Barbie Doll Poem

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English 1B
7 November 2011
Never Enough, Never Perfect, Never Happy
Society tells us what we should be, who we should be, what we should look and act like and what is perfect. Too many woman try to fit this ideal of what we should be based on media and society in an imperfect world. Marge Piercy is criticizing this in her poem “Barbie doll”. The poem shows how ridiculous it is the way we try to conform to what society’s ideals are for the perfect woman.

“And presented dolls that did pee-pee/ miniature GE stoves and irons/ and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy” (2-4). These are all traditional toys for girls but also things that have an influence on a girls identity and essentially put them in their place for their future roles in life. The dolls body image is what to look up to and a role model of sorts for how it is expected you should look to be pretty. The “GE stoves and irons” (3) show what kinds of things they will be expected to do when they grow up. The lipstick shows sexuality and that appearance is the most important of all.

“Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:/ you have a great big nose and fat legs” (5-6). Puberty not only emphasizes the growing up and into a different stage in life because a girl starts her period but also when life can start to be more difficult because this is when kids start to be more mean and more critical of each other. The classmate criticizing her appearance starts a downward spiral into her endless struggle for perfection.

“She went to and fro apologizing./ Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs” (10-11) shows how she repeatedly we try to gain others approvals and change things to make people happy and when we don’t we apologize for our imperfections. We have such a skewed view at this point that we think it is our fault and that we need to try harder if others don’t see us as the ideal woman in our society. We start to let others perceptions define who we are and skew our self-image into...
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