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In other cases being beautiful is very important to many people and some are willing to change to conform to everyone else’s perspectives to beauty. Others find themselves comfortable with just the way they are. Some people decide to go into painful plastic surgeries to fit in with the rest of the so-called beautiful people; others rebel against pleasing others and don’t put so much importance to it. They focus on being on what they really are. In “Barbie Doll” by Marge Piercy and “Lost Sister” by Cathy Song Girlchild and Sister struggle with their decision on whether to rebel or conform to what society expects.
Girlchild from “Barbie Doll” chooses to conform to society’s expectations. Girlchild does not consider herself beautiful because she has large nose and chubby legs. Even though she is described as smart and in good conditions, the people around her only care of how she looks physically. The requirements to be beautiful are so limited and her good features are not one of them.
Physically, Girlchild does not believe herself as beautiful. Barbie dolls are the ideal form of beauty, with the perfect body, big eyes, and perfect nose. Girlchild does not carry any features of a Barbie doll but that does not mean she is ugly.
Instead of finding her own way of beauty Girlchild decides to fit in. So Girlchild loses weight, changes her look, and attitude to please others. Even like that people criticize her of being imperfect all they still see is “a fat nose on thick legs” (Piercy 11).
She fails to find acceptance, even after all the hard work she puts into it. To conform to everyone else she finally decides to cut her nose and legs off. This decision to fit in causes her life to end. After that the undertaker fixes her up putting on a fake nose and fixing other imperfections. At her uneral now that she carries a different nose, the so-called perfect nose, everyone finally asks “Doesn’t she look pretty? ” (Piercy 23). At last she succeeds to be accepted but now it doesn’t really matter, because she is dead. In the other hand sister from the poem “Lost Sister” did not conform instead she decides to rebel. Her culture expects women to be loyal, obedient, and to stay at home and care for their family throughout all their lives. Sister is compared to a jade stone, because like the stone women are able to do so much, but are not able “to move freely” (Song 13).
In Sister’s culture women are destined to take care of their family and are not capable to achieve anything else. They also have to go through a painful process of foot binding that didn’t allow them to walk comfortably. This foot binding procedure is for women to have small cute feet. It also enables them to move fast and far. Sister does not conform to this lifestyle unlike Girchild, Sister decides to seek opportunities and equality in America. Sister leaves to another country to find freedom. In America she does not have to go through painful procedures to be accepted. She now has the opportunity to “stride along with men” (Song 36).
While this is what she wants, she is still not satisfied. In America she has no family. By rebelling she gets what she wants but she is unable to share this with her family. She is unable to understand the new language. The city is nothing like where she was born; in the city there is always light and the air is not the cleanest. She starts to miss China. She realizes it wasn’t so easy after all. Even though one decides to rebel and the other to conform at the end, ironically, they are both unhappy. Girlchild is lifeless unable to enjoy her accomplishment and Sister was unable to share her freedom with her family.
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