In Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll,” females are pressured into their pre-assigned gender roles starting at a young age with their dolls. Once the “girlchild” is born, she is given, “dolls, stoves, irons, and lipstick,” (Piercy 2-4) to prepare her for her future roles and clueing her into to her future expectations as a woman, mother, and housewife. Often mothers have had the same thing done to them and it becomes a natural cycle. The items given to these girls are priming them for their life as a wife and mother. She is expected to be a good mom, a nice housewife, and look pretty all at the same time. This often puts such stress and pressure on a woman often by the age of puberty they have reached their breaking point. No matter what good things the girl has going for her she breaks. She feels like she is not good enough because she has a “fat nose and thick legs.”(Piercy 11) She then feels as if she needs to be fixed. Her inner worth is not seen, only her physical flaws. The girl decides to remove her physical flaws and ends up killing herself. In everyone’s eyes, she finally becomes the perfect doll.
Anne Sexton uses metaphoric imagery in “Her Kind,” to compare a modern day female’s struggles to those of a witch. The speaker says she understands what the women of forme...
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...itch. In both situations these women are constantly left alone to prepare and do things for everyone else, the only time they are with others is when they look pretty and present their dinners. Both types of women are constantly isolated, lonely, misunderstood, and thought of as a lesser person and insignificant being.
Anne Sexton’s “Her Kind,” character felt little to no shame in being a witch in modern society’s eyes. On the other hand, Marge Piercy’s “girlchild” in “Barbie Doll,” could not take the pressure. In both cases women are known to have their specific tasks they must do and those are the only things they can do. Both women show how to deal with the same situation in varied ways and possible outcomes of each. These poems show the different ways a certain group of people, in this case women, are treated based on one of the simplest things, their gender.
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