Barbie Doll Critical Overview
by Marge Piercy

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Critical Overview

(Poetry for Students)

Perhaps the real mark of "Barbie Doll's" reception has been the numerous times it has been reprinted and anthologized. Appearing in 1973, at the crest of feminism's second wave, "Barbie Doll" embodied the rage many women felt at being sexually objectified and treated as second-class citizens. The poem remains popular in large part because it continues to represent women's experience.

Most of the criticism and reviews of Piercy's poetry have underscored its politically committed nature. Leapfrog Press has built a website (http:// www.capecod.net/~tmpiercy/over.htm) excerpting reviews of Piercy's poetry. Erica Jong calls Piercy "one of the most important writers of our time who has redefined the meaning of the female consciousness in literature and in so doing has begun to redefine the meaning of literature." Writing in the Washington Post on Piercy's Selected Poems, poet and critic Carolyn Kizer says "Marge Piercy is my idea of the very model of a modern major feminist. There is a deal of sheer, toe-curling pleasure to be gained from reading this robust, protean and hilarious woman's selected poems ... her earth-iness, her wonderful physicalness." "Barbie Doll" has also been reprinted in a number of classroom anthologies, and teacher Robert Perrin has written an essay on using the poem to acquaint his students with gender issues.