Essay About Barbie Doll Poem
The poem is full of rich imagery, which perfectly helps Piercy to get her message across.
The most vivid image is a Barbie doll that becomes personified and stands for a model of an “ideal” traditional woman, who is supposed to be nothing but a colored housewife.
In Piercy’s narrative, open-form ironic poem, the observer tells the reader how the child subconsciously perceives the dominating ideas of beauty, perfection, and a model in the form of a game with dolls, which later makes her imitate Barbie’s lifestyle and appearance and even sacrifice her life for dollish beauty and life.
Piercy renders this theme using aspects of imagery and figures of speech, which make the issue of female objectification even more acute.
Margie Pearcy's "Barbie Doll" Margie Pearcy's "Barbie Doll" details the image that society projects upon and expects from its young female population.
From an early age these young women struggle to conform to the standards that society has defined for them.
The word “wee” in the fourth line of the first stanza is defined by as “very small.” However, it can also mean “urine” or “to urinate,” and it is very likely that with the fourth line, Marge Piercy wants to prove futility of cosmetics, which is nothing but an artificial mask on a woman’s face.
Another conspicuous image is “a great big nose and fat legs” that is collapsed into the comic image of “a fat nose on thick legs” (Wart 1).Piercy uses synecdoche “to draw attention both to her use of irony and the sad fact that the young woman can only see herself in the terms of some artificial ideal.” This figure of speech is also used to present the girl as “the sum of her imperfect parts,” and “the image of the woman cutting off parts of her body points to a growing popularity among women of using cosmetic surgery to perfect their appearances” (Wart 2).The litotes “miniature GE stoves and irons / and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy” intensifies women’s humiliation, meaninglessness, and inferiority in a patriarchal society.Such a price is too high for a pure soul; in the last stanza, the girl decides to get rid of physical flaws: “Her good nature wore out / like a fan belt./ So she cut off her nose and her legs / and offered them up” (lines 15-18).Dejected and depressed, she symbolically "cut off her nose and her legs and offered them up" (17-18).“Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy mirrors the life story of a typical girl, who, since her childhood, falls victim to conventionality reigning in a society and eventually dies in the name of artificial beauty and societal conventions.The third stanza describes how conformists willingly help the girl to adjust to social standards that are of the highest value: “She was advised to play coy, / exhorted to come on hearty, / exercise, diet, smile and wheedle” (lines 12-14).The verbs “advised” and “exhorted” imply that women are meant to please others, especially men."Her good nature wore out like a fan belt" (15-16) symbolizes this loss of self and a change in the girl's attitude.As a result of compromising or losing her true self to the demands of society, the young girl/woman is confronted with the realization that living this "fake" existence has left her lonely, empty, and in pain.