Barbie Doll: Why Trade Natural Skin For Plastic?

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Why trade natural skin for plastic? Marge Piercy addresses this issue, though indirectly, in her poem "Barbie Doll". Piercy presents an innocent young girl, but conveys that she has fat legs and a big nose. Piercy explains that the child was a normal kid, not bad looking, not in bad shape, but simply does not meet the expectation of not having fat legs and a big nose. She is encouraged strongly to do this, and encouraged strongly to do that, but she can not fix herself up; The pressure is too great, the demand too high- she kills herself. Ironically, she looks pretty in her casket, and in this way Piercy is ironically saying that it was not worth it. Piercy shows that the destructive impact of social influence to meet the ideal look can be devastating to women.

Piercy uses a tone and imagery to say two things at the same time- the kid is normal and is going to get punished for no reason. The poem starts with a strong ironic overtone that suggests a normal kid has a bad life coming her way. The first four lines have a certain attitude about them that must be taken into pieces. Piercy writes, "Was born as usual / And presented dolls that did pee-pee / GE stoves and irons / And wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy" (1-4). There are certain expressions in there that imply a negative overtone- such as ‘born as usual', ‘dolls that did pee-pee', ‘wee lipsticks'. Piercy is pointing out a cute kid in a way that's overly normal and too ironic. At the same time, the girl is getting dolls, toy stoves and irons, and cute lipsticks- all these things make it clear that this kid is normal and growing up just like any other kid. Then the negative overtone is developed further as this girl becomes a teenager and enters society as a young adult. Piercy makes the negative tone clearer by use of figurative language. Piercy writes "In the magic of puberty, a classmate said: / you have a great big nose and fat legs" (5-6). The magic of puberty is a statement a...
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