Category Archives: interesting reads

Marge Piercy – Barbie

No Flashback Friday today.

I’ve had this poem on my mind a bunch lately. I’ve been spending more time than I would like thinking about body image. Specifically my┬ábody image. I am pretty damn comfortable with my body, but I feel like recently I’ve been spending more time worried that other people are looking at the parts of me that I feel are flawed. (Maybe because it’s summer and I’m too damn hot to hide behind jeans and cardigan sweaters.)

I’ve loved this piece since I was introduced to it in a Women’s Lit class I took at a community college in 2000. I loved so much of what we read in that class; I’m hoping that I still have the textbook packed away in a forgotten box somewhere.

Anyway, Marge Piercy – Barbie.

The girl child was born as usual
and presented with dolls that did pee-pee
and miniature GE stoves and irons
and wee lipsticks the color of cherry candy.
Then in the magic of puberty, a classmate said:
You have a great big nose and fat legs.

She was healthy, and tested intelligent,
possessed strong arms and back,
abundant sexual drive and manual dexterity.
She went to and fro apologizing.
Everyone saw a fat nose on thick legs.

She was advised to plat cor,
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.

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.


Filed under feminism, interesting reads

Disney and the end of fairy tales


According to the LA Times, “Tangled” (currently in theaters) will be the last fairy tale movie Disney releases. What?! Disney without fairy tales? How can that be?!?


I’m not a Disney fan, and I have a special dislike for fairy tales and the Princess genre. I can’t get behind the idea of girls aspiring to be rescued, while wearing pretty frilly dresses, and tiaras. Or boys being shown that they have a responsibility to be a knight in shining armor, and rescue the fair maiden. It’s limiting, and sexist, and heteronormative, and it gets under my skin.


I know, I know, there are a LOT of people who will say that Disney is fantasy and not reality, and I’m Scroogish for thinking that make-believe has any greater impact beyond entertainment. (I guess I should also say that I’m really not a fan of most media aimed at children, but seem to have a greater dislike of Disney. It is what it is.)  But children are like sponges. They will absorb pretty much whatever is placed in front of them.


So anyway, Disney does away with fairy tales and Princesses. I figure I should be jumping for joy.


But I’m not.


What the?


I’m irked that Disney is dumping fairy tales because,  “the genre has run its course,” and they’re going to focus instead on movies like Toy Story which appeals to a broader audience. Their last fairy tale, “”Princess and the Frog” appealed to too narrow an audience: little girls.” So this reads to me like the all familiar, “If it’s for girlz it must be icky.” Girls can dig boy stuff, but boys sure as hell won’t dig girl stuff, so lets do away with the girl stuff.


Do I actually want to defend princess movies? That can’t be.


I don’t want to defend princess movies. But I DO want to scream and yell about the persistent devaluation of things aimed at women. And I want to point out that in many of Disney’s Pixar movies, there are often few, if any, women characters.


So instead of valuing the little girl market (that I might even argue Disney created) they’re gonna dump it in favor of stuff that boys like.


Great. Fantastic. Another early reminder that what girls want doesn’t mean squat.


Filed under culture, interesting reads, parenting, Uncategorized