Destructiveness of Feminine Idealism in Barbie Doll and Barbie-Q

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The phrase, Beauty is only skin deep, does not appear to apply in this era of idealism and perfectionism. From the time babies are born through their adulthood, they are raised to conform to specific social roles. Specifically, little girls are expected to grow up becoming perfect feminine beauties created to bare children and care for their homes and husbands. Sandra Cisnero's “Barbie-Q” and Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll” portray the female body and gender roles through the standards imposed by the society that is one of the flawless physical beauty; just like the Barbie doll; the perfect figure, hair, nails, and face and ready to adhere to the expected roles of bearing children, taking care of husband and doing home chores. Throughout their work, in addition to criticize "the way in which women are socialized into stereotypical feminine behavior" (Overview: 'Barbie Doll'), both Cisnero and Piercy hold that escape is not possible from these ideals and that it is very destructive.
Piercy and Cisneros cleverly use the title of their respective works to bring attention to the underlying criticism. Talking about Barbie, what comes to mind is the girls all time favorite toy doll, manufactured by the American company Mattel Inc, that "is white, physically appealing, not poor, heterosexual, popular, fashionable, and forever young" (Romo 127). But it is not just a toy, it is also a symbol of ideal feminine beauty and associated role in the society. Using Barbie doll as the title of her story, Piercy brings the attention of her readers towards "this cultural icon of femininity that carries with it complex associations of ideal beauty and desirability" (Wart). Moreover, "the apt title given to the poem points to the central and controlling d...

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... altering their identities to please their society and becoming what they are not.

Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. "Barbie-Q." Portable Legacies. Ed. Jan Zlotnik Schmidt and Lynne Crockett. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. 558-559. Print.
"Overview: 'Barbie Doll'." Poetry for Students Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 9. Detroit: Gale Group (2000): Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Piercy, Marge. "Barbie doll." Portable Legacies. Ed. Jan Zlotnik Schmidth and Lynne Crockette. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. 589. Print.
Romo, Leticia I. "Sandra Cisneros' "Barbie-Q": A Subversive Or Hegemonic Popular Text?" Studies In Latin American Popular Culture 24 (2005): 127-137. Academic Search Complete. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.
Wart, Alice Van. "Overview of 'Barbie Doll'." Poetry for Students Ed. Ira Mark Milne. Vol. 9. Detroit: Gale Group (2000): Literature Resource Center. Web. 28 Feb. 2014.

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