Barbie's friend and fellow musketeer whispers, "We came to protect the prince, not date him!" Moments later, these women valiantly engage in combat against those sent to harm the soon-to-be-king. All the while, the highly trained male musketeers sit nearby, helpless.
For Barbie to be fencing, mastering martial arts or even wanting to be a musketeer does not bother me. I welcome portrayals of strong, confident females in the movies and television shows my girls watch. From bilingual explorers to little sisters to pink-haired storytellers, entertainment for young kids can encourage children to embrace their potential.
But instead of pointing girls toward excellence, some shows promote "girl power." Girl power says that girls are stronger and smarter than boys. Their strength is contrasted with the glaring weaknesses of others, often male counterparts or authority figures, such as parents or teachers. As a result, girl power encourages comparison and rivalry in the quest for excellence and identity, and it defiantly cries, "I'm better than you."
The Bible calls us to humbly use our strengths to support and encourage one another, rather than excelling at the expense and embarrassment of others.
How should you teach your child "girl power" as God intended? Does it mean no more Barbie or Olivia the pig? Perhaps. Or could it mean taking advantage of teachable moments to discuss whether a character's bold attitude is serving others or is merely self-serving? The key is to help your child realize that her identity isn't found in demeaning others but found in the One who's given your child powerful gifts so she can humbly help those in need.
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2010 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2010 by Ashleigh Slater. Used by permission.
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