‘Barbie’ stokes gender debate only the Bible can answer

by Renata

Renata Kiss, FISM News

Who would have thought that a plastic doll could cause so much controversy? The lighter half of the ‘Barbenheimer’ duo, “Barbie” has pitted conservatives and liberals against each other in the fight over gender norms.

The movie, directed by Greta Gerwig, has become a global phenomenon over the last two weeks, bringing in over $770 million at the box office. The movie is now ranked the third largest film of 2023. 

But despite its success, Gerwig’s “Barbie” received harsh backlash from some conservative critics who thought that the movie promoted woke, feminist ideals. For instance, The Daily Wire’s Ben Shapiro called the film a “dog’s vomit” referring to his obvious dislike of the narrative and its perceived political message. 

On the other side of the political spectrum, however, one MSNBC opinion piece heralded the movie as feminist gospel and an antidote to so-called “toxic masculinity.” 

But what neither side recognizes is that the movie is a satire about both matriarchal and patriarchal societies. Barbieland is run exclusively by women, and the “real world” that Barbie enters is run solely by men. Meanwhile, the narrative has no problem acknowledging that neither extreme is good. Barbie, and her sidekick Ken, realize that the existence they truly desire cannot be found in these false utopias. While the movie tries to find a solution by leveling the gender differences between men and women, a biblical perspective offers a radically different answer to the battle of the sexes.

A sermon I was listening to the other day reminded me that God’s kingdom is the complete opposite of the culture we live in. Michelle Barnewall, affiliate professor of New Testament at Biola University, puts it this way:

The body of Christ combined both Jew and Greek, slave and free, barbarian and Scythian, and male and female into a unity in which all were called to love and serve the other. It was precisely because these distinctions existed that the believers’ unity and love would be so remarkable.

She further points out in her book, “Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian: A Kingdom Corrective to the Evangelical Gender Debate,” that it is our dependence on God that defines who we are, not the status we are given in our world.