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Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy: Harsh Social Expectations for Women

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Marge Piercy is a poet, novelist, and essayist. Born in Detroit, Michigan, on March 31, 1936, she won a scholarship to the University of Michigan to pursue her dreams. Later, she earned a master’s degree at the University of Northwestern. Also, she was the first in her family to attend college. Author of the poem “Barbie Doll”, she is dedicated to the interstices of feminism, ideology, aesthetics by way of Marxist, and environmental strains of thought.

One conceivable interpretation of a theme in “Barbie Doll” is discrimination towards women; a well-known poem written by Marge Piercy follows the examples of body shaming, the unrealistic expectations, and pressures some women of today face. The authors underlining message here is society’s way of outlooks and burdens of women.

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Marge Piercy’s feminist poem is captivating to the undertaking of the cultural cast of the seamless woman, proposing that the outlines of performance and figure look peddled by society can cause young women to break to the point that they want to kill themselves because they cannot keep the standard that society proposes. In the first paragraph, the narrator proclaims that this youthful woman was born naturally. Nonetheless, she teased with the normal dolls that were being proposed for her generation, she likewise acted with toy houses. When the young girl grew older and expectations rose, a kid told her she had a big nose and fat legs. This made the young girl self-conscious and it changed her confidence and self-esteem forever.

The narrator says she was a full of life and happiness before. She “possessed strong arms and back.” (paragraph 2 line 2) The narrator also claimed she was athletic and smart, she could take on any obstacle in her way. Although, she still had the thought in the back of her mind that could not be undone, her fat legs and giant nose. She “went to and fro apologizing” (paragraph 2 line 4) to people who didn’t even have the thought of her self-conscious characteristics. And then, another kid saw her broken heartedness and told her to “play coy” and to “come on hearty” (paragraph 3-line 1-2) it was a kind thing to say to the girl before she became broken, the girl had to be confused by this kindness and it moved her. On top of what she already was concerned about, she is told to exercise more and eat healthier foods. Thus, she is now thinking she is fatter.

In the third paragraph she was reinvigorated to “smile and wheedle.” (line 3) The deprived girl did not comprehend what she was thought to act or stand. Thus, she grew from being a well, skillful young girl to a disorderly, unhappy adolescent, which leads her to thoughts of suicide. The narrator exaggerates the suicide by metaphorically associating her action to “cut off her nose and her legs and offer them up.” (line 6-7) This strange action works sound, as it does not matter how the girl truly committed the action of suicide; we can make the interpretation that she is bothered by her fat legs and big nose. So, she did something about her flaws, getting plastic surgery to her fat legs and big nose.

In the fourth paragraph, the narrator explains the young woman as she stares in her casket. The narrator explains that the fat legs are not seen because the casket covers them, a casket viewing doesn’t show the persons legs except the upper part of the body, although the woman’s nose was different. The undertaker made her nose look more presentable, and caked make-up on her face and made her outfit “a pink and white nightie.” (paragraph 4 line 4) The undertaker’s idea of a beautiful and peaceful dead body, the lifeless drained body of the girl in a case she was not ready to pick and, no doubt she was satisfied to be fixed of her flaws. I recall a time when I approached a loved one’s death viewing, before, he was beautiful with thriving skin and no make-up still alive. After, I saw his body lifeless, drained and in pale skin with make-up caked on his face. I did not believe it was actually him because of course he was dead but at the same time I was thinking “shouldn’t he be preserved the way he would have wanted to be? Without this girly make-up and perfect placement of hands and almost plastic look?” Almost as if he was a fake body. What is more those individuals who observed her remark, “Doesn’t she look pretty?” (paragraph 4 line 5) The narrator is fuming from the two-facedness, whilst she likely is thinking that if the girl had been told she was beautiful as she was nevertheless thriving, maybe she would still be alive. The narrator states her repulsion by ironically bellowing, “Consummation at last. To every woman a happy ending.” (paragraph 4 line 6-7)

The tone in Barbie Doll concentrates on the early span of the girl’s life to the short end of her death, she struggles to be what everyone wants her to be. An admiration all women go through at a young age, society has yet to understand and if they do understand and still judge then shame on them. The poem teaches and warns us of the insecurities even we have gone through. These obsessions and underlying thoughts stick to us every day when we associate with other people. Even those people we associate with have those thoughts, but we only focus on ourselves and attack others to keep the focus from our flaws. A sick way of dealing with our pressures but that is the way everyone has dealt with problems at some point in life.

In another view, society has a problem which is to see the flaws in people rather than find people’s beauty. Society needs to accept people the way they are and ignore the thought of fixing people’s characteristics. But just like every other problem in the world, not everyone will take on the social role of an accepting person. Feminism is similar to racism. Just like the world has a judgment for colored people, society has a judgment for women. A role that both play in a corrupted societies expectation and mind. Racism is a whole other subject so I will not get so deep with that. Moral of the story is satisfactory can only be achieved when a person becomes loved by their own self. People can learn to accept others when they accept their selves, and by doing so will create good vibes all around. To stay away from this corrupted thought of judgment one must be thoughtful of others even if the other is corrupted.

Social roles for woman and the values for feminine fleshly bodies bargain a countless portion of forage for feminist criticism. The narrator adopts that if the deprived suicide in the poem is only been created to appreciate that feminine splendor embraces intellectual strength alongside with bodily health, not the intolerable figures and actions that too frequently are imposed upon developing daughters by a society infatuated with gender, adolescence, synthetic attraction, she would not have been so consumed that she sensed the must to eradicate herself. The unclear message is that juvenile girls very regularly take from the philosophy can lead them amiss, plus in its place of finding their internal attraction and power they depart to an artificial regular that mains one to punishment. 

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