agree that it can become awkward when they are gifted to you...that's for sure!


  12. J,
    I'm sure that if you'd followed up your question about you looking like Barbie with "Do you think Mama is beautiful?" you would have gotten a resounding yes.

    You are teaching all 3 kiddos what real beauty (and grace) looks like each day.

    Bravo, though, for tackling such a hard discussion. She already knows the issue is there so yea! for talking about it now!


  13. I have to say that I agree with you on the Barbie issue. What is so funny about Barbie's is that there really isn't much to do with them. Dress them up and send them on dates. I prefer for my little girl to stick with baby dolls!

  14. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this. What a blessing to see other parents trying to be intentional about raising their children God's way. You've given me a lot to think about!