Filed under Opinion

Barbie Doll Goes Bald in Support of Cancer

Barbie is quite the accomplished doll. She has been a doctor, astronaut, engineer, rock star, babysitter, racecar driver, even president, and the list goes on and on. Now, Mattel announced on Tuesday, March 27 that there will be a new addition to the Barbie family: the “Bald Friend of Barbie.”

“These dolls, which will be friends of Barbie, will be distributed exclusively to children’s hospitals and other hospitals treating children with cancer throughout the U.S. and Canada, directly reaching the girls who are most affected by hair loss,” Mattel Company spokesman Alan Hilowitz said in a statement.

Mattel made the announcement in response to a Facebook campaign, “Bald and Beautiful Barbie! Let’s see if we can make it,” urging Mattel to develop a form of its famous and well-known Barbie doll that would replace Barbie’s long blond locks with a bare bald head. As of today, the page has over 158,000 “likes”.

Barbie is a large part in young girls’ childhoods and is an iconic doll that has been around for over 60 years. Barbie serves as a role model for girls who are still too young for the stars of the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon or other celebrities. In 1959 Barbie created a long, blonde-haired doll, that became the generic and stereotypical “beautiful” girl.

Yet, in a culture where girls are encouraged to believe they are beautiful exactly the way they are, a large group of kids were left out. Barbie-maker Mattel accommodated for all sorts of looks and conditions, such as different color hair and skin, different occupations, different life stages and even Barbies in wheelchairs. However, the thousands of girls affected by hair loss were left out of Mattel’s consideration. It is important that all girls, especially those affected by something so physically altering, feel beautiful. This is why the “Bald Friend of Barbie” is important.

“For a long time, young girls have looked to Barbie as a model or symbol of health, fashion and attractiveness,” psychology teacher Brian Catt said. “This version of one of Barbie’s friends allows children to have a ‘new normal’ to identify with and help them realize they are, symbolically at least, not alone.”

This doll is not insensitive or unnecessary; in fact, it is long overdue. As a girl, hair becomes a part of one’s identity. A mere haircut too many inches too short can send some girls into tears. So, for the girls who have no hair at all, this doll can boost self-confidence and shed some light on an extremely scary and painful situation.

“We hope it gets the message out that being bald is beautiful and is no big deal. There is no need to cover up,” Beautiful and Bald Barbie co-founder Beckie Sypin told ABC News.

Thankfully, Mattel sees that bald is beautiful and these dolls will make a positive impact in these girls lives. The dolls also come with scarves, bandanas, and wigs, making them as life-like and relatable as they can be.

Mattel does not plan to sell their dolls in stores, but will distribute them directly to children in hospitals and make a donation to a cancer research foundation. These dolls will help make girls whose lives have been affected by hair loss feel beautiful.

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