Society’s Whims Are NOT To Be Fulfilled
In the poem “Barbie Doll,” author Marge Piercy utilizes four well-developed stanzas to depict a scornful view of American society. Applicable to all time periods, “Barbie Doll” narrates the short-lived life of a young girl despised by society for her appearance. Barbie Doll is like a fairytale, full of plasticity, fakeness, and fantasy. However, unlike a fairytale, “Barbie Doll” ends with society applauding the funeral of a princess that was torn apart into pieces and then worshiped. Written with varying tones of sadness and depression, vivid imagery, and compact concrete details, “Barbie Doll” presents a fact that society for centuries has blinded from view.
Women, from the development of civilization to present-day modern America, have always endured oppression and humiliation from a patriarchic society. In “Barbie Doll,” the young girl is repressed by society for her “great big nose and fat legs.” The society in which this young girl lives views a “perfect” woman as one who possesses flawless beauty, helps children grow, cooks food, and irons clothes. In fact, society is so intent on morphing young girls into motherly, selfless, and sympathetic individuals that they were only allowed to play with “dolls that did pee-pee and miniature GE stoves.” Despite being “healthy and intelligent and possessing strong arms, abundant sexual drive, and manual dexterity,” the young girl is seen by society as incomplete, and abnormal. It is because of this continuous repression that the young girl’s “good nature” runs out. She herself loses faith in her appearance as society mocks and mocks and mocks her looks. Only when the young girl finally killed herself by “[cutting] off her nose and her legs],” and was laid in a fake casket with a fake dress and a fake nose, did society finally applaud the “true” beauty that this young girl possessed. Men want women to have “perfect” bodies and “perfect” faces; as a result, the young girl in...
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