Female cancer victims and cancer survivors in the United States were crushed to hear the toy company Mattel is refusing to make a cancer tribute Barbie. The women hoped to have a doll made without hair that still looked beautiful despite losing her long, luscious locks to radiation and chemotherapy. Not something to be taken lightly, the image of a woman needing to have hair to be pretty has been tied with ideas and per-conceived notions of beauty. A doll, dressed lovingly in pink to promote cancer awareness and celebrate survivors could have been a huge help to women and little girls, not to mention a huge marketing coup for the company. So, why have they refused to stand up and fight cancer? Their answer seems crazy.
In a bold move that may be seen as less than humanitarian, Mattel toy company has responded to numerous requests from cancer survivors to create a bald Barbie. They have issued a form letter saying the company does not accept solicitations for new ideas, reported Komo News. Seriously? Really? The toy company known for creating dolls that make every woman know what it means to be a thin and pretty career girl with everything is refusing to make a doll that will help little girls and women stuck with cancer know that they are still real beauties (even if they have lost their hair after going through traumatizing radiation and chemotherapy medical procedures and are fighting cancer heroically).
The traditional Barbie doll, which was introduced with long, flowing locks back in 1959, has become a beauty icon in American culture. The idea of having pretty hair tied with being beautiful is an impossible ideal to reach for female cancer victims. So, activists asked the toy company to consider making a beautiful doll that was battling cancer — something that could be given as a special gift to young girls and women who had lost their hair while going through radiation and chemotherapy. Even websites like Mashable are starting to cover the humanitarian story.
The move began as a Facebook page titled “Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made” sometime just before Christmas. And since then, the page has garnered over 15,000 fans. As one of the iconic models for young women this century, and one of the most popular toys of all time worldwide, fans of the movement believe a bald Barbie would help draw much needed attention (and dollars) to research for a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, and many other cancers.
Friends Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham, who live on opposite coasts but have both been affected by the disease, hatched the idea for the social media movement because Barbie is an influential children’s toy.
Bingham has lost her hair due to chemotherapy treatments to treat lymphoma. Sypin’s 12-year-old daughter, Kin Inich, also lost her hair this year in her own battle to treat leukemia.
But the pair who started the movement have said they’re not at all interested in protesting Mattel or Barbie, said CBS. They simply want to spark awareness of a deadly disease on the verge of a possible cure. With so many star celebrities, like Oprah, P. Diddy, Ellen DeGeneres, and hundreds more providing moral and personal support to find a cure for cancer, it seems a move by Mattel to use Barbie to spread the word would be in the company’s best interest.
In response to the movement, people commenting on the Facebook page have suggested the pair start a campaign for a bald G. I. Joe as well, since obviously cancer is not restricted to a single gender. Hasbro, the maker of G. I. Joe has not responded to requests for comments.
We here at GCN think two such iconic dolls would inspire young kids to consider the impact cancer has on people of all ages, all over the world, and we think it’s a fantastic idea. Some may say the subject is too serious for children, but humanitarian charities like Kids Cancer Inc., St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Children’s Cancer Research Fund would beg to disagree.
So, can’t Mattel just Have a Heart? At the very least they ought to re-evaluate what they are teaching young children about what it means to be a hero or a real beauty.