In today's society, many people have established an idea of how women should look. Certain characteristics such as how big their breasts are, how small their waist is, and how broad their hips should be are all physical aspects by which people judge women. The actions of men are also expected to be a certain way. How strong they are, how tough their attitudes are, and how confident they are are all descriptions that we associate with men. The author Marge Piercy recognizes these set standards that have been given to each gender.

Piercy writes about some examples of this and how these standards can be harmful to those being judged. "Barbie Doll' illustrates how society has set expectations of how each gender should look and act, and they show us how those opinions can result in unfair disapproval and may even cause a tragedy. By examine the language throughout the poem, readers may discover the insensitivity-and ultimate cruelty-of a society that encourages patterned behaviors, that fails to recognize the innate values people possess, that creates artificial demands, and that perpetuates unhealthy expectations. The subordination of women starts at an early age with girls being taught that their role is to be a wife and mother. Marge Piercy describes this type of socialization in the poem "Barbie Doll'. This type of parenting was acceptable many years ago, but times are changing and girls need to be taught the skills they will need to survive in today's world..