Have you been following the Bald Barbie movement?
Here’s the short version:
Two moms started a Facebook campaign called Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made, to basically give young girls undergoing chemotherapy (or with Alopecia or Trichotillomania) a sense of normalcy and acceptance. Also for young girls coping with a newly bald family member or friend. They chose Barbie because she’s one of the most iconic dolls of all time, and even included a petition for GI Joe as well through Change.org.
And people listened.
The group (which has evolved into a loving cancer support page) quickly caught the attention of national media outlets, garnering over 150,000 Facebook fans. Yet Mattel wouldn’t budge.
A few weeks after Mattel’s fiercest competitor, MGA (of Bratz and Moxie Girlz fame), announced that they are coming out with a line of bald dolls, Mattel made the highly anticipated announcement yesterday on their Facebook page:
Play is vital for children, especially during difficult times. We are pleased to share with our community that next year we will be producing a fashion doll, that will be a friend of Barbie, which will include wigs, hats, scarves and other fashion accessories to provide girls with a traditional fashion play experience. For those girls who choose, the wigs and head coverings can be interchanged or completely removed. We will work with our longstanding partner, the Children’s Hospital Association, to donate and distribute the dolls exclusively to children’s hospitals directly reaching girls who are most affected by hair loss. A limited number of dolls and monetary donations will also be made to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
Through a thoughtful approach, 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 play experience, demonstrating Mattel’s ongoing commitment to encourage play as a respite for children in the hospital and to bring joy to children who need it most. We appreciate the conversation around this issue, and are interested to hear what you think!
Although these bald Barbie dolls won’t be sold on the shelves, they’ll be given to the little girls who need them most. And that’s a victory — not only for children with cancer, and not just to counteract the associated stigma, but for the power of moms in social media. They set out to get a Barbie made, and Mattel heard them.
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