Barbie Doll

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“Barbie”
Society has placed immense pressure on girls and women of all ages. The definition of Beauty has been altered over the years and the expectation of what beauty looks like is now sickly represented by a materialistic object, a Barbie Doll. Although not every individual conforms to expecting this modern representation of beauty, society as a whole has placed pressure on girls and women to strive to look this way. The consequences of not having this appearance are often brutal. Girls are deemed as ugly, unpopular, and are frequently disrespected by their peers or most often by men. Contemporary poet Marge Piercy published a narrative poem titled “Barbie Doll.” The Four stanzas provide the reader with a brief tale of a nameless “girlchild” (1) whose life, markedly influenced by others’ opinions, comes to a sad and premature end. Piercy captures the stereotypes and pressure on girls’ lives and the effects it has on them. She creates this overall effect with her use of characterization throughout the poem.
“This girlchild was born as usual,” the poem begins (1). As a child she is given ostensibly appropriate gifts that expose her to feminism. She receives miniature home appliances, dolls, and makeup. The expectation is set at a very early age for her to later conform to society’s view of a doll playing pretty girl. Later, “in the magic of puberty,” (1) a schoolmate comments unflatteringly on her appearance, noting her “great big nose and fat legs” (1).
From the second stanza the reader learns about the young adolescent’s intelligence, physical prowess, and sexual drive. She appears to be healthy, strong, and capable, but she ignores these attributes. Instead she goes “to and fro apologizing” (2). “Everyone” sees her as only “a fat nose on thick legs” (2). The girl has many desirable traits for a woman. However her features deemed to be “ugly” prevent her or…...

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