Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

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The first things to come to mind when one thinks of a Barbie doll are the pleasant memories and wonderful times spent playing with friends. In the poem “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy, the young girl is born just as everyone else, but as she grows, she begins to encounter the harsh judgments of others who do not accept her for who she is. In trying so hard to please others, the girl begins to hate herself and becomes her own worst enemy. Piercy uses many literary devices such as, symbolism, imagery, and irony to convey her theme that society has an idea of what people should look like, and when one does not fit that mold, they are often times judged. Piercy uses symbolism to make an ordinary toy represent so much more. A Barbie doll is used as more than just the typical toy that girl plays with. In this poem…show more content…
The imagery in this poem helps the reader picture what society pictures as the perfect woman. The poem suggests that women are sexual objects, as stated in line four that women wear “Wee lipsticks the color of cherry red.” Red lipstick is commonly associated with a lascivious demeanor. Later on in the poem, the girl is described as being intelligent and strong, but people see past all of that and only saw her for her “Fat nose and thick legs” (l. 11). Woman are also thought to be dainty, fragile, little things who should know how to cook and clean. In lines two and three, Piercy emphasizes this idea by describing all of the toys that girls are bought from a young age, such as when they are “Presented dolls that did pee-pee and miniature GE stoves and irons” (ll. 2-3). Describing the items as being small and household items, and also including the image of the baby doll, further reinforces the idea that society believed that woman should be taught from a young age to be good mothers and housewives, and that their lives are
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