Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll: Fake is the New Perfect Essay

Submitted By lhorton2423
Words: 1024
Pages: 5

Lori Horton
Mrs. Kaufman
ACE Composition II
14 March 2014
Fake Is the New Perfect “Since 1997, there has been almost a 250% increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures. Surgical procedures increased by more than 80%, and nonsurgical procedures increased by 461%.” () People all over the world change their bodies on a regular basis to conform to what in society today is classified as “perfect”. This poem connects to many people, specifically women today due to the fact that plastic surgery and other cosmetic surgeries have become every day decisions made to fit into society. “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy can be classified as a great work of art due to the use of internal conflict, symbols and imagery, as well as ethical evaluations addressing the human condition making this piece timeless and significant. With this in mind, Marge Piercy describes the internal conflict of the character, who does not specifically have a name. This character struggles with the idea of trying to change herself. As she grows up she is normal girl that has “dolls that did pee-pee and miniature GE stoves and irons” (Piercy lines 1-3) and she wears “wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy” (Piercy 4). Unfortunately, like most girls, once she hit puberty she was only known as “big nose and fat legs” (Piercy 6). When referring to the human condition, most girls go through this stage in life where they do not fit in. It is like a feeling of rejection and being unwanted. Regrettably, our society today find this to be a normal activity, like a feature of growing up. This feeling tends to be a common internal conflict that many girls face today and must overcome. Likewise, the author, through the use of symbols and imagery connects the feeling of the character to what many people, generally girls, feel today. The first example of this is when she describes the color or the young girl’s lipstick. She does not simply describe this as being red, she says it is “color of cherry candy” (Piercy 4). This lets readers relate due to the fact that as a young girl many go through a phase where they have flavored Chap Stick that is used as play make-up. By simply changing how she words this, it add enough effect to connect the reader to what the character is going through. Another case of imagery comes later in the poem when she is describing the girls break down as a “fan belt” (Piercy 16). This not only has the masculine relation such as cars, but it also is showing how her self- confidence is dying and she is ceasing to be happy. Piercy also uses symbols to make the poem more stereotypical. She describes the character night gown as “pink and white” (Piercy 22).Pink is generally a feminine color where white is pure. This follows the general conception that women are supposed to follow this mold that is set for them by society. If a reader was to evaluate this poem using ethical considerations, a whole new meaning would be found. Many girls today feel the pressure to be “perfect” and fit this mold of what a girl should be. Some of these girls would do anything to fit this, even if it means completely changing themselves and loosing who they truly are. This is what Piercy is describing when she says things such as “in the casket splayed” (Piercy 19). This is talking about how the girl killed what she truly was to be something that everyone else wanted her to be. She did anything and everything she could do to not be known as “big nose and fat legs” (Piercy 6). People today do not see this, but the ways Piercy write makes this realization open to many. “Consummation at last, to every woman a happy ending.” (Piercy 24-25) describes how truly unhappy women are and how hard they will fight to be beautiful and perfect in the eyes of the ones around them when all they should really care about is how they look in their own eyes. Unfortunately, how they