Not Barbie World

Barbie was a blockbuster movie and caused a lot of commentary on gender roles, patriarchy, and matriarchy. “Rather than offering a blind affirmation of feminism or a critique of patriarchy, the movie explores how we use ideology to bypass the messier work of growing as humans. The gender wars are not the plot so much as the setting. They shape the world in which Barbie and Ken pursue maturity. … Eventually, Ken reckons with the roots of his discontent, which are less about social order and more about an abdication of self through posturing and performative identity. Barbie’s journey, too, is directed away from gender stereotypes and toward mature personhood. But unlike Ken, who learns his own value, she learns to embrace her own imperfection” (Hannah Anderson, “Barbie and Ken Go East of Eden,” Christianity Today, July 27, 2023, Rich, poor, male, female, immigrant, natural born citizen, charismatic, or fundamentalist—we’re all attempting to grow up in Christ. It’s messy work. It requires constant readjusting of our will toward the will of God. Like Barbie and Ken, our journey toward maturity will include struggle, tears, laughs, and occasionally being bent out of shape. God’s kingdom continues to be one that tosses worldly systems on their heads and lives in the tension of being redeemed but not yet in the fullness of that redemption. As we walk it, may we be people who make room for everyone, because in Christ, we are equal in love, purpose, and faith. There is no status marker that can separate us from the love of Christ, and it shouldn’t separate us from one another.