Barbie Doll Essay

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Chris Semansky's most recent collection of poems, Blindsided, has been published by 26 Books of Portland, Oregon and nominated for an Oregon Book Award. In the following essay, Semansky examines Marge Piercy's "Barbie Doll" as a symbolic story about women's socialization in a patriarchal world.

Marge Piercy's poem, "Barbie Doll," is a mythic rendering of the destructive ways in which women have been socialized into thinking of their bodies and behavior in relation to a patriarchal ideal. This ideal, represented by Mattel's popular Barbie doll, is a thin yet curvy body, with symmetrical, perfect facial features. The girlchild in Piercy's "Barbie Doll" sacrifices her own gifts to fulfill the social dictates of patriarchy, a system of social organization based on male privilege. The doll is symbolic of the ways that women themselves have been "plasticized," turned into creatures who have been riven of their humanity.

After the Barbie doll...

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This section contains 1,331 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Barbie Doll Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Barbie Doll from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.