Barbara Millicent Roberts turned 50 last month. She’s a few years older than me, but from recent media appearances, I can tell she’s in much better shape. Ms. Roberts doesn’t show any signs of aging. Her skin is flawless. She has no wrinkles. No blemishes. No age spots. No loss of elasticity. As always, her makeup is perfectly applied–her hair is stylish and shiny.
Ms. Roberts weighs the same as she did twenty years ago. Her waist remains tiny, her legs long and slim. Her nails are always perfectly groomed. No backaches or bunions keep her from constantly wearing high heels. Clothes are crucial, and contributors to her extensive and fashionable wardrobe include world-class fashion designers such as Armani, Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Donna Karan, Dior, and Versace.
It’s not just her appearance that’s a source of envy. Barbara Roberts has a long and illustrious resume. She’s been a rock star, a professional athlete, an astronaut, a doctor, and a presidential candidate. She currently earns about $3.3 billion a year. And she’s popular, too. She’s had scores of friends, and has been romanced for decades by a handsome, long-time suitor. With her beauty, clothes, cars, houses, careers, and independence, Ms. Roberts is the epitome of fulfilled womanhood.
The problem is, she’s not a real woman. She’s a toy. You probably know her by her retail nickname, “Barbie.” And the image of womanhood she portrays is as fake as her plastic skin. It’s sad that the best vision of womanhood the world has to offer is built on artificial beauty, exaggerated sexuality, unfettered consumerism, fierce independence, and unrealistic expectations. Barbie’s image totally misses what true womanhood is all about.
God’s plan for manhood and womanhood existed from eternity past, before the foundation of the world. Scripture explains that He created us to display His glory (Isa. 43:6-7). That was His overarching purpose. Manhood, womanhood, and marriage display the glory of God’s marvelous plan–that Jesus Christ laid down His life as Husband to redeem and purify the Bride He loves (the Church). When God created male and female, He had the relationship of Christ and His Bride in mind. Men are to reflect the strength, love, and self-sacrifice of Christ. Women are to reflect the character, grace, and beauty of the Bride He redeemed.
The implications for womanhood are staggering. This places womanhood at the center of God’s ultimate purpose. It endows it with supernatural significance and meaning. It lifts it from a Barbie-Doll-type existence to a profound level of importance. Womanhood exists to display God’s masterpiece of redemption. Sisters, the vision of womanhood that modern culture entices us with is far too small. Barbie’s beauty is shallow, fleeting, and deceptive. But the beauty of Christ’s holy Bride is spectacular, eternal, and real. (Eph. 5:22-33)
Plastic Barbie or Eternal Bride . . . Which of these two visions of womanhood has captivated your heart?