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Using The Barbie Movie To Discuss Equality In Christianity

barbie movie equality grace impact prograce Sep 20, 2023
Using The Barbie Movie To Discuss Equality In Christianity

There has been so much buzz lately around the Barbie movie, and for good reason. Many people went to the movie expecting a lovely story about a Barbie doll living in Barbie Land. And in Barbie Land, everything is always fun and exciting. But the movie is so much more. The Barbie movie examines what happens when one group feels excluded and less than another group. This is something we have seen time and time again in our Christian community. Sadly, the church can be an unsafe and unfair place for women, people of color, and several other marginalized groups.


Why Do We Exclude?

The Barbie movie does a pretty good job explaining why excluding one group is so easy. The main reason is that it’s how we’ve always done it. It’s ingrained into our society, and it’s hard to escape from that set-up. People have been working for decades to move women forward in society, but men still lead and control the narrative in many situations. As the character Ruth Handler said in the movie, “We mothers stand still, so our daughters can look back to see how far they've come.”

Within the Bible itself, there seem to be differing views on how man and woman came to this world. In Genesis 1:27, the Bible says, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." But in Genesis 2:22, the Bible states, “Then the LORD God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man.” With the first scripture, men and women are equal and have equal say both in the church and society. With the second passage, it can sound as if women were created as an accessory for men, just like Ken was an accessory for Barbie. Sadly, some in the Church use this iteration to insinuate that men and their leadership are more important. 


How To Make Everyone Feel Included In Our Church

In the movie, the Barbies save Barbie Land from The Patriarchy with engaged listening. The Barbies learned that the Kens felt undervalued and wanted to regain some of the power. Gloria and Sasha, the powerful mother-daughter duo, feel undervalued in the Real World. They want to fight for their space in society. By seeing how understanding and engaged Barbie is with Ken, Gloria gains the strength to stand up to her boss. She discusses what type of Barbie the real world needs: one that reflects the life of the everyday woman. The issue at the heart of this is a lack of grace. As Rev. Dr. Darice says, “our issues around race and our issues around women are all ultimately heart issues. So while legislation can change and doors can open, we wonder why we are in the same place. It’s because doors have opened, but hearts haven’t.” Grace is the path to reconciliation for us all. Learning how to receive and extend grace is something you can work on by yourself or in a small group setting. We also need to use engaged listening to make people feel safe in sharing their story. Without a change of heart, we will not see the societal change we strive for.


Contact Us

As much as we all may wish that things were as easy as they are in Barbie Land, we know that isn’t how the Real World works. Life and humans are complex. That doesn’t mean we can’t try to listen and understand the needs of others. By using the tips in the Barbie Movie, we can have more meaningful conversations. Contact us today to learn more about how we can follow the example of Jesus and work to create a more safe and welcoming Christian community.

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