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Barbie Doll Fantasy Exposed in Marge Piercy’s Barbie Doll

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Is Barbie the model woman? For generations girls have played with this doll and many have aspired to be just like her: the party girl, career women and the beauty queen all wrapped into one. In Marge Piercy’s poem entitled “Barbie Doll” the title foreshadows the theme of the poem which is that girls are ultimately and fatally entrapped by society’s narrow definitions of feminine behavior and beauty. When Piercy compares the young lady in the poem to a Barbie doll she is revealing the irony of the title. In “Barbie Doll” the speaker is aware of the events taking place in the young girls’ life; however, the speaker does not know how the young girl feels about the events that are taking place. I believe Piercy did this so that the reader could feel for themselves how the young girl was feeling. The poem is told much like a fairy tale; it is told in a very matter of fact way. It is obvious that Piercy uses Barbie to symbolize what society thinks that woman should aspire to be if they are going to be “the perfect woman”. Barbie, with her unrealistic body type: busty, thin waist, thin thighs, long legs, blonde and blue eyed, is reflective of our cultures idea of being feminine. Yet most women will never achieve, no matter how hard they try, to become a living Barbie. By using similes, symbols and a fairytale like tone Piercy creates a masterpiece starring a suicidal girl rather than Barbie, the “perfect women”, the young girl is compared to throughout the poem.

The speaker sets the tone for the entire poem by starting the first stanza with a happy beginning, in fairy-tale like fashion. Just as Barbie’s life is filled with exciting material things, as depicted in the books and movies starring Barbie, the young g...

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...this can be viewed as a happy ending is because the young woman no longer has to try to conform to society.

Marge Piercy has ironically paired a suicidal girl with the well know child’s toy Barbie. By giving the poem the title “Barbie Doll”, Piercy shows how society expected the girl in the poem to attain the desired qualities of a “perfect woman”. This masterpiece allows the reader to see inside the world of this troubled young woman who differs from the norms of society. After reading this poem I concluded that society in some ways compares woman to Barbie dolls, which in turn reflects the qualities that society values about women. Piercy does a wonderful job at showing societies perspective on the “perfect woman”. Her use of symbols, tone, and the comparison between the girl and Barbie allow the reader to see how society expects certain traits from females.