Barbie Doll Questions and Answers
by Marge Piercy

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Barbie is never mentioned in the poem; what is the meaning of using "Barbie Doll" in the title of this poem of the same name, by Marge Piercy?

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In the poem, "Barbie Doll," by Marge Piercy, the title reflects the seemingly perfect essence of the doll, which some might assume to reflect the physical characteristics of a perfect woman. In the poem, the contradiction between natural beauty and "popular" beauty are discussed.

We know that in truth, a woman with the proportions of a Barbie doll would not be able to stand up, although some women have tried to copy the Barbie doll look.

This is one of my long-favorite poems because it battles some of society's expectations of a young female against the natural and inner-beauty of girls (who will one day be women). Much like the old adage of children in general "seen but not heard," this poem addresses (at the time it was written) America's expectations of little girls:

...dolls that did pee-pee

and miniature GE stoves and irons

and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.

This reflected the norms of the 1950s when women stayed home and cooked, cleaned, reared children, and met their husband...

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