Plenty of Barbie dolls have ended up bald after falling into the clutches of a nasty little brother, but now there's an online movement to have Mattel release a Barbie who's intentionally hairless. The hope is that the doll could make girls who've suffered hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania feel less self-conscious, and teach other children that there's no reason to gawk at people who've lost their hair. There doesn't seem to be a down side to making the doll, but for some reason Mattel is resisting.
In mid-December, friends Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham created the Facebook page, "Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let's see if we can get it made." Sypin's daughter lost her hair after being diagnosed with leukemia last year and Bingham went bald during her fight with lymphoma. According to CBS News, they were only hoping to get 500 likes, but now they have nearly 30,000.
So far Mattel hasn't responded to any questions from reporters, and Sypin tells MSNBC that the company sent her a form letter when she contacted them. "We got a generic letter that said they don't accept outside ideas and they're developing new ideas for 2012 but couldn't disclose that information right now," she says. It seems a bit strange that the company isn't jumping on the idea. Creating the doll would generate positive PR, especially if the company donates a portion of the proceeds to a cancer charity. The number of kids clamoring for a bald Barbie is probably small, considering that little girls' love of hair-brushing once drove the company to create Totally Hair Barbie, and it went on to become the best-selling Barbie doll ever. However, releasing a limited edition doll would look good, please some sick children, and probably become a hot item among collectors.
Some people have suggested that those who want a bald Barbie should just cut their doll's hair off, but as you can see from this photo posted to the Facebook page, that results in a doll with a head full of alien-like bumps. While Barbie's gotten a ton of flak over the years for having a comically unrealistic figure, Mattel has made some attempts to make the dolls more diverse. While once even a brunette Barbie seemed somewhat exotic, now there's a Barbie Basics line that features dolls with drastically different features, skin tones, and hairstyles. In the late '90s, the company even made Becky, Barbie's friend who uses a wheelchair. Though the doll sold well, it was eventually discontinued when children pointed out that her chair didn't fit in many of Barbie's play sets. Girls could use another doll that shows them they're still pretty even if they don't have a generic Barbie doll's blue eyes and long blonde hair.