Marge Piercey's poem "Barbie Doll" is an indictment of the socially constructed values of beauty which are forced upon women from the time that they are young.
In the first stanza of the poem, we are introduced to the female character, the "girlchild," who is provided with stereotypically "feminine" toys which imply her inherited responsibilities as a future mother ("dolls that did pee-pee"), homemaker ("miniature GE stoves and irons"), and debutante presented for the visual consumption of others ("wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy").
While the girl is able to survive this childhood and live into puberty, she is soon cut down by the cruelty of a classmate, who comments on her changing body: "You have a great big nose and fat legs."
This is a deeply...
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