This week I read online that this tattooed Barbie is causing quite the controversy. Her name is Tokidoki Barbie. As I read through some articles to see what was really being criticized about this doll (because to me she was no more anti-age appropriate than many other dolls out there), the overrall theme was that this Barbie was a “bad role model” and that girls who look to Barbie as a “role model” were being let down.
What? Tattoos or no tattoos, what are we doing giving Barbie the status of role model? I am a mom of 3, 2 of which are little girls who happen to enjoy barbies, and if I have an issue with tattoos I’ll have to get rid of my pastor hubby too because he has several of them (and He still loves Jesus!) Having said that, my husband and I make great efforts to preserve the childhoods of our children against a culture that pushes them to grow up WAY too fast. But seriously, if we are teaching our girls that a plastic doll is what we aspire to be, then we have way bigger issues than a few tattoos!
My writing today is not to say whether anyone should or shouldn’t purchase this doll for their little girl. Parents must make decisions every day about what they will allow their children to wear, or not wear, have or not have, go or not go, and do or not do. These decisions should be made keeping in mind your child’s personality, strengths, weaknesses, and stage of development. It is irrelevant to me if you purchase this toy or any other toy. My question for you is this:
Do you know who it is your children look to as their primary role model?
The person God has placed in their life as their authority figure. Like it or not, they are watching, soaking in, and internalizing your example. They hunger for your guidance. They long for it, even when they appear to reject it. They will model their life after you, not a celebrity, not a fictional character, not a supermodel, YOU. They may not choose the same clothes as you or like the same music, but they will absorb what it is that you deem important. They will discern what you make a priority. They will learn to value what you value.
I was once a little girl who played Barbies. And do you know, that not one time as an adult have I ever said “boy, I wish I were more like Barbie?” Not once. And I’ll go out on a limb and say you haven’t either. There was never a “preacher’s wife barbie”, yet here I am, loving Jesus, loving serving Him through ministry. (Though if they ever make “preacher’s wife barbie” I hope they let me design it because I know they would butcher it and I would make it AWESOME!) No, my model was my mother who taught me to be a woman of character, grace, and dignity. And if you didn’t have a mother who filled this role for you, I’m sure there was another living, breathing woman you could look to for this at some point in your life.
I am not saying our children aren’t influenced by culture or that we don’t have to shield them from absorbing things that are too mature for their precious lives. I have said “no” to many things that have gone against the grain for my children and I am not afraid to keep on for the sake of fighting for their childhood when no one else will. It’s my responsibility and I take it very seriously. What I am saying is that even with all of the intrusions we experience culturally that we must ward off for the sake of the innocence of our children, YOU are still the one with the most influence in their lives. You may feel it is their friends, celebrities, or the kids pressuring them at school, but it’s still YOU. God designed it that way. He gave you the power, authority, and voice in their lives. Lead them with your words. Lead them with boundaries. Lead them with priorities. Lead them with your example. They need you!
Please don’t abdicate your leadership over to anyone. Especially not a Barbie doll!
“The godly walk with integrity; blessed are their children who follow them.” Proverbs 20:7
FYI: Tokidoki Barbie is not sold in toy stores and is a $50.00 collector’s Barbie. She is currently sold out.