Gender And Roles In Marge Piercy's Barbie Doll

807 Words 4 Pages
Mirror Mirror From as early as birth girls have pink hair bows, fancy clothes, and high standards thrown at them, and it is hard not to ask why? Self-image has been an ongoing struggle with girls of all ages, primarily due to the fact that society throws images at them of beautiful women, unrealistic gender role toys, and the ideas that girls are meant to be in the kitchen from day one doesn’t help. Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll” is an astounding example of the affects society has on girls by putting focus on toys, peers, and the damage of a negative self-image. Starting with toys, Piercy makes her opening lines stating that, “This girlchild was born as usual/and presented dolls that did pee-pee”(1-2). What is being stated is that from a …show more content…
As stated above, the playing with toys is the foundation a child develops to aid them into who they will become, but what happens to that foundation when peers are involved? Piercy provides an excellent example by stating, “She was healthy tested intelligent” (7). This shows that the character was all she could be. She views herself as good enough, as do most children at a young age. Then Piercy changes the mood by making it a point to mention the character is seen as someone with a fat nose and thick legs. This is the struggle with peers, they pick at each other, finding each other flaws, and go above the bar in degrading one another all because society paints a picture of what perfect is. Peer pressure is not a new topic of discussion, but associating it with self-image and gender inequality is a newer approach on the topic, and the lasting effects it can have on children is quite …show more content…
When a young girl or boy is teased because they do not look like the other kids, it opens the door to a multitude of problems. In Piercy’s poem, the girl ultimately kills herself to have a few moments of fitting in and being beautiful. Sadly, this is something that is not an uncommon occurrence. So often girls will develop eating disorders, self-mutilation, and even suicide just because they do not fit in. This kind of damage is life lasting also, women of all kinds fear trying to work in a better job, or assume they cannot move up in their current work place, because of the negative self-image that has stuck around with them from years past. They may also struggle with teaching their children positive self-image. The effects of low self-esteem is detrimental to the fight for gender equality, because too often women are made to feel negatively about themselves especially in a work place, and when a woman has spent her entire life fighting negative views from society, and peers she will lose the motivation to become all that she can be. Looking back at the toys effects on self-image, and tying it in with work inequality, it is more clear as to why so many times a woman is told that her place is at a desk, at home, or caring for children. The fact that multiple women stick to their gender roles while working is often over looked and, by some even frowned upon, says a lot for the need for our society to grow up

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