The Death of the Virgin Barbie


She was the image of perfection in our time

Defined forever by  external truths

And the lust we all shared for a certain thing

To hold to in the tumult of our days.


She had a perfect body, that was given,

Without which there would have been no point.

Not that she ever did anything with it:

Designed to be plaything,

she was more played with than playing.

It was in doing nothing that she was so attractive,

where imagination could pursue its fondest dreams. 


She had no mind to speak of, which really didn’t matter;

Thinking wasn’t what we sought from her.

Her speaking would have been an interruption,

her silence was her great attraction

permitting us a constant assurance

of our greatness, and her sure consent. 

She could be peeled, as easy as you please.

Love might be had as easily as these,

if love were only eros.


She was the ideal of desire in our youth.

How we ached to know her visage mirrored truth,

that somewhere in the world of 

walking talking acting beings––

all putting to the lie her most astounding charms –– 

was one who could, and better, would 

perform the feats of those amazing legs and arms.

And, sweet in spirit, would ask as little in return.

Obedient compliance was the price she’d pay

for honour, and some grace on Mothers Day.


She was the image of perfection dressed to kill.

From every land and nation came her peers

to walk across a stage year after year,

display as best they could in swimwear and stiletto heels

the ideals they assumed we craved.

And wondered 

how, if they could be that brave

that we despised and ridiculed their pained display

of pseudo charm and feline faux compassion.

And wondered too

what more they possibly could show,

and what it was we saw, and what it was we sought

and what it was they hadn’t got.

And did we really know.


They dress her now in chador, veil and burka,

pretending she is faithful and demure;

in judges robes, contractors boots, surgeon’s gown,

pretending she is superwoman, clown.

They’ll dress her now in anything they can,

Pretending she is modern.

But you are still the Man.

 © Philip Knight 2018