Covering up Barbie: Parents who oppose naked dolls find solution, generate controversy

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 22 2013 10:45 a.m. MDT

Lindsey Whitney posted her own version of Barbie on her website Growing Kids Ministry.

Courtesy of "Growing Kids Ministry"

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It's not a new discussion, but lately many mom bloggers have brought up the topic of naked Barbie dolls and a method for making the toys modest.

Many tutorials for covering up unclothed Barbie dolls are available on Pinterest. These tutorials are designed for those who aren't concerned simply about the clothes designed for Barbie dolls but about the appearance of the doll without her fluffy dress.

"I tried to let it go, but the sight of those dolls without clothes was making me very uncomfortable," Lindsey Whitney wrote on her blog Growing kids ministry. "So, I decided to try a little experiment. Why not give the dolls bathing suits? Behold, I give you 'Nail Polish Swimsuit Barbie!'"

Each tutorial is a little different, but the point is to provide a permanent covering for the doll. Many have shared the different posts and provided comments commending the bloggers for the creative idea, while others disagree.

"I think this is a great idea! I have small children and am struggling with how to teach them to respect their bodies and keep their privates private without making them feel ashamed of themselves," Jennifer commented on her website Good Ideas and Tips.

"I think this is a good idea because it keeps Barbie’s ‘privates’ private without making an issue of anything else. I’m sorry other people are bothered by this idea, but personally, I think it is a great solution for some who might otherwise not allow Barbies in their households! "

Heidi Doggett expressed her indifference by creating a meme asking mothers who color the bodies of Barbie dolls to "Stop it!" In the description of her pin, Doggett wrote about the potentially harmful messages she believes this modesty movement can send.

"I find all the nail-polished and Sharpied Barbies around Pinterest lately disturbing. So I created Never-Nude Barbie," Doggett wrote.

"Never Nude Barbie was taught as a child that any form of nudity is either uncomfortable, embarrassing, immodest or sinful. As a teenager, she constantly worried whether her clothes might 'make boys have bad thoughts,' and now that she's married, she's self-conscious about being naked in front of her husband and feels guilty if it seems like something she's wearing turns him on."

While many commenters and bloggers have taken a specific stand, some have tried to see both sides.

"I don't see anything wrong with naked Barbies, but some families value modesty, and I don't have a problem with that," Lori Biddle posted on Facebook. "I don't think this necessarily teaches girls that their bodies are bad; it's just that naked bodies should only be seen by a few."

A recent post regarding the topic that has stirred up discussion on social media comes from Cassity at Remodelaholic. After linking to a Pinterest tutorial and posting her own images of dolls that she has 'remodeled,' this blogger wrote a response to the many negative remarks she received.

"I wrote the post more as just a fun way to not have naked Barbies lying around all over my house. My children are young enough that they have a hard time putting the dresses they take off, back on," Cassity wrote. "But I now know, that apparently people believe that the only way to teach a child to love their bodies is to show them naked dolls."

The Barbie doll has caused other heated discussions in the past. Most recently, Nickolay Lamm designed a Barbie doll with a more realistic figure based on the porportions of an average girl.

Email: spetersen@deseretnews.com

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