Barbie Doll Questions and Answers
by Marge Piercy

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Who advised the girl in the third stanza in "Barbie Doll"? 

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The girl is advised by society, more specifically her parents.

This poem describes the effect of unrealistic expectations of beauty on a young girl.  When she is young, she is given dolls that serve as definitions of her gender.  The dolls reinforce her role in society as a mother and create a false sense of beauty.

Unfortunately, although the girl is healthy she is relentlessly teased in puberty for having fat legs and a big nose.  Even though she has potential, she spends all of her time “apologizing” for her nose and legs.  There is no help available.  When she complains, the advice that is given to her does not help.

She was advised to play coy,

exhorted to come on hearty?

exercise, diet, smile and wheedle. (Stanza 3)

This advice reinforces the gender roles yet again.  She should be a perfect girl.  This is what society tells her, in the form of movies, television, books, magazines, and pop culture.  By following this advice, she just becomes more and more depressed until she finally kills herself, since she has no alternative in order to live up to society’s ideals.  The poem is a sad commentary on gender's role in bullying.

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