Push to make Barbie bald

Laura Parr

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Many girls are known to cut off their Barbie doll’s long locks, but now there is a campaign to make a Barbie without hair altogether.

A Facebook group titled “Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made” was started just before Christmas.

The women behind the page, Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham, have both been affected by cancer – Bingham herself and Sypin’s 12 year-old daughter having both lost their hair due to chemotherapy treatment.

The page is urging US toymaker Mattel to mass-produce a bald Barbie for girls and women who have lost their hair due to cancer and other illnesses as a way to boost their self-esteem.

Those supporting the cause believe that the move would help lessen the stigma associated with hair loss, and the Facebook page has already received over 15 000 likes, despite the creators originally hoping for only 500 supporters.

“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,” Bingham and Sypin wrote on the page.

Tracy Kidd from Australia has a four-year-old daughter Ruby - a survivor of childhood cancer. She believes that a bald Barbie would help boost the confidence of young girls suffering from the disease.

“There’s so much emphasis. Especially on little girls, on their hair and how they (children with cancer) look… It’s important for them to feel good, especially in hospital,” Kidd told The Sunday Mail.

One fan on the Facebook page wrote: “If they are making dolls that are inspiring young girls with careers then why not make a doll that would inspire young girls who are dealing with Cancer.”

But the idea has also received negative response. The Amarillo Globe News reported that some parents thought a cancer Barbie was “too tough a subject” with young girls, while others said that people should donate to cancer research rather than buying a bald doll if they wanted to help the cause.

Some have also said that those who want the doll should just shave their Barbie doll’s hair. Bingham posted a photo doing just that, and showed the patchy result.

Sypin said that they were not demanding for Mattel to do anything, but rather were “just hoping somebody sees this and can help us make it happen.”

Bingham and Sypin have also started an accompanying Facebook page “Bald G.I. Joe Movement” after some suggested that the movement be extended to boys with the Hasbro Inc. doll.

Mattel had previously created a one-of-a-kind bald Barbie for a 4-year-old who had lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment, but has responded to the latest campaign saying that Mattel doesn’t accept ideas from outside sources. They did however acknowledge that they are working on new Barbie lines for 2012.

Many hope that if Mattel were to agree to make the Barbie, they would also donate some of the proceeds to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital.

Seven-year-old Texan girl Kaylee Rider was also a large part of the inspiration behind the campaign. She is bald from battling cancer for the second time, and her mother believes that the Barbie would show young girls that they can still be beautiful, even if they’re bald.

“It lets kids know that it’s OK to be bald and that you’re beautiful even though you don’t have any hair. I think it’s a wonderful idea.”

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