There is a lobbying campaign that is asking toy maker Mattel to create a new type of doll. The would like to see a Barbie doll that is completely bald. This doll could help raise the self-esteem of girls who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy, (or for other medical reasons).
Lots of little girls, (and some little boys), play with Barbie dolls. Since the doll was first created, Barbie has been considered to be an example of what it means to be beautiful. Sure, Barbie’s proportions are not something that match up to what real women actually look like. But, even so, I think most little girls look at Barbie’s pretty face, and her long, luxurious hair, and see beauty.
Ask any group of kids to describe for you what a pretty woman, or pretty girl, looks like. Answers will vary slightly, but one thing will be clear. Our society feels that an important part of what makes a female, of any age, beautiful, is her hair. Losing one’s hair can be an extremely traumatic experience for women, and especially so for little girls.
Right now, there is a group who wants Mattel, (the company that makes the Barbie dolls), to create a different kind of Barbie. They want to see a “Bald and Beautiful” Barbie. More than 100,000 people have clicked “like” on the Facebook page of this group. The page was created by a group of women who had children who were dealing with baldness, (or who were dealing with it themselves), due to going through the process of chemotherapy.
According to the “Info” tab on that Facebook page:
“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”.
Mattel has issued a statement that reads, (in part):
“Mattel appreciates and respects the passion that has been built up for the request for a bald Barbie doll. As you might imagine, we receive hundreds of passionate requests for various dolls to be added to our collection. We take all of them seriously, and are constantly exploring new and different dolls to be added to our line”.
To me, this doesn’t sound like a “no”, but it also doesn’t sound like a “yes, we will make this doll”. It has been said that a bald Barbie could help create a dialogue about why a little girl has lost her hair. It might promote more acceptance of kids who have suffered from hair loss, or it could help little girls to talk about how they feel about their mother’s hair loss. It could also help little girls who lost their hair from chemotherapy to feel a little bit better about their new look.
Image by Pimkie on Flickr