The "Barbie Doll" poem, written by Marge Piercy, is a critique of the societal expectations placed on women and the damaging effects of these expectations on a person's self-esteem and identity.
The poem follows the life of a young girl who is given a Barbie doll as a gift. From a young age, she is taught to aspire to the Barbie doll's physical attributes, including her long blonde hair and small waist. The girl tries to conform to these standards by dieting and wearing makeup, but she is never able to fully achieve the Barbie doll's "perfect" appearance.
As she grows older, the girl begins to realize the impossibilities of meeting these impossible standards and the toll they have taken on her self-worth. She ultimately ends up feeling "mutilated" by the pressure to conform to these standards and becomes "an image in a magazine."
The poem ends with a poignant message about the dangers of societal expectations and the importance of individuality and self-acceptance. The speaker warns that if we continue to place such unrealistic expectations on people, particularly women, we risk turning them into "unattainable images" that can lead to self-hatred and a lack of confidence in oneself.
Overall, "Barbie Doll" serves as a powerful commentary on the damaging effects of societal beauty standards and the importance of embracing one's unique individuality. It is a poignant reminder to reject the pressure to conform to these standards and to embrace and love ourselves for who we are.
Analysis of Marge Piercy's 'The Barbie Doll' Poem
The woman finally cuts, seemingly caving in to the taunts and torture imposed upon her. The crucial elements of poetry include imagery, similes, symbolism, a strong persona, tone, and setting. Slowly these judgments start to affect her self-esteem and make her question herself. Everything appears to be normal, but as she turns away the dolls come to life and reveal their true identity. Article shared by Marge Piercy was an American poet, social activist and a novelist.
The stanza lists toys every little girl might play with, like miniature GE stoves, dolls and irons. In the stanza following, Piercy brings the main idea together: the girl with low self esteem because she felt she could no longer face societies pressures to be perfect, committed suicide. Her good nature wore out like a fan belt. The latter descriptors, however, are seen as being positive only for males, not females. She lay in her casket, all dolled up and pretty. Instead, society judges her only by her appearance and what is on the outside. Over time, things such as interests have also changed.
When the word Barbie comes to mind, one usually thinks of her unrealistic body type-busty with tiny waist, thin thighs, and long legs; yet less than two percent of American women can ever hope to achieve such measurements. So she cut off her nose and her legs and offered them up. The girl is intelligent; much like Barbie is supposed to be. She went to and fro apologizing. These changes occurred because of many things, one of which being fashion.
The undertaker was able to use make-up to cover the pain and suffering this girl went through, and placed her into the mold of a Barbie Doll. The societies within America usually describe someone as beautiful if they are thin and have the perfect body, such as a Barbie Doll. The poet paints a picture of a harsh and judgmental society where women who are physically and mentally fit are disregarded since too much importance is given to their outward appearance. Both stories reflection of upper middle white class dominant control and exploit of the poor lower class. Moreover, she should also manage to look good in order to fit in the society. The girl is compelled to follow social norms of what it is to be female both physically and socially.
Stanza 4 In the casket displayed on satin she lay with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on, a turned-up putty nose, dressed in a pink and white nightie. About The Poet Marge Piercy was born into a working-class household in Detroit, Michigan, in March of 1936. Through tone, Piercy helped the reader understand the meaning of the poem. One Sunday, they both went to the flea market on Maxwell Street, where the dolls of the other characters in Barbie were sold with lower price as a big toy warehouse was destroyed by fire. At first, the girl tries to please everyone and be happy, but soon her good nature wears out. Society had finally moulded her the way they wanted her and every other girl to be but at the cost of her life. An extremely talented writer, Piercy has published close to 20 poetry books and almost 20 novels.
Barbie Doll Marge Piercy Summary And Analysis Essay
The doll represents an image of a perfect woman; however, in reality, women should not expect to be perfect. Since first being brought out into the world, Barbie has had an unreasonably shaped body, with a small waist and large breasts. She finally gave society her legs and nose, the things she were criticized for as a final offering to this cruel world. The poem is successful in showing the extremes that can happen from a plastic figure. The girl in the poem was born innocent and naïve, just like any other girl but because of the sexist and misogynist society she was born and raised in, she became corrupted. Let us not overlook that pink and white are colors also commonly associated with Barbie and girls in general. The chopping off of her legs and nose is incongruous, if you know what I mean.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said: You have a great big nose and fat legs. Stanza 2 The second stanza is about the girl growing up. This poem portrays the struggle of such women against these societal issues. The second is the date of publication online or last modification online. BARBIE DOLL SUMMARY The poem opens with the speaker referencing the birth of a "girlchild" and all of the typical toys that go along with it.
She then cut off her nose and arms in order to please the rest of society. The main key points that were discussed in Chapter 6 regarding the attractiveness of men was all key points that the creator of the dolls is hoping to change. Her novels generally deal with larger social concerns and issues through brilliantly observed characters and plot lines. Now that she was covered in makeup, reconstructed, and nicely dressed, she was considered pretty. The use of imagery, symbolism, and irony works to deliver a heartbreaking message about the flawed society that existed and continues to exist. By comparing the young lady in the poem to a Barbie doll, the author reveals the irony of the title.
She was advised to play coy, exhorted to come on hearty, exercise, diet, smile and wheedle. Students can also check the Barbie Doll Marge Piercy Analysis Summary The poem starts off with the birth of a girl child who is at once given all the toys that a girl her age may need that will help her in the long run to be a dutiful mother and wife. This means that she was sorry for herself and the way she looked, thus apologizing. Similar to what the article said I believe that by the creation of these new realistic dolls it will give children a more realistic expectation about their own appearance. This statement depicts a harsh reality where impressionable young women are taught to adopt a particular notion of beauty, subjecting many of them to peer pressure.
The last date is today's date — the date you are citing the material. This poem has a pretty extreme outlook on the subject of perfection. Furthermore, this poem uses imagery to interpret the theme. She was how a normal girl her age should be. She was blind to her own positive qualities as she was too busy trying to look good, which will please others.