30th October 2017

Reading Log #4 Barbie doll

AS 90854 Reading Record Sheet – Reading Log #4

Ronan Thompson

Barbie doll – Marge Piercy


Barbie doll describes a typical nature of our society. It talks about a girl with dolls, she admired their prettiness at a young age and was just like any other girl in the modern world. But as grew older puberty began to hit, a stage all teenagers must pass at their adolescent stage of life. It talks about how at school she began to be judged and called names by others just because of her physical. This ideals and normality of people’s perceptions changed her, moulded her personality, crafted the way she was so she could fit the social “norms”. A tragic but common occurrence in our today society. The poem states

“She was advised to play coy,

exhorted to come on hearty,

exercise, diet, smile and wheedle.

Her good nature wore out

like a fan belt.

So she cut off her nose and her legs

and offered them up”

These phrases are ever so relevant in the world today. There is too much of judging one another, rather than supporting one another in these time of change. Just because someone looks different to the usual emulation televised on everyday tv, Instagram, magazine and social media. It does not mean they’re any different to all the human beings around us. Many of us are innately similar rather than genetic makeup. But much of personal values and how we act. Are moulded by the environment around us such seen in the line “Her good nature wore out, like a fan belt. Many people undermine these beauties of another because they feel unsure about themselves. Seen through the stereotypical high school “bully”. In doing so they make themselves feel protected or even good about their own personal appearance. But really the girl has just as many feelings, outlooks and emotions towards life as most of the people we see every day. It is only a small proportion of the population to try to put people down because of their physical appearances seen in the lines.

“Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:

You have a great big nose and fat legs”.

These words make the girl feel self-conscious about herself and question whether she is “pretty or good enough”. A dire theme in the world today which is seen too often.

Many of us want to feel secure about ourselves and look in the present world. So, many refer to the products of cosmetics to increase their “status” and “prettiness” but really in doing so concealing the inner beauty of many. Lying under the skin. Oppressed by the want to “fit in” with everyone around us. The words barbie doll commonly describe a toy made of plastic and a manicured look. This is described in the final stanza when the poem says

“In the casket displayed on satin, she lay

with the undertaker’s cosmetics painted on,

a turned-up putty nose,

dressed in a pink and white nightie.

Doesn’t she look pretty? everyone said.

Consummation at last.

To every woman a happy ending”.

Following the girl until death, the poet cynically describes “her perfect nose”. The coffin acts as a big Barbie box. Containing the final polished product of her life. Lost of the many inherent values and personality she was born with.  The pink symbolizes the femininity to her final look and the white embezzles “purity”, a manipulated aspect of society’s expectations. She looks pretty in her death because she is covered with makeup and has a new nose. She appears to be like someone she was not in her real life. Right at the end the poet sarcastically says – “To every woman a happy ending” illustrating how society can poison a woman’s thinking that in order for them to have a happy life. They must mould themselves into cliched Barbie doll look as wanted by the society.

I believe this is a great poem as it expresses one of the struggles of femininity the world today when passing through those adolescent years. Through these years you spent a great deal of time trying to find out who you really are as a person and how you fit in the world around and the fact that people will complain behind and in front of your about your physical appearance is terrible. The poem truthfully displays these protruding aspects and the manipulation in society not just for females but for males as well. It also addresses the oppressed concerns about how self-conscious we are about are looks and needing to “fit in”. An inborn feature in most of us.

Ultimately proving this is a great poem as it addresses so many societal and modern factors in the world. Giving insight to life’s impediments.


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About Ronan

I was born a gangster, ya know.