Gender Stereotypes In Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

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With Christmas approaching and gifts being bought, do we stop to consider what our gifts are teaching the little ones we love so much? Children begin to develop concepts of gender around the age of two. Gender stereotypes become rigidly defined in children between the ages of five and seven. (Martin and Ruble2004) In the poem Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy, we are confronted with the messages we send through the toys we choose or do not choose for girls. The poem recounts the life of a woman, who was born just like any other girl. She played with all of the little girl’s toys like toy ovens, irons, baby dolls, and even lipstick. She seems content until puberty when someone informs her she has a big nose and fat legs. The woman is ashamed and even though she has everything else going for her, she continually apologizes for things but all people see is her big nose and fat legs. People give her advice and she tries to please everyone, but her looks always torment her. She finally gets tired of never being good enough and cuts off her nose and legs and dies. Ironically, the people that caused her misery think she looks nice with her fake putty nose stuck on at the funeral home in her pink and white satin casket.…show more content…
There is value in learning to nurture or even look our best. However we should be aware that stereotypes and sexism limit potential growth and development (Narahara, 1998) because internalizing negative stereotypes impacts self-esteem and ultimately, academic performance. We should be careful how we speak about others appearances and make sure that young girls know that everyone has value and how to identify true friends. It is clear that the people who were finally pleased with her looks were not really concerned with who she was at all. They did not care how their words had hurt her to the point of

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