Barbie is best known for her curvy figure and long blond hair — but Mattel plans to produce a doll that’s a dramatic departure from that classic image.
This Barbie will be bald. Brats and MOXIE dolls are introducing bald dolls as well.
Mattel decided to make the doll after a campaign by Jane Bingham, a survivor of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in Philadelphia. She started a Facebook group with her friend called “Beautiful and Bald Barbie.” Since January, I stumbled upon that facebook group and have since liked the page and kept up with the updates. Jane wanted Mattel to create a doll for kids who have cancer or have lost their hair for medical reasons.
This image of a bald Barbie was created for Jane Bingham’s “Beautiful and Bald Barbie” campaign on Facebook. It was what caught my eye, along with the hundreds of photos of women who were bald and proud of it.
I spoke to a friend lately who would be co-organizing what could be APAC’s first and largest barbie doll exhibition. Let’s hope it results in a tie up to benefit any foundation supporting cancer research or the likes.
“One of the major reasons was to reduce the stigma for women and children who have hair loss — being not accepted to be able to go out in public without something covering their head, whether it be a wig or a scarf or that sort of thing,” Bingham says. “Their beauty and their self-worth is not dependent upon their hair.”
Barbie Is An ‘Icon Of Beauty’
Bingham says she was drawn to Mattel, in part, because the company made a one-of-a-kind bald Barbie for a girl in New York City who lost her hair to chemotherapy.
This morning, I was blogsurfing and stumbled upon this. By Linnea a cancer survivor back in 2007 or so.
“From the new photos you can see that Barbie has gained weight considerably, predominantly in the hips, ass and pouch area. She is sporting a paper “modesty vest” and two drains and a gauze wrap tube-top bandage. She also has her lymphedema wrap, IV drip, port, and has had some blood work done. Her toe nails and finger nails are unfortunately turning black and there is some concern that she may loose a nail or two. She is leery of going to far away from the toilet, can’t remember if she took her pills today and is depressed that she doesn’t have ovaries and can’t have a baby. She also found out that Ken cheated on her with a lady cop and that he’s a coke head. Her path report is looking OK but the bills are piling up and she is too sick to work. Hot flashes are keeping her up all night and she wonders if she should call her old flame GI Joe when he comes home on leave from Iraq- but will he still want her? Her sex drive is gone, she’s scarred-up and bald and twenty pounds over weight. Her body hurts, she feels as if she is loosing her mind, she doesn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. Yelled at Skipper for asking her if she wanted to go the Town House this weekend for a party, then cried afterwards. Drove pink Corvette to Jack in the Box for drive through burgers and a chocolate shake for dinner. Staying in tonight and watching trashy movies by self. Thank goodness she has a cat and the YSC for support.”
taken from this site.
The barbie made by Linnea was then auctioned on Ebay. Proceeds were then used by Linnea Johnston, to help get her to the 7th Annual Conference for Young Women Affected by Breast Cancer, which is certainly a worthy cause! I wonder who owns this barbie today?
Here are the wonderful pictures of the doll by Linnea
In an interview:
“Barbie [is] the icon of beauty in the toy industry — she’s known all over the world,” she says.
The main purpose of the doll is to make female baldness more acceptable, Bingham says.
“I don’t think it will ever make it really normal, but to be accepted and to be seen as not scary or strange,” she says. “That’s what really we want to show — that children and women should not feel ashamed and have to cover up their heads.”
An Effort To Reduce Stigma
Bingham was inspired to start the campaign after she lost her own hair during chemotherapy last year. She says she could handle it as an adult but realized children might have a harder time with it.
“I felt such a passion about reducing this stigma and that I shouldn’t be ashamed,” she says. “I mean, I was going through a major fight in my life. And [the bald head] is almost like a symbol of the fight that I was going through.”
After the Facebook campaign, Mattel announced it would make a few of the dolls and donate them to kids experiencing hair loss in cancer wards and hospitals. And, as the company explained in a statement, “We made the decision not to sell these dolls at retail stores, but rather get the dolls directly into the hands of children who can most benefit from the unique experience.”
Bingham says she is still fighting to get the dolls sold in stores. “A big reason that I even started this, I thought of all the children who have a family member who are going through hair loss and how many children would benefit from this,” she says. “And as of right now, none of those children would have an opportunity to have one of these dolls.”
In the meantime, another toymaker, MGA Entertainment, says it plans to debut bald versions of Bratz and Moxie Girlz this summer.
Kudos to Jane for her courage and spirit!