“Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is a poem that highlights the difficulties that young girls

“Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy is a poem that highlights the difficulties that young girls, adolescents, and woman are confronted by society. There are many interpretations of the ending of the poem. Two of which are suicide and plastic surgery. Most people believe the child committed suicide because of the intense pressure of trying to be the perfect image like the Barbie doll. Barbie has been the icon for more than fifty years for all woman. Although the poem has a depressing tone, the poem itself brings out legitimate points.
At the beginning of the poem, the unnamed girl has obtained modern toys and seems to be happy during her childhood. The girl is given dolls, miniature home appliances, and fake makeup. During the childhood years, most kids are bullied due to their appearances for not looking “normal” or “pretty” especially throughout the stages of puberty.
As the poem progresses, a classmate of the nameless girl comments on her appearance, calling her fat and telling her she has a “big nose and fat legs” (1124). There was nothing wrong with the girl, except for the fact that she apparently did not fit society’s “Barbie”. The girl did not lack intelligence but, apologized for the way she looked. She felt she did something wrong. Even though she apologized for her appearance, everyone still saw her ugly.
A classmate began to tell her she was overweight, and she needed to start dieting. The girl agreed to what society told her and decided to begin changing parts of herself to fit in. She was advised to play coy, diet and smile. This stanza explains how society told her to look to fit in. The author mentioned, “Her good nature wore out like a fan belt” (1124). Marge Piercy implied that all these changes the girl has had enough.
The author then brings the main idea together. The girl could no longer deal with the pressure she faced by society, she decided to commit suicide. In this last stanza when it mentions she is displayed with satin, the putty nose, dressed in pink it seems as she had died due to plastic surgery. With the description given, it states she fixed the problems society was pointing out to her. Everyone began to state “Doesn’t she look pretty? To every woman a happy ending” (page 1125). It is an ironic ending because she did not die happy. She struggled to try to please everyone except herself.
The poem teaches the reader the horrible things that can exist in women who feel they need to be perfect to be accepted by society. It also expresses how most young girls and woman will do what is necessary to fit in. They allow depression to build up, choosing surgery and not worry about consequences that later they might confront. The author is also stating how we should not change for anyone or society. What people say about others really does not matter in the long run. You will be remembered for what good you did; not how good you look. Parents need to allow their children to develop their own personality to help build their self-esteem. Teach them about how cruel society can be and prepare them for the real world.