Barbie Doll Poem Analysis Essay

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This first stanza ends with the girl’s puberty years and the realization of her society’s standards of beauty as she is told of the presence of her “great big nose and fat legs.” Growing up with tools to help prepare her for what’s to come, the girl is overcome with this new standard.

Although she was healthy, intelligent, and even strong, “she went to and fro apologizing” for everyone else looked past her true talents and could only see “a fat nose on thick legs.” Her beauty and appearance became the main focus, masking her inner personality and confusing her motives and actions.

“Barbie Doll,” a poem written by Marge Piercy in 1936, clearly delivers strong feminist views about the pressures and standards women are forced to live with.

With a depressing tone, the poem describes a young girl’s life beginning with her birth and ending with her ironic death.

This motion suggests that the author feels this is a common situation that constantly presses on females, especially young girls.

Social standards and expectations mold women to become Barbie dolls, fake perfection.The child began to learn that her culture was more occupied with her appearance than what she accomplished or how she acted and that to become accepted she must conform to people’s expectations.The author begins to end the poem with an extreme solution to the girl’s predicament and describes her suicide with euphemism."Barbie Doll" appears in Piercy's 1973 collection, To Be of Use.By using the iconic image of the Barbie doll as a kind of straw "man," Piercy implicitly criticizes the ways in which women are socialized into stereotypical feminine behavior.As a young child, the girl was “presented dolls that did pee-pee / and miniature GE stoves and irons / and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy,” culture encroaching on her life and molding her to become a socially well-accepted woman.These toys were meant to prepare her for the expectations she would later meet in life, expectations that a woman should raise children, take care of babies, feed her family, do the laundry, complete household chores, and look beautiful at the same time.The author vividly describes how the child was shown how culture views itself by relating it to a perfect minature dollhouse environment.The author then shows the transition phase where Barbie's style of life clashes with the surrounding culture.Before being displayed in her casket, the mortician paints her face, changes her nose, and dresses her in a nightie, fit to please the public.It is only after these changes that people ask, “Doesn’t she look pretty?


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