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Barbie Doll

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What is the true inspiration behind “Barbie Doll”? The moment a reader puts down the intriguing poem “Barbie Doll” they are immediately fascinated by the thought that society can be so shallow. The question that rang in my mind however a rather simple question to ask but the answer was is far more complicated; what could have been the motivation behind Percy’s famous poem? For instance one must take into account the time period in which the author was writing; the early 1970s or as many refer to it as the sexual revolution. This was a vastly different era than any before it, mainly because this was perhaps the first time females had a chance to rebel from a century of oppressive male dominance. That fact being held in mind we are faced with a few distinct possible explanations as to why she wrote this poem. The first possibility is was she using the symbol of a Barbie doll to communicate a stronger foundation that women are much more capable of being, “Pretty” and, “Playing coy”. (12) It almost seems that Percy is instead expressing the thought that when such imperfect ideals are burdened on such capable individuals they are then doomed an existence of desolate lifelessness. It can be inferred that after overcoming several decades’ opposition society still looks at women as delicate fragile beings. In contrast however did Marge Percy write this poem to express a powerful statement about female poets as a unified entity? The theme of this poem is so detrimental and the fact that it’s being written so wonderfully by a woman makes all the difference. The reader has to acknowledge the fact that the common stereotype for a poet for literally hundreds of years was a male who was generally well educated; yet when such a presence is seen from a female it adds to the philosophy that women were just as capable. This is a highly consistent inquiry to behold because there is a great deal of aberration between both possibilities. With one it shows more that the author had a very significant and cogent impact on her readers and sought out to do such with her written medium. Furthermore it implies that Percy cared enough indicate that women were not beautiful objects and were rather just more than victim to a failed superficial society. The other signifies that Marge Percy was confident in her abilities to stand alongside so many others and proclaim that she was indeed a poet in a new redefined sense of the word.

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