An American icon, the Barbie doll continues to reinvent itself with the changing times.
And, she's in the news again for a somewhat different reason and one that has nothing to do with her killer figure. The Digital Journal reports that Mattel is being urged to mass produce a bald Barbie in order to make girls suffering from hair loss feel more attractive and to help children cope with hair loss among friends and relatives.
In a recent Huffington Post report, it said last year, Mattel created a one-of-a-kind bald Barbie doll for a 4-year-old suffering from cancer who lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment, according to CBS New York.
Now, the interest appears to be growing from all around the country.
In fact, a Facebook campaign has already generated more than 75,000 likes calling for a bald Barbie doll which they say will help boost the self esteem in women and children experiencing hair loss from cancer treatment, pulling one's hair out and other diseases that cause the immune system to attack hair follicles.
On its Facebook page, campaign organizers wrote the following explanation of their goals and the reasons behind the movement:
We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania . Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother's hair loss from chemo. Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from a long haired to a bald.
A petition has also been started on Change.org lobbying for the manufacture of the hairless dolls. As of Thursday, Jan. 12, the petition had garnered 1,664 signatures.
Over the years that Barbie has lined toy shelves, she's been everything from a doctor to a bathing beauty. She's worn clothes created by designers that most real women will never have the privilege of wearing. She's had cars and homes that we can only dream about.
Heck, a few months ago I wrote about the , that was created with head-to-toe tattoos (this turned our to be one of the most popular stories on the site and is still read months later). Granted Mattel only made about 700, and they were intended as a "collector's item," but they sold out before you could ask henna or real real-deal tattoos? A recent inquiry to Mattel to ask if it planned on bringing the Tokodaki doll back any time soon resulted in a "no plans at all," answer.
In terms of the bald-headed doll, Mattel has said in various reports that it "receives hundreds of requests for different Barbies and are always exploring new options."
Laguna Niguel resident and breast cancer survivor said, "What the heck will a cancer Barbie look like? No hair and one boob? Wow, I'm not sure what kind of message that would send.
"On a more serious note, it sounds to me like a cancer Barbie would suggest acceptance of the disease as an inevitable part of life ... and it's not. Most cancers (over 80 percent) are a result of environmental factors and a good portion of the rest are attributable to the toxic environment overloading the immune system so that it can't keep the cancer cells in check until finally, the disease can take hold; very, very few cases are genetic. It seems that such a child's toy might send a subliminal message that we should accept what's given us and not actively work towards minimizing the damage to our environment, both inside and outside the home."
Another Laguna Niguel resident, Suzi Dempsey said, "I thought it would be great if Mattel had a button on the Barbie to press to have the hair grow back and have cute hats, wigs and scarfs to go with it! A woman called me while I was volunteering at Susan G. Komen for The Cure and wanted to come in for a wig, but was afraid shaving her head would scare her little girls...this doll would be a great learning tool."
Executive Director of the Orange County Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Lisa Wolter said, "Anything that helps kids and families have open conversations about cancer is helpful.
"I have witnessed how confusing it can be for children to see their moms change and lose their hair," she continued. "While Komen does not have a position on the actual toy ‘Beautiful and Bald Barbie,’ having a doll that is bald and pretty and active could be very positive. When a mom and her kids come to our wig and resource room and mom is bald, and the kids help her try on wigs, the giggles are healing.
"We encourage families to discuss cancer because following a diagnosis, the entire family is affected," she said.
Komen Orange County hosts a group at its office called Kids Konnected, whose mission is to provide friendship, understanding, education and support for children who have a parent with cancer, or have lost a parent to cancer.
I personally think Mattel should step up to the plate. If it can produce a tattoo-touting Barbie, why not a bald-headed or cancer Barbie?
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