I’ve been a fan of the Bald Barbie idea since I first heard about it. I followed the debate that grew out of it and initially kept my voice of support to myself as I understand the voices of support and dissent. Prior to knowing much of anything about the movement, I assumed the person behind Bald Barbie was most likely the mother of a young girl with alopecia or cancer, and that she wanted that child to have a toy that would help her to identify as both bald and beautiful. I never would have imagined that it was a woman with incurable cancer who had made a world with Bald Barbies her mission. Not a cure, not more research funding, not more attention to her incurable form of cancer, but Bald Barbie. Why?
“To focus my energy on helping others rather than feeling sorry for myself,” is Jane Bingham’s answer, and a fabulous answer at that. I don’t know why I didn’t get that from the beginning because boy, do I get it!! I’ve cheated cancer, but nothing has helped me more to overcome the emotional baggage of hair loss than my mission to help others with hair loss feel better about themselves. And hair loss is definitely not incurable cancer, so I really do get what this Bald Barbie movement means to Jane. She watched her daughter struggle with the physically visible manifestations of her mom’s cancer treatment, and how hard that must have been. Many mothers of young children struggle with the impacts of their hair loss on their children as it makes it very hard to convince them that all is well when mom’s hair has fallen out.
Jane is clearly a great example for her children. Not only has she converted her movement into a non-profit organization, The Beautiful and Bald Movement, with a mission to provide free headwear to children who lose their hair, but her sons both shaved their heads into mohawks in an attempt to divert attention from their bald mom to themselves, which has developed into its own movement, Mohawks for Moms. I get it!! It feels good to help others and it’s contagious. I’m an even bigger fan of Bald Barbie now that I know Jane’s story.
Susan Beausang, 4women.com
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