Comparision of "Barbie Doll" by Marge Piercy and "Suicide Note" by Janice Mirikitani

Better Essays
The poem “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy and “Suicide Note” by Janice Mirikitani are both about how two young women could no long take the pressures society placed upon them. Although the two poems have a very different tone, language, and structure the same underlying theme exists. In both poems the girls struggle to be perfect and to conform to the desires of others. Both women in the poems ultimately commit suicide because they can no longer live with the criticism and lack of acceptance that they face. These two young women represent a whole world of young females and males who are weighed down by society’s pressure to be flawless. As members of society, which especially includes parents with young children we need to assure the younger groups of people that they are perfect in their own way and that being themselves is the best possible thing they can be. The poem “Barbie Doll” is a poem concerning a young girl who has let the societal expectations that America puts on young women destroy her. The poem starts out by explaining a small female child who is just like all young girls. She had dolls and miniature ovens and lipsticks for the dolls, but when she hit puberty and her body began changing a classmate called her fat (Piercy, 687). This seems to be the beginning of all of her internal battles and self-esteem issues. The next stanza describes all the wonderful characteristics that this young woman should have been very proud of. She was a healthy intellectual who was also quite strong and skillful with her hands (Piercy, 687). The second stanza is predominantly sad to me because she possesses many of life’s more important qualities and it is a shame that she was unable to comprehend that. By my standards intelligence is a more prestigious quality to possess over beauty. The image that she owns is not incorrect in an empirical sense, but it is one that America does not accept as being the definition of the perfect woman. The girl’s human

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    The Poem “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is about a girl who struggles with her body image. The speaker in the poem acts as an observer; watching the girl encounter different experiences as it related to her body image. Today’s generation is much similar to the life of the girl in this poem. Girls are forced to keep up with rising standards that are overwhelming and destructive. This poem uses form, imagery, and word choice to express how society chooses not to accept girls who do not represent the “ideal” woman.…

    • 741 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    As women, we are born into this world with high expectations. There is an image of perfection that our parents could only hope we fulfill; but as parents love us no matter what our physical outcome may be, society, on the other hand, does not so understand. Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy is a painfully honest eye-opening poem dwelling on the severity of an average girl feeling as if she is not beautiful enough. The crucial elements of poetry include imagery, similes, symbolism, a strong persona, tone, and setting. The pressures of society drive people to talk and look the way people think it wants them to; but there is only so much pressure a fragile human being can take, before they break.…

    • 1291 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The poem, “Barbie Doll”, by Marge Piercy, is about a normal “girlchild” who gets criticized by society for not looking like a perfect doll. She changes herself to fit society’s expectations just to fit in, but only in the end does society see her as “pretty”. Piercy’s purpose of the poem is to show how society has appalling expectations of how women show look and act. Imagery, irony, and tone are terms that show how vile society's expectations are.…

    • 821 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The poem “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy depicts a child that was once a normal girl child because she looked reminiscent of a normal girl. She played with dolls and miniature stoves, which made her, seem even more like a normal child. She then enters adolescent puberty which causes drastic changes to her physical appearance, which ultimately cause her to become insecure about herself. The poem “The Leap” by James Dickey also depicts a female character going through her adolescence as a top runner within her grade level. The poems do have some similarities; however, they also have several differences.…

    • 620 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Barbie doll

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Society's idea to be attractive is to be nothing less than ideal. To lack perfection is not acceptable in society. Also society tells people how to dress and act, having people be and look a certain way to be accepted. The desire to be accepted can destroy ones’ self-esteem and many lose sight of their own true beauty. Many will do whatever it takes to not be, say, or do what society thinks is disturbing. Marge Piercy’s poem “Barbie Doll,” written in 1973, is a powerful poem about society’s pressure on a young woman. The name carries a lot of meaning because a Barbie doll has long been an icon in society. Although it is a children’s toy, a Barbie doll demonstrates a woman with a perfect body and pure beauty. The poem portrays a summary of a life since birth to the end of life at a funeral. The main character in the poem never has a chance to live life to the fullest because she is always trying to please others and be accepted, which leads to a life of unhappiness. Piercy uses form, diction, and imagery throughout the poem to help imagine the “perfect” woman in the eye of society and the price one may be willing to pay.…

    • 997 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Barbie Doll Analysis

    • 995 Words
    • 4 Pages

    Society can take over the way people see themselves. In Marge Piercy’s poem, “Barbie Doll,” a young girl was judged for her looks and being herself. Due to this young girl’s strong mind set, she tried to stay true to herself, but could only handle so much pressure. Throughout her entire life, she was being compared to a symbolic perfect Barbie Doll who had the beautiful cosmetic fixed face that everyone imagines girls to be, and the irony of how pretty everyone thought she was on her deathbed demonstrated how the standards in society make people second guess who they really are.…

    • 995 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Conformity

    • 1276 Words
    • 6 Pages

    In today’s society, the ongoing need for girls to conform to their peers is more important than ever. In the poem, Barbie Doll a girl is made fun of by the people around her because of her “great big nose and fat legs” (Piercy). Her peers only saw what she was on the outside and nothing for who she was on the inside despite her efforts to change it, “exercise, diet, smile and wheedle. Her good nature wore out like a fan belt. So she cut off her nose and legs and offered them up.” (Piercy).With strong efforts to conform to societies norm she ended up killing herself to end the criticism and cruel judgment. The girl in the story is not the only one who found suicide an escape from the ridicule of society.…

    • 1276 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Barbie: The Ideal Woman

    • 274 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Society today, has changed people in the way how they act, and dress. The short story Barbie Q explains that a Barbie is the ideal woman. The Barbie is an example of what women believe to be perfect. The quote “So what if we didn’t Get our new bendable legs Barbie in nice clean boxes and had to buy them on Maxwell street all water soaked and sooty”(Cisneros). This quote means that anyone would buy a Barbie for a cheaper price because they didn’t have the money at the time and who would care if the dolls were wet or smoked. For example the barbie with the melted leg putting a dress on the doll would cover the leg. this event talks about women these days where men rate the women from very beautiful to ugly as they show in the story where the…

    • 274 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    I think that Marge Piercy's titled her poem "Barbie Doll, because the way that everyone had expected her to look was similar to the comparison of a Barbie Doll. Therefore she was teased, even though she had many triats that was worth more than looks they went unnoticed because physically she was not attractive. She stated "In the casket display satin she lay with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on, a turned up putty nose. This is the way that is used in the poem, which means that, even though that those are the looks that people perfer, they are not the most attractive in her eyes. (Stuck-Up) The point that William Shakespeare is trying to make even though his mistress is not the prettiest of them all, hestillwould much rather be with her.…

    • 189 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    Barbie-Q

    • 495 Words
    • 2 Pages

    Cisneros opens her tale with a possessive pronoun: “yours”, which confounds readers and draw their immediate attention. Without delay, they are then brought into the world of Barbie Dolls: “yours is the one with mean eyes and a ponytail” and “mine is the one with bubble hair”. Here, we are overwhelmed with details of the dolls’ costumes - “Red Flair”, “sophisticated A-line coatdress with a Jackie Kennedy pillbox hat”, “white gloves”, etc. - listed out with eagerness. Readers right away gain a hint of story’s subject. However, while the “Barbie-Q” deals with a popular theme of struggle in the materialistic world, dolefully, it is told by a girl, troubled at an age so young.…

    • 495 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Barbie Q

    • 572 Words
    • 3 Pages

    In Sandra Cisneros's "Barbie-Q", a sudden abundance of flawed Barbie dolls makes the child narrator accepts her own identity and discards society's ideals of women.…

    • 572 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Upon initial release, Barbie began instigating social change both positively and negatively. Barbie was created to satisfy the needs of young girls who wanted to act out their aspirations for adult life with a doll – a function that could not be carried out by the ‘baby’ dolls existent at the time. At a local level, that is, in the neighbourhood of the Handler’s, a catalyst for social change ensued with positive outcomes in that young girls were encouraged to aspire to be something…

    • 990 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Powerful Essays

    “Girl” & Barbie Doll

    • 2455 Words
    • 10 Pages

    In the past, women were always considered the subordinate gender that was expected to powder their nose and stay at home to be a homemaker. Even now, despite the movement to liberate women from stereotypical gender roles, women are still seen as the inferior gender that is discriminated against in society. As suggested by the popular Barbie doll created by Mattel, the idealized image of a woman in our patriarchal society is one who takes care of the home and is flawlessly beautiful with perfect skin, long legs, small waist, and slender figure. The Barbie doll is used as a tool for patriarchy in that it reinforces the notion that women should be domestic workers and maintain a feminine outer appearance. Also, patriarchal values affect girls starting at a young age as they unconsciously begin to believe that Barbie is what a woman should look and be like. With the appeal and popularity of this doll for the past several years, it is difficult to alter the notions of womanhood suggested by this doll. This implies that patriarchy is something we can not permanently overthrow because it is so deeply rooted in our society.…

    • 2455 Words
    • 10 Pages
    Powerful Essays
  • Good Essays

    Barbie Bad Influence

    • 639 Words
    • 3 Pages

    Barbie has a perfect body, a boyfriend and family, and a house. Every girl dreams of this type of life and in some cases, parents might not be able to fulfil these “perfect dreams”. Barbie sends a message that a perfect life has all these traits, causing girls to want to be like Barbie, rather than being themselves. Parents have to worry about making sure that there little girls get what they need and are happy. Parents that fail to fulfil a lifestyle like Barbie’s they will not be able to succeed in making a perfect lifestyle, exemplified by Barbie. Girls that want a boyfriend, happy family, a car, and more, are given false hope that life is always going to be perfect and…

    • 639 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “A Grown Up Barbie” is one of the many essays included in a larger work, This I Believe. The unknown author grew up playing with Barbie and as an adult, she is living like one. “A Grown Up Barbie” is well-written because it includes easily understood content, relatable diction, and ethos, logos, and pathos.…

    • 679 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays