Study Guide

Barbie Doll

by Marge Piercy

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Text of the Poem

This girlchild was: born as usual 
and presented dolls that did pee-pee 
and miniature GE stoves and irons 
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy. 
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:     5 
You have a great big nose and fat legs. 

She was healthy, tested intelligent,  
possessed strong arms and back,  
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.  
She went to and fro apologizing.     10 
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs. 

She was advised to play coy, 
exhorted to come on hearty? 
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle. 
Her good nature wore out     15 
like a fan belt.      
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,     20 
a turned-up putty nose,       
dressed in a pink and white nightie. 
Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said. 
Consummation at last. 
To every woman a happy ending.     25