Barbie Doll Essay

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Brittany Butler Sara Jankowski ENG 112-MO March 1, 2010 Perfectionism and Society In 1973, Marge Piercy published a poem by the name of “Barbie Doll’ in her collection of poems, Circle on the Water. This poem was inspired by the popular doll, Barbie, produced in 1959 by Mattel. Soon after the doll came out, Barbie became an idol to young girls everywhere, with her perfect looks, dream house, and even her car and boyfriend. The ‘perfect’ image of what a young girl should be soon became the “Barbie” image, blonde hair, blue eyes, and a slim athletic figure. Young girls tried with all of their might to be just like Barbie, to be perfect. In 1973 when Marge Piercy wrote this poem, she was conveying a message to her readers that no matter how hard we try, perfection is not something we achieve in our lifetimes, only in death. At the time this poem was written, Barbie had already been out for nearly twenty years. “Millions of children throughout the world, mostly girls, owned and played with one or more Barbie dolls, while some older people collected them (and some still do)” (Sherrow 1). Many of these women and young girls were trying to emulate her look at the time, which considering her measurements of 39-18-33, was virtually impossible. A woman by the name of Cindy Jackson however has spent her entire life trying to achieve a “Barbie look,” she’s been through more than twenty operations trying to achieve this (Semansky 1). Piercy however realized that for girls of the African American, Asian, Native American, Hispanic, and any other race besides the Caucasian this would be nearly impossible. They could never look “perfect” in the eyes of the society we live in, and so she began to write this poem. The personal experiences of Piercy also contribute to the outlook on how she wrote this poem. At a young age she caught the Rheumatic fever and the German measles,

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