Marge Piercy’s Barbie Doll

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The Poem “Barbie Doll (1969)” by Marge Piercy describes the life of a young girl who fell victim to society’s idea of beauty. Marge Piercy was a known social activist and uses this poem to bring attention to serious issues facing young females in society. “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is a narrative poem; the poem is written in free verse. The author selects a free form of poetry and other devices to help get her point across. The central message of this work is that society is obsessed with appearances. The point the author is trying to make is beauty should not be the most important trait of a person. In today’s society everything is based on looks, people are more concerned about a person’s outward appearance. People strive to attain a certain ideal of beauty currently prevalent in their culture. A beauty ideal is an overall "look" incorporating both physical features (e.g., "pouty" lips vs. thin lips, large breasts vs. small), and a variety of products, services, and activities. These can include clothing, cosmetics, hairstyling, tanning salons, leisure activities (e.g., aerobics, tennis, or weightlifting), and even plastic surgery (e.g., breast or lip implants or liposuction). Ideals of beauty often are summed up in a sort of cultural short-hand; one may talk about a "vamp," a "girl-next-door," or an "ice queen," or one may refer to specific women who have come to embody an ideal, such as Cher, Marilyn Monroe, or Prin-cess Di. ”(Englis 2). The author expresses this idea in the second stanza. The author explains in the first three lines of the second stanza the little girl was fit, intelligent and filled with passion. Regardless of all of her excellent attributes the girl went back and forth apologizing and asking f... ... middle of paper ... ... the poem. The use of enjambment and end-stop add to the aesthetic quality of the poem. In conclusion, the point the author is trying to makes is beauty should not be about what is on the surface. Beauty should never be measured because “modern-day cultural definitions of beauty are multidimensional ”( Englis1). Works Cited Crosley S. BARBIE. Smithsonian [serial online]. November 2013;41(7):78-83. Available from: MasterFILE Elite, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 7, 2014. Englis B, Solomon M, Ashmore R. Beauty Before the Eyes of Beholders: The Cultural Encoding of Beauty Types in Magazine Advertising and Music Television. Journal Of Advertising [serial online]. June 1994;23(2):49-64. Available from: Business Source Complete, Ipswich, MA. Accessed March 7, 2014. Piercy, Margie. "Barbie Doll." Poem Hunter. N.p, 06 June 2011Web. 11 February 2014.
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