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Barbie Dystopianis Duhamel Analysis

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In this essay, I will explore the themes of various poems from “Kinky”, by Denise Duhamel. The poems “The Limited Edition Platinum Barbie” and “One Afternoon When Barbie Wanted to Join the Military”, reflect upon the oppressive beauty standards and gender expectations in our culture and hyperbolize them to a dystopian point. Duhamel uses Barbie as a metaphor throughout these poems, and addresses our culture’s misogyny, while making Barbie a first person character and giving her a voice. The poem “The Limited Edition Platinum Barbie” critiques our culture’s narrow standard of beauty. Our society is consumed by the fantasy and perfection of the idealized body. This constant fixation on physical perfection has created unreasonable beauty standards for women, ones we cannot possibly achieve on our own. Such standards permeate all forms of popular media, particularly fashion magazines and advertisements. Women are bombarded with the notion that we must be thin in order to be desirable. These images project an…show more content…
They both critique our culture’s misogyny and rigid standards of beauty. In “Losing Bodies”, Susie Orbach argues that modern Western beauty standards have a profoundly negative impact on women, encouraging women to take drastic measures to conform to the mainstream ideal of beauty. Duhamel refers to this in her poem, “The Limited Edition Platinum Barbie”. Orbach also claims that gender roles dictate what behavior is acceptable for women (248), as does Duhamel in her poem, “One Afternoon When Barbie Wanted to Join the Military”. Although these works express similar concerns, they are presented very differently. “Losing Bodies” was written to inform the public of the global crisis regarding women’s bodies. Whereas “Kinky” was written in a more satirical manner, using Barbie, a popular figure regarded as a model of femininity, to address our culture’s
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