Barbie Doll: Is She Society's Ideal Woman, or Just an Intangible Idea?

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“Barbie Doll”: Is she society’s ideal woman, or just an intangible idea?

Is Barbie the ideal woman? By the time most girls reach the age of four, they are given a Barbie Doll that they love and adore. Barbie is tall, skinny, big breasted, career oriented, a loving wife, a good friend, and fun loving girl all wrapped into one. These traits are exactly what our society praises in every woman and that every woman aspires to be. The effects, however, of trying to become the “ideal woman” may be deadly. In Marge Piercy’s, “Barbie Doll” a normal girl goes to the extremes of trying to fit in with society’s pressure to look like Barbie, but suffers many consequences, resulting in death, trying to do so.

“Barbie Doll” is about an everyday girl who is born just as any other girl. She is “presented dolls that did pee-pee and miniature GE stoves and iron and wee lipsticks the color of cheery candy” (Piercy 619). The speaker in the poem is trying to make the girl not just some unnamed girl in the poem; she is trying to make the girl represent every girl who tries to fit in with the pressures of today. The girl in the poem is happy and healthy at this young stage in her life and has nothing to worry about. There is no peer pressure to fit in and to have to look a certain way. She is just a normal, healthy, happy little girl. However, once puberty starts, social pressure to look and act a certain way changes her life.

Once the girl hits puberty she does not live up to society’s standards on beauty and behavior. In the poem, “A classmate said: You have a great big nose and fat legs” (619). The girl does not know how to deal with this. The only way she can deal with it is by apologizing to everyone, “She went to and fro apologizing.” (619). Her self-esteem is so low that she is apologizing to everyone hoping that they will soon treat her with some respect and dignity. She only hopes that they will forgive her for having a big nose and fat legs and they...
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