Struggling for rights has always been one of the integral parts of a man’s life, which predetermined the pace of humankind development. It is quite peculiar though that woman started to protect their rights and freedoms relatively not quite long ago. Perhaps, this could explain the rapid growth of the feminist movement that seized the world in the XX century.
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In spite of its seeming calmness, the poem is filled with anger and despair – it seems that Barbie Doll could be the anthem for the XXI century feminism. One of the mournful ideas that the poem is shot through is the problem of being used. This is, perhaps, the most painful issue ever raised in the history of gender relations and gender discrimination.
Although the world has progressed well enough, conquering more and more space for the professional and personal development, most of the niches have already been taken by men, whereas omen is to indulge into following the rules set by men. With the specific humble behavior and the role of a silent maiden imposed on them, women are forced to fight for their freedom – the freedom to speak out loud without fearing that their opinion could cause men’s discontent.
This is quite related to the basis of the feminist theory developed by those women who did not want to act the way they have been prescribed to. After all, living in a free country and yet not being able to say a word in their defense is the most deplorable state that women have ever been trapped into.
What the poem and the theory of feminism are particularly close in is the negligence that women suffer when trying to interfere with the spheres that are commonly considered as the “male” ones. As they try to express their ideas and show that they have their understanding of the issue, they are commonly treated as worthless bimbos, which is most humiliating.
As Piercy poetically put it,
She was advised to play coy,
exhorted to come on hearty,
exercise, diet, smile and wheedle (Piercy)
Protesting against the dull life of a doll that is not even able to move on its own and can make the right choice only when being led by the hand, the poetess expresses her concern for the role of a woman in the modern society. The world still belongs to men, and they seem to be far thrifty to share a piece of their power with women.
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However, there is another idea that troubles the poetess even more. With her heart aching for the women who are treated only as sexual objects, Marge Piercy expresses her indignation about the men who treat women like an article of trade – a thing that can be bought, sold or humiliated:
She was healthy, tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity (Piercy)
This comes quite close to the concern expressed by Hooks. Dwelling upon the issues of the feminist theory, the scientist concluded that “Male supremacy is the oldest, most basic form of domination” (69). Indeed, it seems that women have never had enough power to share their point of view with the rest of the world – and be heard:
All other forms of exploration and oppression (racism, capitalism, imperialism, etc.) are extensions of male supremacy: men dominate women, a few men dominate the rest. All power situations throughout history have been male-dominated and male-oriented. (Hooks 69)
Hooks, Bell. Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center. London, UK: Pluto Press, 2000. Print.
Piercy, Marge. Barbie Doll. PoemHunter, 2004. Web.