"Barbie Doll," a poem by Marge Piercy, focuses in on the transition of a young girl into society's stereotypical woman.

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”Barbie Doll," a poem by Marge Piercy, focuses in on the transition of a young girl into society's stereotypical woman. Through symbolism, Piercy conveys how women change their outward appearance to match the standards of society.

The beginning of the poem describes how a normal girl is pressured, even as a child, to fit into society's stereotype. At the beginning of the poem Piercy states, “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” (1-4). Symbolism is used to represent the importance of remaining feminine. The word “girlchild” is used to amplify the importance of the child being a girl. This is done primarily to begin the poem in a feminine way. By saying “girlchild,” Piercy is emphasizing femininity from the beginning of the poem. Next, Piercy introduces “miniature GE stoves and irons” to the girl. Stoves and irons are items women use to cook and do chores with. Women are automatically associated with using these household objects, therefore, the girl is presented objects women use to learn the role of women. This is done so that the girl can learn to be feminine. The “miniature GE stoves and irons” act as a symbol of what the girl should be using once she grows up. Piercy states that this is learned at a young age by introducing the topic at the beginning of the poem and by using the word “miniature” to describe the objects. Lastly, the girl is introduced “wee lipsticks” to portray femininity. Lipstick is a highly feminine product, and it is rare to be introduced to a child at the same time toy stoves and irons are introduced. Piercy introduces the lipstick and small toys at the same time to symbolize the importance of learning to be feminine at a young age. The lipstick is also described as “wee” to point out that the lipstick is presented to the girl when she is young.

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The middle of the poem describes the girl's transformation into society's stereotype. Mid way through the poem Piercy states, “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” (7-11). Symbolism is used to express a need for women to have a certain look and fit a certain mold. The girl is described as healthy, intelligent, and strong, but those features are not acceptable enough for society. Being healthy and intelligent are both characteristics that people can’t see. They are ...

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