New “Bald and Beautiful” Barbie to inspire children
Barbie has always had a few trademark attributes. The tiny waist, bright smile, and flowing gold tresses have always been synonymous with the doll, but a first is about to happen for the playmate of girls across the world. In response to a petition that was started on Facebook by two moms, Mattel has begun production on a new, bald Barbie that looses the locks in order to remind young girls that are fighting cancer, Alopecia, Trichotillmania that they don’t need their hair to be beautiful.
Jane Bingham and Rebecca Sypin met in an online pregnancy chat room, but they truly became connected when Sypin’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia and Bingham with lymphoma. As a result they both lost their hair during treatments. During the experience the moms realized, girls fighting disease don’t have a role model to look up to and remind them that it’s not hair that makes you beautiful. According to Bingham the message that the doll is supposed to convey is that “they’re not dependent on their hair for their self-worth and their beauty. Women and children, it’s looked down upon that you would go out without your hair. … We want to stop the shame and stigma that children and women deal with having hair loss.”
This lead to the formation of a Facebook group, Bald and Beautiful Barbie! It has tapped into a large audience of people who are affected by cancer with over 157,500 likes and with nearly 35,000 signatures on the petition at Change.org they have succeeded in convincing Mattel to create the doll. It was a rough few months of persuading because Mattel does not usually accept ideas from outside their own company, but with the growing media attention and the increased support Mattel has finally agreed. Alan Hilowitz, the Mattel company spokesman, told Healthpop that the new doll will be a friend of Barbie and she will have accessories such as wigs, scarves, and hats for a new version of traditional Barbie fashion.
Instead of selling the dolls for profit in stores, Mattel plans on donating them to hospitals and children who would benefit from them most. Bingham has bigger plans though and hopes that Mattel will decide to sell them at retailers, then donate the profits to organizations for childhood cancer research and treatment. The idea certainly has support as fans offer to buy “boat loads” of them for family members and friends who have fought or are fighting illness if the doll does hit stores.