After a Facebook campaign calling for a bald version of Barbie for children who have lost their hair as a result of cancer treatment, Mattel has heeded the social media clamor and announced that it will create a bald fashion doll that the company is calling the "bald friend of Barbie.".
According to a statement from Mattel spokesman Alan Hilowitz,
These dolls, which will be a friend of Barbie, will be distributed exclusively to children's hospitals and other hospitals treating children with cancer throughout the U.S. and Canada, directly reaching girls who are most affected by hair loss.
The new dolls will probably boast just as exaggerated proportions and piercing blue eyes as the maned Barbie, and will come with "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," so it can be like Barbie's friend isn't even bald at all, which seems to defeat the whole point of making a bald doll specifically to help bring some level of normalcy to a kid enduring cancer treatment.
Mattel didn't initially say whether it would make the bald dolls back in January after Beckie Spyin and Jane Bingham started the bald Barbie Facebook page, garnering tens of thousands of likes for their cause. Bingham's daughter watched her mother lose her hair while she underwent treatment for non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In a blog post, Bingham wrote, "My daughter had some difficulty accepting me going from a long-haired blonde to a bald woman," adding that creating a bald barbie would help children cope with such startling hair loss.
According to Spyin, Mattel's initial response to the push for a bald doll was simply that the company doesn't accept ideas from outsiders. Eventually, though, it came around, deciding finally not to sell the dolls retail, but rather "more directly and immediately get these into the hands of children who can most benefit from a play experience with these dolls." Despite Mattel's uneven record of making Barbie and her cadre of Malibu beach buddies more "diverse," the new doll might actually have the effect that Spyin and Bingham hoped for if it helps children more easily cope with a life-changing ailment.
image via Facebook