The main character is a girl who finds herself in a patriarchal world where she has no place to improve herself the way her soul wants. She finds herself in a situation in which society dictates the rules of her behavior and appearance. Moreover, the girl is trapped in these conditions and cannot escape them because society easily influences her and changes her consciousness. Relative to other toys, Barbie is the perfect doll; close to boys, she is modest and quiet; she is bright and sexy compared to grown men. All of these roles have been attributed to a society that is stuffed with patriarchal attitudes.
Piercy’s poem begins in the middle of a doll’s life who tries to be perfect in everything. The Barbie doll occupies a critical place among the symbols of oppression. She is used to pressuring women to suppress their creative and personal selves. The girl in the poem is easily influenced by a patriarchal society that honors only doll women. Due to this, she strives to live up to all these expectations but cannot live up to them.
It is impossible to fully speculate why the girl in the poem continues her attempts to be perfect. She wants to please society, but she constantly remembers her classmate’s words, keeping her moving forward. It is not a healthy motivation and is detrimental to her mental health. The girl has strengths that are not related to conforming to gender stereotypes. She is physically fit, eats well, and follows an exercise regimen (Piercy 7). The girl has dexterous hands and can create and make different things, which is a valuable skill. The sexually open-minded heroine is also a big plus for her health and keeping her hormonal system stable. In addition, she has been on a rugged path for a long time, and strength of hers is strength and responsibility for her actions.
However, there are not a few weaknesses, which are expressed in the inability to resist outside influence. The girl cannot break free from the patriarchal order of the world because she is already too attached to it. She likely spends all her energy conforming to stereotypes and does not even try to think about changing her life in any way. Her principal values are conventionally beautiful appearance and social recognition. It is worth noting that most likely, the girl does not know how to deal with conflicts and reason about them rationally. She “cuts off her legs and nose” to please society instead of proving it wrong (Piercy 7). Thus, the image of the Barbie Doll is a reflection of unhappy women who have been influenced by patriarchy.
The poem presents us with the birth of a child who is immediately placed in patriarchal conditions. She is given toys and objects to make her a comfortable patriarchal woman. The girl has immediately taught her future role as a servant. The child is prepared to be a servant, to have no opinions, and to fulfill the wishes of others so that society will accept her and allow her to conform to stereotypes of beauty and femininity. Even lipstick acquired a little girl, although she could learn and develop.
The child was influenced by her family and environment, and they made her a convenient tool in society. Her fate could have turned out differently for the girl, but from the beginning, it was clear that the world around her would not accept other people. Growing up, she continued to diet and smile at everyone, and society continued to be nice to her and take her. However, she never became perfect for them because her “fat legs and nose” spoiled the view (Piercy 7). The girl flows with the flow, accepting everything society says, which leads her to a terrible end.
Relevance to Modern Times
At first glance, it seems that the problem of inequality and gender stereotypes has been solved. However, this is not the case because girls and women face discrimination based on gender in many even developed countries. I think the story of Barbie will continue to be relevant until feminism eliminates social injustice. Gigi Hadid, an American model who generally has stereotypical facial features, would be best suited for the film. Her picture is in figure 1, and I think she fits it perfectly.
Her facial features are correct and beautiful and have a twist, like the Barbie dolls from Piercy. Good makeup would erode these features (eyebrows and face shape) to make them look like a gender stereotype.
Since Hadid is a model, she understands the need to keep her face on camera and be confident. I would advise her to relax and create a more relaxed look. In addition, the model would also be required to deteriorate her modeling gait to emphasize the impossibility of achieving the ideal. Thus, integrating Barbie dolls into movies is relevant because it would emphasize that even in the modeling business, there can be appearance details that seem flawed at first glance.
Piercy, Marge. Barbie Doll. Off Our Backs, 1, 1974, p. 7