Mass Construct in Barbie Doll by Marge Percy

Topics: Michel Foucault, Woman, Discipline and Punish Pages: 6 (1881 words) Published: November 23, 2012
Barbie Doll
The Common Women Poems, III. Nadine, resting on her neighbor’s stoop 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.

Mass’ Constructs

The Mass’ Construction or the matters which related to power relation and domination by Michel Foucault might be applied into the poem of ‘Barbie Doll´ by Marge Piercy. Clearly could be seen, the victim from the poem are exactly a woman. While she’s only a kid, the topic of Mass’ Construction is strongly applied into the theme and atmosphere of the poem. As Michel Foucault stated in his ‘Power/Knowledge’, the stronger one person the bigger his position to influence the weaker opposites. For Michel Foucault it is through discourse (through knowledge) that we are created. If we are the sum of our experiences (the knowledge we encounter), then those in control of our early life experiences have enormous power. In an isolated family, a child's knowledge depends upon just a few people. In a sense, those few people create the child's identity. From Power and Knowledge, comes ‘Discipline and Punish’ for the littlegirl. That these reorganizations of knowledge were also intertwined with new forms of power and domination. The littlegirl cannot attempt to learn anything but what is communicated by them by her society. This is what the little girl had experienced in the poem. Not mentioning she is a little girl, it doubles the oppression she should endure in order to get accepted by this Mass’ Construct society. Thus, this one-sided ideal to construct a woman theme might synergic with the Power/Knowledge as well as Discipline and Punish which both are coined by Michel Foucault. This tragic poem depicts the struggle of a little girl which surrounded by the all-controlling society. To control something, one side/individual definitely have power to execute it. It is practiced by how the society constructed the girl who only knows the beauty of the doll which she’s play with. While this is also could be seen as kids’ innocent activity, the idea of parents give their daughter a ‘barbie doll’ might be interpreted as the act of power controlling. Parents, who are the closest part of society towards the kids inarguably, took the first role in controlling the little girls. 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.
What the parents and society knows are that girls should act as a ‘girl’ by their only own point of view. And it has been done by presented her with the typical girls’ toy in a form of dolls. They are not only ordinary dolls in usual, but the dolls were concluded with their domestic tools, ‘and miniature GE stoves and irons’. It has been shown implicitly on how society sees woman and how to treat one. And as a woman, one should shows the ‘beauty’ by the line ‘and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.’ If not red, cherry candies are pink colored, the color which depicts the soft sides of the women. When it is correlated to the facts of Power/Knowledge by Foucault, this is the part where the basic knowledge of the society towards...
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