February 13, 2014
In a way, putting Barbie in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is something of a cultural confession.
On the other hand, the Barbie DVD movies are pretty good. Even if one doesn't like the dolls, the brand isn't all bad. And then there's Toy Story 3, which shows that without Barbie, we'd have no Ken. No one would like that.
I think you have it right, Josh, this is a sort of confession. Though I think it is SI finally confessing that the swimsuit issue is a complete objectification of women. If turning women into brushed, retouched photos to be lusted after isn't enough, this time they'll just use an actual plastic object. As a youth leader and a mom of teens, I see where this leaves our girls--starving themselves, cutting themselves, giving themselves away in a search for approval. It's an upward battle to convince them that their real beauty lies in the fact that they are created in the image of God rather than created to be an image for men(and/or women).
I find this a fascinating clash of worlds: Barbie was the dream of little girls. SI models are the dream of grown men. What both Barbie and SI models have in common is that they are the nemesis of body-conscious women. How curious to smoosh all those things together on the same page. I love your point that it is a "cultural confession". We are confused people, grappling with what it means to value people and value our bodies in a way that reflects God's values (the one who sees the heart, and does not judge by appearance), and yet simultaneously ask "but, isn't God the creator of beauty?" Great questions, Josh.
I agree that putting Barbie on the cover is a nod to objectification. I think the suit she's wearing covers more than just about any SI suit I've seen. And...I haven't looked at Barbie in awhile...it could just be the suit but has she had a breast reduction? Kidding aside, I don't think the problem is appreciating physical beauty or putting some effort into appearance. The problem is when value is assigned to human beings based on physical beauty (or talent, wealth, intelligence, or anything else for that matter.) If God has made everything beautiful in its time (Ecc.3:11) it's time we look ourselves in the mirror and say "I am beautiful" and look at our fellow human beings through God's eyes and say "and so are you!"
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