Creator of ‘Priest Barbie’ speaks to class on feminism and Christianity


Reverand Julie Fisher speaks about the roles and importance of women in religion over the past thousands of years on March 26 in the Student Center. Photo by Adrianne Bastas.

Mattel’s famous doll has gone from occupations to vocations thanks to the Rev. Julie Fisher, the priest of the Episcopal Church of Kent, who created Episcopal Priest Barbie.

Fisher spoke in an open lecture to a Feminism in Christianity class Monday in the Student Center about women’s role in Christianity as well as her own experiences as a priest.

“I love being a priest. It’s like 10,000 times better than I thought it would be,” Fisher said. It’s totally the right fit for the thing I’m called to.”

Fisher said she first felt called to priesthood when she was 12 years old, and women could not be priests at the time. She was ordained in 2005, 32 years after she decided she wanted to become a priest.

Fisher described the differences between Episcopalians and other denominations of Christianity, such as their acceptance of women, gays and lesbians as priests. She provided examples from the Bible and in ancient art from the catacombs beneath Rome that depict women in the roles such as priests, apostles and prophets.

Eric Adeyemi, a junior sociology major who is taking the class, said he wanted to hear what Fisher had to say about Christianity since he is also a Christian.

“I wanted to see what she was going to talk about and fill my knowledge with someone with more experience in my religion,” Adeyemi said, “and to hear what she says and try to relate it to my aspect of religion.”

Fisher describes the Episcopalian Church as the experimental group to serve as an example for other Christian groups.

“We did Vatican II 400 years before Roman Catholics did it,” Fisher said. “Maybe 400 years from now the Catholics will ordain women.”

Linda Lewis, administrative secretary for enterprise support and application services who is taking the class, frequently asked questions and discussed openly with Fisher.

“Rev. Fisher presents a form of Christianity that is more encompassing of all Christians,” Lewis said. “It certainly is a more powerful view of Christianity for women and especially for feminists.”

Fisher became famous in 2010 for making an Episcopal Priest Barbie, which went viral on the Internet. The Barbie has gained 10,000 followers from around the world on her Facebook page.

“Barbie has been an astronaut. Barbie has run for President. Barbie has been a veterinarian. Barbie has been a doctor. Barbie has been a computer engineer. But never before was there a priest Barbie,” Fisher said. “By taking that and appropriating it, they’re saying girls can be anything.”

Contact Rebecca Reis at [email protected].