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No Name Woman vs Barbie Doll Battle of the Millennia Lets face it Society is chock full of subtle and not-so-subtle demands to conform to the norm and going with the flow is a big part of life Ideas of conformity are beaten into us as soon as were able to comprehend the world we live in A large piece of the conformity pie deals with the role of the woman and how she should look and act A good pair of literary works that illustrate the conflict which I assume that all women encounter are No Name Woman by Maxine Hong Kingston and Barbie Doll by Marge Piercy I say that I assume because being male myself I really have no idea what the female gender is all about However Ill see what I can do When viewing the two works together one realizes that although the price for rejecting cultural norms can be shame torture and even death fully embracing the ideals is often a worse alternative No Name Woman is an excellent example of the possible horrors awaiting those who wont fit the mold The story is set in the culture of China in the early 1900s The female role in this culture bears strong similarities to that of a slave Women were essentially not supposed to have their own opinions thoughts or wants Their main goal in life was to marry a prosperous man and serve him They went to great pains making themselves look perfect hoping to attract a wealthy male much like male birds bright colors do the opposite To have a child out of wedlock was an unforgivable sin and with it came a hefty price In the story which Kingstons mother told her Kingstons aunt violated the social norms of the culture and suffered grave consequences Barbie Doll shows the opposite end of the spectrum concerning choices made when confronted with an unfavored social norm The
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