Marge taking that advice to the grave
Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll” is a ironic play on societal views and oppression of women in today’s society. This poem appeals to me because it portrays how women view themselves and the way they are perceived in society today. Social media is a major influence on women today, by means of ostracizing different women who do not fit in the “traditional female body,” and idolizing certain feminine features that “all women should have.” This poem is about a woman trying to conform to the beauty standards set by her society, which ends up being the catalyst to her death, or “happy ending”. Piercy uses irony in the poem to characterize the way that the character attempts to gain societies approval to the extent where she wanted to die to fit into societies clutch. It is not exactly depicted within the text as to what killed her but it was inferred that she was changing her body when “So she cut off her nose and her legs/and offered them up” (17-18) From this she accomplished gaining the approval she needed but for the “happy” price of her life. This “happy ending” is ironic because death is not a portrayed as a kindred event, but desolate. But though the woman is is dead, she is finally accepted in society, as they not find her beautiful. Although morbid, Piercy depicts the actions of the population through societies views on women and what all they go through to be accepted. In stanza four of Barbie Doll, the woman who first is advise to aspire to men and become more appealing to the eye, ends up taking that advice to the grave to finally become “beautiful.” This is the epitome of society today, and how women are meant to be viewed. It sends a moral message that oftentimes women overlook positive aspects about themselves because they do not meet societal standards. The woman in “Barbie Doll” gives insight to what it’s like to be a young woman growing up in the United States influenced by multimedia. This poem gives a clear, and concise display of the absurd expectations society often dangles over the heads of womenfolk. Piercy’s poem, though morbid, gives insight to what it is like to be a woman in society today. She sends a message that is relevant today about how you should learn to love yourself because you alone are the only thing that can give you a “happy ending”. Do not be a barbie, fitting everyone else’s needs, be your own person and in the end your beauty will shine.