Barbie Doll Questions and Answers
by Marge Piercy

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How can I explicate the poem "Barbie Doll"?

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Aliyah Quitzon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Marge Piercy's poem "Barbie Doll" provides commentary on gender roles and expectations for women. Piercy describes a girl who grows up with traditional roles and descriptions of a feminine girl, but when she goes through puberty turns unattractive with her big nose. By the end of the poem, she has cut off her nose and appears to have died.

Piercy is explaining that society has serious expectations of how a woman should look--pretty, feminine, dainty. Anything besides this is unacceptable and women feel pressure to try to live up to this standard. When they cannot, some either try to change themselves (through plastic surgery, for example) or end their lives. She suggests that it is wrong of society to make these demands upon women because they are not realistic and difficult to maintain.

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naumaan | Student

When two intellectuals communicate the message is acknowledged and/or appreciated when two dumb (should be read in literary and not offensive) communicate the message is acknowledged and appreciated. In Barbie Doll, Piercy is referring to latter but strictly in feminine language.