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Why Barbie won’t be under the tree: a dad’s letter to his daughters

Dear girls,

As you know, we had already settled the issue of whether you were getting a Barbie for Christmas. But then I took you to the movies last week, and you saw that new “imagine the possibilities” Barbie commercial that has gone viral. I’m sure that advertisement planted some seeds in your impressionable brains. So before those seeds take root, I’m going to go ahead and dig them up.

No, girls, you cannot have a Barbie.

To be fair, it really was cute to see little girls pretending to be grown-up professionals. And then there was that inspiring, all-caps message towards the end: “YOU CAN BE ANYTHING.”

Yes, girls, you can be anything — well, except a Barbie owner. At least not as long as I’m buying.

I appreciate what Mattel is trying to do with that adorable advertisement, girls. But if you really want to understand why you’re not getting a Barbie, think about the very last line of the commercial: “When a girl plays with Barbie, she imagines everything she can become.”

Girls, they can pretend you’ll imagine being a CEO because you played with Barbie and Skipper, but let’s get real: What you’re more likely to imagine is that it’s perfectly normal to be a starved-looking, big-breasted, long-legged woman whose waist is only big enough for half a liver and a few inches of intestines. I don’t want any part in that.

Yes, I want you to imagine growing up and having a healthy body. But I also want you to realize you’re going to have curves, weight fluctuations, bad hair days, stretch marks, and wrinkles too. Embrace that. Be okay with that. Like the Good Book says, you’re “fearfully and wonderfully made” — all of you, including the physical attributes that, on a Barbie, would cause her to be deemed defective.

There will be plenty of time for you to be exposed to idealized images of malnourished women in your lifetime, but I sure don’t plan to be the one introducing them to you. And that’s why you’re not getting a Barbie.


This piece appeared at Fox News Opinion on  If you’d like an email with a weekly recap of what I’ve written, click here. You can also keep up with my latest articles (and more) on Facebook or Twitter.