Unachievable Standards In Marge Piercy's 'Barbie Doll'

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Kristina Starr Professor McGhee English 152 23 September 2014 Insecurity In her poem “Barbie Doll”, Marge Piercy illustrates the way in which society sets unachievable standards for children, particularly young girls. In the beginning of the poem, the “girlchild” lives her life without a care in the world. As she advances into her teenage years, she is told how to act and how to look. Those around her pressure her to obtain a coquettish personality and a skinny body. Society influences the way many young girls feel about themselves, especially when they cannot live up to these unrealistic expectations. The topic of insecurity is something I know all too well. I can relate to the “girlchild” because I, too, was influenced by society to change…show more content…
I would often reach out to guys by texting them first. Eventually, however, I was told by my friends to not be so forward and to instead “play hard to get”. I can actually see myself in the following line of the poem when the speaker states, “She was advised to play coy” (12). I was “advised” to change my ways. I was told to act differently because it was not what most girls did. I felt guilty for being so confident with guys. I can easily relate with the woman in this poem; because of her “abundant sexual drive…She went to and fro apologizing” for her superficial flaws (10). I, too, felt the need to apologize for acting in a way that I had never deemed inappropriate until I was told by my…show more content…
The girl had simply conformed with society so much that she lost herself in the process. Any trace left of who she really was was now gone. The speaker mentions, “So she cut off her nose and her legs / and offered them up. / In the casket displayed on satin she lay / with the undertaker’s cosmetics painted on” (17-20). Maybe the undertaker is a metaphor for society. The person she was in the beginning was now destroyed. She may not technically be dead but who she was as a person is gone so she might as well be. I was able to notice this when reading the poem because I, too, feel like a part of me is gone. I have definitely
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