7.29.2010

You're Such a Doll


Barbie has been around for a long time, maintaining celebrity status for over fifty years. Yet in spite of her age, not a wrinkle has formed on her face. With her continual smile, glossy blond locks, sparkling blue eyes and size two waistline, it's no wonder she attracted such a boyfriend as Ken. The couple remained together for years; touring the United States in their various RV's, cruise ships, ponies and sports cars. (Of course, Barbie is also enormously wealthy.)
As the envy of many girls, Barbie has not only become a celebrity but an icon to which women have aspired. Saying a girl “looks like Barbie” is a compliment. However, a groundbreaking 1997 edition of Health magazine concluded that appeasing the Barbie image is impossible for most women. The magazine revealed the average woman as about 5'4" and weighing approximately 145 pounds. On the other hand, Barbie's thin figure consists of being a tall 6'0" and weighing in at only 101 pounds.

Above: Barbie vs. Average Woman

It doesn't require a Ph.D to notice she is grossly underweight and possibly victim of an eating disorder. The same year Health published its article, Barbie experienced plastic surgery, resulting in a slightly expanded waist.
However noble the attempt to "reform" Barbie's body, a re-molding of the doll cannot change the way women think. It’s a fact: human beings are fools for beauty, especially women. We want the admiration that comes with being considered beautiful, no matter the cost. As I have struggled with an eating disorder, so many friends have shared with me that they are hiding the same secret, it's everywhere. Studies indicate that seven million American women have an eating disorder, and 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of twelve and twenty-five. Half of girls between the ages of eleven and thirteen consider themselves overweight, and 80% of thirteen year olds have tried to lose weight. Beauty is serious business.
And yet despite its influence on women, beauty is not a solid thing. America’s obsession with skinny is only a recent addition to a standard of beauty which has evolved throughout the decades. For example, actresses of the 1940's and 50's sported neon red lipstick. It was classy. It was sophisticated. The fad was given a decent burial in the 1960's as a new idea of "beauty" was pursued.

Above: A vintage magazine (featuring 1930's and 40's movie star, Claudette Colbert) contrasts to the perception of beauty featured on a modern magazine cover.

Our perception of beauty fluctuates. As a result, we will not be cured by a new Barbie. Our view of beauty cannot merely be given a makeover. It must be revolutionized. In order to discover lastly, timeless beauty, we must cut down to its very definition.

Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the LORD is worthy to be praised."

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