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A Feminist Response To Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

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"Barbie Doll” is a powerful poem that provides a feminist view on the expectations of women in society. Marge Piercy sarcastically demonstrates the idea of being as perfect as a Barbie doll in her poem. She tells the story of a normal girl who grows up into a woman that is constantly told she is not perfect. In response to these comments, the girl cuts off her nose and legs in order to satisfy those around her. It is only in death that she is finally admired as the perfect woman. The use of irony, imagery, and form in this poem allow Piercy to expose the harsh treatment of society on women everywhere. “Barbie Doll” has a level of irony that emphasizes the girl’s situation, especially her relationship with others. She was told by a classmate “you have a great big nose and fat legs” (6), and this led her to believe that “everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs” (11). This anxiety that she feels overtakes her mind, and “so she cut[s] off her nose and her legs and offer[s] them up” (17-18). It…show more content…
Her use of free verse also demonstrates how one should not be confined by their culture to look or think a certain way, but rather feel empowered to make their own opinions. She mixes up her writing style by using enjambment in the first stanza: “This girlchild was born as usual and presented dolls that did pee-pee and miniature GE stoves and irons and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy” (1-4), and end-stops in the second stanza: “abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity. She went to and fro apologizing. Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs” (9-11). From the second stanza on, each stanza transitions into end-stops in order to convey her serious tone. Piercy avoids fancy poetic writing in her poem by using free verse. This allows her to tell the audience an empathetic story from the heart and focus on communicating the
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