Loving Myself Illustrated In Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

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Sadly, most people spend their entire lives chasing a “perfect” physical appearance. Hours upon hours are spent shaping their bodies to become what other people say how they should look. This idea is interpreted to us through Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll.” In this poem, Piercy uses imagery, simile, and symbolism to illustrate the theme of loving yourself. The poem begins with an introduction of a common life for a young child. She plays with her dolls, stoves, irons, as well as lipstick, just as any other young girl. When she hits puberty, a classmate points out that she possesses a, “great big nose and fat legs.” (659) In the next stanza, we are informed of her beauties. She is healthy, intelligent and strong. She has an abundant sex drive…show more content…
Before we even read the poem, the title “Barbie Doll” should raise some concern. Why would Piercy title her poem this? As a young child, we are introduced to superheroes and beautiful girl dolls. This automatically creates an image for us as to what we wish to be when we grow up. Barbies are always very pretty and this sets a standard for what girls should look like. In some sense, it brainwashes girls as they begin to determine what is pretty and what is not from a very young age. It doesn’t stop there however, even into adulthood women have begun getting plastic surgery to fulfil their vision of beauty. When the girl cuts off her nose and her legs she isn’t physically cutting them off. She has gone to a plastic surgeon to have her nose “fixed.” To remove the weight of her legs she may have used extreme forms of diet and exercise. Quite often we hear of people becoming anorexic, which may also be the case here. In the last stanza, we are told she is displayed in a casket. She has the undertaker’s cosmetics painted on and is dressed in a pink and white nightie. If you take a second to imagine someone in a hospital bed after they have received surgery, you may be able to understand where I am coming from. The casket is a hospital bed. It can also represent the girl losing her inner beauty. She isn’t physically dead, but she has killed her inner self by trading who is she for who people say she…show more content…
Her big nose and fat legs show us the physical flaws of the girls and hides the inner beauty she possesses. Although she is smart, healthy, and skilled, she is only worried about what others think of her physical appearance. She spends her life trying to impress others around her and sacrifices her happiness in doing so. She loses who she is and becomes what others believe she should be. Through all of this we can learn that if we love who we are then there’s no one that can take that away from us. If people bring negative energy towards you and judge you for physical appearance, then truthfully, they are worth changing for in the first place. You should never change so much of yourself for others that you become someone that you know you’re not. Stop pretending, be yourself, and love

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