Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy
This girlchild was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.
She was healthy, tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.
She was advised to play coy,
exhorted to come on hearty,
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out
like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs
and offered them up.
In the casket displayed on satin she lay
with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on,
a turned-up putty nose,
dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.
In the poem "Barbie Doll," author Marge Piercy develops four short verses to provide a critical evaluation of the cultural and societal expectations that American society places on children, primarily young adults. From the time she was born, she was presented dolls that did “pee-pee and miniature GE stoves and irons and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy”, which exposed her unknowingly, to the standards and expectations of our society. From the baby doll that went “pee-pee” to the “miniature GE stoves and irons” unconsciously taught the young girl how to care for a baby, cook and iron clothes-all the stereotypical chores that society places on females. The “wee lipsticks” showed her how to apply makeup as the dolls, or Barbie’s, represented presumptions of the way that she should look. All these expectations, unintentionally wrapped around her mind like a rubber band. The rubber band could not stretch anymore and once the rubber band finally tore when she hit puberty it sent a rush of attentiveness over her, when one of her classmates...