The Patriarchy In Marge Piercy's A Work Of Artifice

Women in today’s society are a lot freer than they used to be. That isn’t to say they are completely free of the patriarchy, however they have a lot more freedoms, and less stress on how they should behave. In Marge Piercy’s “A Work of Artifice,” the author uses the continuous metaphor of a bonsai tree to represent women in a patriarchal society, and how they are treated in areas such as” their looks, their intelligence, and their actions. In terms of looks, women have had the most stress put upon them in this area. In the second line of the poem, it reads “The bonsai tree/ in the attractive pot,” (lines 1-2) which is a jab at how a woman’s body is sexualized and is the desire of the patriarchal society. In the eyes of the patriarchal society, a woman’s body is hypersexualized. Men lust after it, and in media it is “teased” showing as much skin as possible without actually showing …show more content…
However, women can’t even breastfeed their babies in public without being told “That’s disgusting, this is a family place” or “You should take that somewhere more private.” She faces all this harassment just to feed her baby. Also, in the poem, it says, “Every day as he/ whittles back the branches/ the gardener croons,” (9-11) these lines indicate how constantly receive this stress on their self-image, that is, every day. A barrage of words and images, from their family, from the media, from their culture, all telling them exactly how they should look to be “successful” in this patriarchal society. With “It is your nature/to be small and cozy/domestic and weak;” (12-14) the author is stressing how much society is telling women that they are meant to be seen and not heard, their opinions aren’t as important as men’s, that they should be

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