Barbie Doll Historical Context

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In her essay, "Through the Cracks: Growing Up in the Fifties," originally published in Partisan Review and later reprinted in Part-Colored Blocks for a Quilt, Marge Piercy describes the social pressures exerted on women to conform in mid-twentieth century America, claiming that those who did not were labeled "sick." Piercy writes, "If you wanted something you couldn't have easily or that other people did not want or wouldn't admit to wanting, if you were angry, if you were different, strange, psychic, emotional, intellectual, political, double-jointed: you were sick, sick, sick." Commenting on the demands to physically conform, she notes that women's clothes were meant to accentuate breasts and hips while simultaneously "squashing" any parts of the body, such as the stomach, which might stick out. Piercy's mother bought her a girdle when she was twelve years old, telling her that she "was now a woman." Images of restraint...

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This section contains 675 words
(approx. 2 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.
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