"Barbie Doll" By Marge Piercy Analysis

1129 words - 5 pages

In 1973, Marge Piercy wrote a poem that follows the life of a young girl growing up with modern expectations that she struggles to conform to. "Barbie Doll" uses different aspects of a woman's life to express the different pressures on women today. The first aspect Piercy uses to emphasize the stereotypes attached to women are images, colours, and toys that are traditionally associated with girls; the main character of the poem, is given gifts that are very feminine. The other aspects Piercy utilizes are the 'magic' of puberty, and she also uses the popular children's doll Barbie, as seen in the title of her poem, to highlight society's expectations on women, the main character at the end of ...view middle of the document...

" (Lines 15 - 16). A fan belt is a car part, cars are traditionally considered very masculine. Piercy uses a masculine item to express her subject self confidence and happiness seemed to cease alike a car with a broken fan belt. Piercy also perhaps wants to show her subject might be good at other things other than the status quo things that women are thought to be good at such as car mechanics.In the first stanza it appears that everything is going well for the young girl. Then, as ironically stated by Piercy the girl undergoes the 'magic' of puberty. Puberty is an awkward time for all. During this period of time is when boys usually start to take notice of girls, being it in a good context or bad. Piercy closes the first stanza: "Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said: / You have a great big nose and fat legs." (Lines 5 -6). Society seems to be so wrapped up in what people look like on the outside, they often disregard what the person has to offer emotionally or intellectually.The subject in the poem just wants to be accepted for who she is, she feels anonymous. In the poem Piercy does not give the young girl a name, this creates two angles for Piercy to use. The first angle is that the young girl is nameless because all people see of her was her large nose and fat legs. The second angle is that Piercy wants express that during puberty all girls undergo ridicule. Piercy uses the main character's anonymity to unite her female readers; all women have endured some sort of societal pressures while growing up and during puberty.The title of the poem "Barbie Doll" derives from the popular doll Barbie which is manufactured by Mattel Toys. The dolls are often associated with femininity and beauty however; girls might try and emulate the unrealistic standards they set which can be discouraging. In the second stanza, the author shows her audience that although the girl is not traditionally pretty, she was still in good health and had other positive attributes: "She was healthy, tested intelligent, / Possessed strong arms...

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