Marge Piercy

(March 31, 1936 / Detroit, Michigan)

Barbie Doll - Poem by Marge Piercy

This girlchild was born as usual
and presented dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.

She was healthy, tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.

She was advised to play coy,
exhorted to come on hearty,
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.
Her good nature wore out
like a fan belt.
So she cut off her nose and her legs
and offered them up.

In the casket displayed on satin she lay
with the undertaker's cosmetics painted on,
a turned-up putty nose,
dressed in a pink and white nightie.
Doesn't she look pretty? everyone said.
Consummation at last.
To every woman a happy ending.

Comments about Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy

  • Gold Star - 17,275 Points Deepak Kumar Pattanayak (11/16/2014 5:06:00 AM)

    A sad reminder of this cruel, unjust and discriminating world.....very well presented.........amazing piece (Report) Reply

    11 person liked.
    10 person did not like.
  • Gold Star - 39,486 Points Gangadharan Nair Pulingat (11/16/2014 1:02:00 AM)

    A sad thing of events to the girl child and unnecessary apprehensions made to her mind by fellows which is a happening in the modern day and it makes so much problems in one's life that I think. Beautifully told an event. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 45 Points Colleen Courtney (5/18/2014 6:36:00 PM)

    I find it to be so incredibly sad that people, especially women, are made to feel that they can't just be who they are. To be attractive from what's on the inside. It's a great poem but a very, very sad sad world we live in. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Yvette Jenkins (3/22/2014 6:18:00 AM)

    Wow! Great poem. Very deep and touching! Your use of words to describe the reality of society's perception on image· (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 17,090 Points Lyn Paul (11/16/2013 7:03:00 PM)

    Wonderful words wriiten here. I would much prefer to look at a face full of character and expression then to look at one that has no flaws. Very moving and thought provoking. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 259 Points Husna Amin (11/16/2013 11:34:00 AM)

    Excellent is the word! the reality really hits you hard... (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 867 Points Liliana ~el (11/16/2013 6:29:00 AM)

    Omigawsh this is really deep and dark. Really unfortunate how this is the reflection of our societies. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 1,115 Points Krishnakumar Chandrasekar Nair (11/16/2013 4:31:00 AM)

    Normal girls are now so hard to find
    As each wants to walk the ramp of fame
    Starving to exhibit the missing curves
    All to make money or just a name.....

    Excellent poem I welcome all to my page too fro your valuable comments... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Bertha Khatchadourian (9/6/2013 7:23:00 PM)

    I think that this poem is very sad, but yet very true. mostly in this generation girls try to be something they are not.
    They don't have self confidence, they look at others around them and try to be like them. They need to be happy about what they have not what others want them to have. Not everyone is perfect so just be yourself. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Bertha Khatchadourian (9/6/2013 7:17:00 PM)

    I think that this poem is very sad, but yet very true. mostly in this generation girls try to be something they are not.
    They don't have self confidence, they look at others around them and try to be like them. They need to be happy about what they have not what others want them to have. Not everyone is perfect so just be yourself. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sevana Avaneceian (9/5/2013 2:36:00 PM)

    I think the poem is really sad. Society has become so bad and alot of women now a days will go above and beyond to change who they really are and I find that really sad. Be happy with how you look and who you are. Dont ever change for anyone or anything. At the end your real beauty is covered and will never be revealed (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sevana Avaneceian (9/5/2013 2:34:00 PM)

    I think this poem is really sad and awfull. So many girls now a days care about beauty so much that they will go above and beyond to change who they really are and actually cover their real inner and outter beauty. Stay the way God created you. Dont ever change for anyone or anything. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sevana Avaneceian (9/5/2013 2:31:00 PM)

    I disagree I would never change my self for anyone or anything. Your're who you are and if no one doesnt want to except you for who you are then they're not worth your time. Its not all about the looks. Beauty comes in every shape, size and form thats including your're relgion. Be you and stay faithful to your're self and respect what God gave you as human. This is a really sad poem. Alot of girls do suffer from inner and outter beauty. You dont need to starve yourself to stay skinny. Eating healthy and small meal portions are the way to go. Its so sad what alot of females do now a days. Stay the way you are and never change.I think this poem is really sad and awfull. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sabrina Camba (9/4/2013 12:47:00 AM)

    This poem is the ugly truth. So many girls are told what to do, eat, wear, how to fix their face and hair and how to act. I strongly feel girls and guys should be whatever they want to be. Nobody should judge you of who you are. True beauty come within yourself and that what makes it beauty beautiful. If you want to be all tatted up or all pierced up. Go ahead if that makes you beautiful do whatever or do what makes you happy. that's all that matters. Is what makes you feel good about your self (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Lynne Dale (11/24/2012 8:23:00 PM)

    This is frighteningly true. So many young people, particularly girls, are told how to look and who to be and when they take that on board the results are disastrous. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Chano Leal (11/18/2012 2:21:00 PM)


  • Gold Star - 5,608 Points Pranab K Chakraborty (11/16/2012 6:15:00 AM)

    From my childhood school lessons remembering a quote which not possible to forget through out the rest of life...the poem reminds me again...Those who want to please everybody can please was that lesson. Here poet paints the sample of that class of women who simply think themselves nothing but the doll made of flesh and blood. Beauty signifies how do you project your youness, not only by the general appearance of the object. This much. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Kit Felms (10/19/2012 8:52:00 AM)

    I think the poem is a criticism of society's impossible standards of beauty that can only be achievable in death. The poem uses Barbie, which we all know to be perfect in all aspects (mental, emotional, physical) , and describes her experiences while alive. Unexpectedly, people do not praise or see her for her strengths, whether in terms of her health, beauty or strength, but focus myopically on what they perceive to be her fat nose and thick legs. The unfortunate result is what we see happening to more and more adolescent girls: Barbie goes under the knife. The incident happens to cost her life (literally or metaphorically) . It is poignant that she is only seen as pretty when she is dead, equipped with a false nose and painted with cosmetics. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Aldair Alarcon (8/5/2012 8:22:00 PM)

    The following poem discusses the sexist social dictates women are bombarded with from the start of youth.The barbie doll has become the ideal depiction many females emulate to be; thus, placing a sterotypical label women are pressured to fulfill. Noteworthy, is how generally favorable male attributes like...healthy, tested intelligent, possessed strong arms and back, abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity are ignored; though if a male exhibited such traits they would be encouraged, admired, and, praised not eschewed. Therefore, look at the stereotypical representation of a male to display strength, fertility, and handiness. Compare this to today's hackneyed expressions that minimizes and generalize a women's full potentialsatire goth is emphasised when a male is unable to perform well in physical activities he is degraded by the words Stop acting like a girl or the supporting terms of encouragement like Hi, ladies; fertility is centered when a male is glorified for his promiscuous conduct with the words stud, player, or ladies man while, females are belittled with words like bitch, slut, whore, or skunk bag when behaving likewise; handiness speaks for it's self with archetypical expression handyman or this is a man's work/job. One should acknowledge the time Piercy wrote her poem, which indicates and explicates the level of frustation women felt towards these social dictates, considering that the second-wave of feminism was occurring at the moment. Nevertheless, Piercy addresses and vents out lightly her rage towards the stereotypes women are marked, objectifying the individual to an image of a doll. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Tyler Mcmurtrey (2/13/2012 8:13:00 PM)

    Society values beauty over any other value a person can have. “She was healthy and tested intelligent. The word healthy has a connotative meaning of having good physical, mental or social condition. This shows that she could have had a good skill in making friends and had a good social life. She also could have had a good physical health. These are all great skills to have that many people strive to achieve, but unfortunately society did not take the time to see these qualities for society only looks on the outward appearance. “Possessed strong arms and back” the author compared the girl possessing strong arms and back to a Barbie doll because Barbie dolls are made out of hard and “strong” plastic. But when someone purchases a Barbie doll they usually don’t look to see if the doll possesses strong arms or a back, they look for the doll’s beauty. “Abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity” The author conveyed that through puberty, the girl matured as everyone else and had a sexual drive as much as any other girl or boy her age. Though she had a sexual drive the same as any other person did, people didn’t see that in her, they just saw her fat nose and thick legs.
    (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: candy, pink, magic, woman, nature, happy, smile, women

Poem Submitted: Thursday, January 1, 2004

Poem Edited: Monday, June 6, 2011

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