A new Facebook campaign is requesting giant U.S. toymaker, Mattel, to mass-produce a bald Barbie for girls and women who’ve lost their hair due to cancer and other illnesses.
The campaign has generated more than 12,000 likes on the Facebook page, “Beautiful and Bald Barbie.”
Last year, Mattel created a one-of-a-kind bald Barbie for a 4-year-old suffering from cancer who lost her hair during chemotherapy treatment, according to CBS New York.
Now supporters want every child or woman experiencing hair loss from cancer treatment, pulling one's hair out, or other diseases that cause the immune system to attack hair follicles, to be able to have a bald Barbie doll to help boost their self- esteem. And if the toy company would agree to also making a headscarf or hairband, even better.
Supporters believe a bald Barbie would help lessen the stigma associated with hair loss, but chopping off Barbie’s lustrous locks to leave undesirable fringe just won’t do.
Organizers Jane Bingham and Beckie Sypin say the now viral movement just started out as a way to bring attention to childhood cancer and let Mattel know there is a lot of demand for a bald Barbie doll. They hope the company will acknowledge childhood cancer by dressing Barbie in yellow — not pink — the color of the childhood cancer awareness ribbon.
The two moms explain their goal this way: “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.”
The two friends are no strangers to cancer. Beckie Sypin’s 12-year-old daughter is undergoing chemo, and Jane Bingham is battling lymphoma.
“We were just a couple of moms with an idea,” said Beckie Sypin of starting the Facebook page. They never expected the campaign to “explode” into such overwhelming support.
When they put the page up on the social networking site on December 20, 2011, the women had hoped for 500 supporters by Christmas; they had 1,000. Before the New Year there was 5,000 and now, support for the bald Barbie is growing by the thousands every hour into a global phenomenon. The challenge now is to keep others from hijacking the movement and turning it into something “disrespectful,” Beckie Sypin said.
Tracey Kidd of Biloela, Australia is one such supporter.
"There's so much emphasis, especially on little girls, on their hair and how they (cancer kids) look," Tracey Kidd, whose 4-year-old daughter, Ruby, is a childhood cancer survivor. "It's important for them to feel good, especially in hospital," she tells The Sunday Mail.
But not all moms agree a bald Barbie is a good idea. The Amarillo Globe News reports some parents think a Cancer Barbie is “too tough a subject” for young girls. Others believe if people want to help young girls with cancer they should donate to cancer research rather than buying a bald doll.
Beckie Sypin said the group received a form letter from Mattel saying the company doesn’t accept outside ideas for their signature toy but acknowledged they are working on new Barbie lines for 2012. Media requests to Mattel for comment have been unanswered.
Lynette Summerill, an award-winning writer and scuba enthusiast lives in San Diego, CA with her husband and two beach loving dogs. In addition to writing about cancer-related issues for EmpowHER, her work has been seen in newspapers and magazines around the world.
Personal interview with Beckie Sytin. 11 January 2012.
Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let's see if we can get it made. Accessed 11, Jan. 2012.
Mattel Pressured to Produce a Cancer Barbie. Amarillo Globe News. Brittany Nunn. 10 January 2012. Accessed online:
Mattel Under Pressure to make bald Barbie. The Sunday Mail. 7 January, 2012. Accessed online 11 January 2012 at: http://www.news.com.au/world/mattel-under-pressure-to-make-bald-barbie/story-e6frfkyi-1226239001949#ixzz1jAjo9zl7
Reviewed January 11, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Add a Comment4 Comments
This is incredibly important and valuable not just in the movement to create bald barbies, but to improve and support the self esteem of barbies everywhere. While we are at it maybe we can ask Matel to create more realistic body proportions?
My sister and I both grew up with Barbies. The difference was she cut their hair and colored it with markers. She identified with them better this way.
This not something that is too tough for our youth to handle. Our young people are inundated with media that portrays women and young girls in a negative, artificial light. I think Matel could benefit from a project like this, but they are going to need more pressure from bald barbie supporters if this movement is going to go any further.
I think what the organizers have done is build a foundation for action. What they need to do next is comb through the thousands of supports that have signed on, and find leaders that are willing to do more. Ultimately they need to request meetings with Matel executives, or who ever is over the department that has creative control over the development of Barbie. This is absolutely possible given the traction that this movement has gotten already. It has potential to become a campaign.
Once they identify who they can have power over at Matel, they need to mobilize their supporters to hold community forums, invite elected officials and media. Get even more recognition of their efforts. Hold phone banks so that once Matel is tired of all the phone calls and media, they will agree to a meeting!
I am sure that once they take the next steps in Organizing, this will blow up even more. I look forward to hearing more about it as it develops :)January 12, 2012 - 9:47am
I was diagnosed with breast cancer October 2011 and had a bilateral mastectomy November 2011 - decided not to have implants due to all the negative articles I read...... "my girls" are now in heaven......... and I am cancer free.....celebrating life every day with a positive attitude...God gave me a test, it made me stronger.......Maria-Teresa P Amenabar, Largo, FloridaJanuary 12, 2012 - 9:30am
Would appreciate signatures on this petition asking Mattel to produce Bald & Beautiful Barbie. Please sign and share. Your support is extremely appreciated!
https://www.change.org/petitions/research-and-development-begin-production-on-beautiful-bald-barbie-dollJanuary 11, 2012 - 6:33pm
I LOVE this idea! I urge everyone to "Like" the Facebook page and voice their opinion, here: http://www.facebook.com/BeautifulandBaldBarbie?ref=tsJanuary 11, 2012 - 6:29pm