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Do We Really Need a Bald Barbie?

It was only a matter of time…

I’ve never been a Barbie kind of gal for many reasons. I never had one. The primary reason being one of my older sisters got a Barbie for Christmas one year, so therefore she had a claim on the Barbie brand. “Barbie land” for me was off limits. Why I have no idea. I guess it was the pecking order of things at my house. Me, I received a Tammy doll that same year.

Never heard of the Tammy doll?

That’s not too surprising. I guess Tammy didn’t catch on like Barbie. Could it be because Tammy looked more realistic, more ordinary, more normal?

Tammy had a noticeably (yes, my sister and I definitely noticed) thicker figure, smaller breasts and larger feet. She also “wore” more sensible clothing. Like Barbie, she too had a younger sister, but interestingly enough, she did not have a boyfriend like Barbie’s Ken. Hmm…

Barbie on the other hand, well we’re all familiar with Barbie and her fine attributes.

But I’d like to stress here, I’m not opposed to Barbie dolls. If they are/were your or your child’s forte, that’s fine with me. It really is.

And for the record, I’d also like to mention I do have a daughter. She never was into dolls period. Never wanted a Barbie. Never received a Barbie.

It’s entirely possible for girls to survive, grow up and turn out just fine without ever owning a Barbie!

Recently there has been a lot of buzz about Mattel possibly mass producing a Cancer Bald Barbie. There has even been a Facebook petition drive going on to persuade Mattel to do so. So far Mattel has resisted, stating they don’t generally send unsolicited toy ideas to their toy designers. In this case, I think Mattel is doing the right thing by not proceeding.

After visiting one of the Bald Barbie Facebook pages, (yes, there are several) I guess I must be in the minority on this one, but here goes…

The mission as stated on their Facebook page is as follows:

“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.”

Although I believe those hopping onto the “Bald Barbie bandwagon” do have the best intentions, I still can’t quite get behind the idea of a bald cancer Barbie and I’m not even entirely sure why not. I do know I don’t like the mixed messages such a doll might give.

Such as?

Primarily, because there’s nothing “normal” about having cancer, especially when you’re a child, and no doll, bald or otherwise is going to change that fact. It doesn’t matter how many bald dolls you surround a child with, that child will still know she is not “normal.”

And choosing Barbie as a “normal” role model seems pretty ridiculous to me somehow.

Is Barbie the best choice here?

For example, I would feel a lot more comfortable with this whole idea if instead of Barbie, her little sister Skipper was chosen to be the bald cancer doll in the Barbie line-up. That’s an idea I could maybe get behind.

A child-like doll for a childhood illness makes way more sense to me. Such a doll would also make the statement that children do indeed get cancer.

Is anyone listening?

In addition to Bald Barbie, there is a “Brave GI Joe” cancer doll idea also being tossed around.

Why does the boy cancer doll get to be called brave?

Can’t Bald Barbie be brave too?

Why is the female version of this plan primarily focused on hair and outer beauty?

Doesn’t that bother others?

It bothers me.

In addition, call me cynical, but in my view this is also another example of the disease of cancer potentially being turned into yet another way to make a buck. It makes me uncomfortable to see profits being made directly from selling cancer merchandise, especially toys.

The cancer industry is alive and well, but in toyland?

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before bald Barbie makes her appearance on store shelves.

People will undoubtedly find Bald Barbie packaged up in a beautifully adorned box with cancer ribbons, probably gold ones because gold ones represent childhood cancer. Parents and others will dig into their pockets and buy Bald Barbie. On top of “helping little girls with cancer to feel beautiful,” they will also have made their cancer donations. They will have accomplished two good deeds in one.

Sounds good on the surface doesn’t it?

But who is really going to benefit?

Is the little girl who has cancer really going to feel more normal and beautiful by playing with Bald Barbie? Is this really a doll’s job? Even more importantly, is Bald Barbie going to bring the little girl with cancer any closer to a cure?

I’ve never had a child with cancer, but blogger Mary Tyler Mom has experienced this heart-ache and she agrees with me. Another who also agrees is A.S. Becker, blogger from the American Cancer Society’s Media Relations Team, who states in his recent post that the Bald Barbie demand is an over-reach. Their two posts are well worth a look.

In my opinion, a child with cancer does not need a token bald doll. In my opinion, what a child with cancer does need is less harsh cancer treatment options. That child needs hope for a normal life span. That child needs a cure. Her family may be in dire financial straits. They may or may not have medical insurance. They may have huge travel, living and medical expenses. They may have to take time away from work. They may need help caring for other children in the family. They may need psychological counseling. The list of things they may need is endless.

Wouldn’t it make more sense for Mattel (or anyone) to give or keep giving directly to a cancer research organization or other charities that provide direct help to those affected by childhood cancers?

Finally, do you really believe Mattel would donate a significant amount of any profits it might make from Bald Barbie to cancer facilities or cancer research?

Again, call me skeptical, but I don’t believe they would.

And even if “painted gold,” it still feels like more “pinkwashing” of cancer to me.

I happen to believe little girls (and boys) with cancer deserve more.

Good intentions will not help children with cancer lead longer lives. Better treatments and cures will do that.

It’s our responsibility to see they get both.

Like always, it’s about choice.

As for me, I say no to bald Barbie.

What about you?

Do you believe a Bald Barbie is a good idea? Why or why not?

Are you troubled by mixed messages Bald Barbie might give?

Just wondering, have you ever heard of the Tammy doll?

 

76 thoughts on “Do We Really Need a Bald Barbie?

  1. Thank you for this articulate and well reasoned post. You’ve put your finger on what’s been bothering me about bald Barbie. In addition, I’m a bit squeamish about any mass-produced, plastic product being used to raise cancer awareness, as so many known carcinogens go into the making of these products.

    1. Laurie, You know I wasn’t even thinking about the plastic angle. This whole thing just doesn’t sit quite right with me. I tried to talk myself into Bald Barbie being a good idea, but so far to no avail. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Nancy,

    This is a brilliant post about a hot-button topic for me. You raise excellent points, and I agree: no freakin’ bald Barbie. Children need to be cured and to have their physical and emotional pain alleviated. Barbie sexualizes girls way before their time. And you are right: GI Joe gets to be called Brave. For Barbie, it’s all about being beautiful, even hairless. As we both know, cancer isn’t simply looking beautiful while enduring hellish treatments. Toy makers should not have a monopoly on illness.
    By the way, my mom gave my daughter her first Barbie, and I was horrified. Nothing I can do at this point, just trying to give the child a good positive self-image.

    1. Beth, Well thanks for calling my post brilliant. I’m not sure it’s that, but it is an attempt to express how I feel and to me something here just feels off. Interesting that your daughter received her first Barbie. I’m not anti-Barbie. If little girls like them, that’s fine with me. I do have a problem with Bald Barbie though for all the reasons I stated. And more that I can’t seem to state…Thanks for commenting. Does your mom know how you feel about Barbie? Just curious…

  3. Nancy:
    I have to agree with you here. After bald Barbie, what’s next—mastectomy Barbie? double mastectomy Barbie?
    For the record I grew up playing with a little girl Ginny doll. I never heard of a Tammy doll, but I’m originally from upstate NY! We had Jan and Jill dolls as the adult dolls, although I remember the Jill doll was blonde, so we made her be the aunt who worked and had the glamorous life, while the brunette Jan doll was the solid Mom figure.

    1. Ginny, Good Lord, I never thought about those possibilities! You raise a valid point. Where does one draw the line? I don’t have the answers, just my opinions. Thanks for sharing yours. A little Ginny doll. How nice. Interesting that you had the blonde doll living the glamorous life and the brunette was the ‘solid mom figure.’ Wonder what that means??

  4. Ahhh, Nancy…

    Thank you for taking a moment to blog about this nonsense. I didn’t get how a BALD WOMAN translates to a child with cancer. Then, I see Barbie as The Ultimate Perfect Life doll so if we are going to shave her head, wouldn’t it be a good idea to remove those disproportionately sized breasts. I mean seriously. As long as we are turning her into “Look at what Barbie can do, you can too.” Ya know?

    As for the money…. Oh yes, I am DOWN WITH THAT. The only way I support any (very large, in particular) company doing anything that makes money is if they turn over ALL the money (not “a portion of the net proceeds”) to a WORTHY organization ….. not one that is “raising awareness” but one that is reaching into the community to help ordinary people struggling under the burden of extraordinary medical issues OR, for RESEARCH.

    Well done, my dear friend… well done!

    xoxox
    AnneMarie

    1. Ann Marie, As always you give your opinions honestly and candidly! I appreciate that very much as I’m never in doubt where you stand! Thanks for adding your thoughts to this Barbie discussion. And I so agree with you about the money part.

  5. Barbie isn’t normal to begin with. So, I’d have to say that a Bald Barbie is not a good idea.

    I too did not have Barbie dolls when I was a child. One day, many years later into adulthood, I asked my mother about it. Basically her reasoning was the same, that Barbie was not a normal doll.

    I did have a doll with a rotating scalp so I could change her hair to blonde or brunette.

    Troubled by mixed messages Bald Barbie might give? Yes. I’m troubled now by the messages Barbie gives. Barbie is a skank and a hoochie momma.

    1. Pink Birdie, A doll with a rotating scalp! ha! One of my sisters had a doll with hair that you could make grow longer and likewise shorter. What is it with the dolls and hair anyway?? No wonder we obsess about hair. Thanks for sharing your opinions.

    2. The doll with the color change scalp was Tuesday Taylor, if she was Barbie size. If she was a larger doll, that would be Tiffany Taylor…they were made by Ideal from the mid 1970’s. I have both. ( I’m a vintage doll collector.)

  6. I have never seen or heard of a “Tammy” doll. I loved barbies as a kid, so did my sister, and so do her daughters. My sister’s oldest dtr only 4 yrs of age does NOT want a skipper doll, at all…Barbie only. Thought the same thing, when I was having this discussion with her the other day…i thought it should be a skipper/skip doll.
    And I too care about what is going into mattels pockets. If children with cancer or other reasons for hair loss, and there parents want to get one, I think they should be free….hahaha, only in my world…

    I am definitely mixed about this. If they make this thing, then they should also make a health prevention barbie, as The Glamorganic Goddess recently posted…’a barbie with green juice’…
    Again think it should be available online only….not on the store shelves. Many mommies would have some major explaining to do…why are there all these ‘bald’ barbies??

    Again, I don’t know…I know I recently watched the “Education of Dee Dee Ricks” and her children always wanted her to have her wig on; she would even ask them if she could take it off, and if she did, they would tell her to put it back on. They were scared.

    So I lied, said I wasn’t going to say anything, and I am.

    Final Thought: If these children are diagnosed with cancer, love Barbie, then they should already have Barbies’ right??
    Why don’t they just cut and shave their Barbies hair/head. That is what I did with mine when I was young. I used to call them “sineados'” for Sinead O’Conner….Oh, how my mom got such a laugh when she found all of the hair years later…yes I kept the hair in a different box!

    So when I finally gave my barbies to my neighbor she had half with hair and the rest were “sineados”

    1. Laura, Yes, I don’t think too many girls got Tammy dolls. I think she was supposed to be Ideal toys competition for Barbie, but Tammy never really took off. I think a Skipper doll would be a much better idea between the two and I don’t think the kids should necessarily be the ones to decide this. If Mattel chose Skipper and called her brave or something similar, I could maybe get on board, maybe. I think your idea of shaving Barbie’s head is pretty good if a family chooses to go that route to help the child cope. But then of course, as you said, that’s permanent. Anyway, thanks for not keeping quiet. I love getting your thoughts, so thank you!

  7. GREAT post, Nancy. Thank you so much for your thoughtful analysis – for taking time to really take a look at this issue in a reasoned way, for delving below the surface.
    Personally, I blame Barbie in part for my early lack of self-esteem after my breasts and legs failed to grow as large and long as hers. Wish I’d had a Tammy.
    Glad I have a Nancy in my life!
    XO, Lor

  8. Great post, lots to think about.

    I never had a Barbie. Had a Brenda Starr, similar body but cool red hair and a Betsy McCall – 14″ doll with a child like body.

    I never liked Barbie, actually, thought her feet looked stupid (open toe shoes). And if I had little girl, I would encourage her to have something other than Barbie.

    But anyway, I think the bald Barbie is just that, a bald doll with the same even skin, perky breasts and nonexistent hips. Maybe little girls will identify, but Barbie doesn’t look any worse for wear. ChemoBarbie needs to be more realistic – Where’s the steroid-bloated bald Barbie with flushed face, and little eyes because her face is swollen, and some strategically placed puffy spots.

    And why focus on hair loss anyway? Is a doll that loses her hair but remains perfectly made up really an adequate representation of cancer to a child? I mean, even though we lose our hair, we’re still beautiful, but we do change.

    Thanks for letting me rant.

    1. 3laine, I say, rant away! That’s what we’re here for, right? I’ve never heard of a Brenda Starr doll. Betsy McCall, I have heard of her. It’s funny you mentioned Barbie’s feet because they always really bothered me too. They were just so darn tiny. Tammy definitely had way more sensible feet! Go figure…

  9. I had not heard of BB (Bald Barbie) before reading this fabulous post. I think it is an odd doll to give to a child — how is a bald adult Barbie relatable to a child dealing with one of the 3 afflictions mentioned? This is all so puzzling.

    That got me wondering if Breast Cancer Barbie had been created yet. Sure enough, Mattel was ahead of me on that one. (You can find her on Amazon.) OY!

    1. Renn, Puzzling, that’s a very good word for all this. Thank you. Breast Cancer Barbie, yes I think I’ve seen her around. “OY” for sure! Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  10. Thanks Nancy for this excellent post. I’d just heard about this bald Barbie and I completely agree with you here. It troubles me also that this ‘acceptance’ of baldness, or at least making it mainstream, is part of the normalising of cancer. That it’s just part of life and we have to accept it. That should not be the case. We should be working to prevent and eradicate cancer, and the harsh treatments. This bald doll doesn’t fit with my agenda on cancer.

    I never had a Barbie, although they were popular in the UK. I had an ‘Action Girl’ (although her opposing doll was called ‘Action Man’ – discuss!), and she had fully jointed ankles, knees etc… so could actually do more than just wear high heels! I loved her and made her a whole wardrobe, including bras and knickers!

    1. Being Sarah, This bald Barbie doll doesn’t fit with your agenda, nor does it fit with mine. More importantly, it doesn’t fit with finding better treatments and cures for childhood cancers either in my opinion. And that should be the priority on everyone’s agenda here. Thanks for commenting. And your “Action Girl” sounds interesting and way more fun. I guess you were always a girl of many talents – sewing doll wardrobes – that’s impressive! Thanks for commenting.

  11. Hi Nancy,
    You beat me to it. I was going to write about a bald Barbie. I am opposed to a bald Barbie the same way I was opposed to dolls that pee, poop and vomit. What’s next Chemo Barbie? It seems any more we are becoming devoid of common sense. Do we really need to have a doll with life threatening health conditions to communicate with our children? If we have a bald Barbie do we have a one testicle Ken Doll?
    Instead of sitting by a pool they can both be hooked up to an IV having a Chemo infusion, Barbie can be made with sunken eyes blotchy skin..A not so beautiful Barbie!! ……Enough already, don’t let me get started at the absurdity..
    Love Alli……x

  12. I thought of it as for kids whose parents had cancer, not as much for kids with cancer. And I thought you could make a Bald Barbie with a razor pretty easily.

    A Bald Barbie with stitches and lymphedema and bruises, though, might not catch on.

    Thanks for the great take!

    1. Jen, The razor method seems pretty reasonable if a family wants to go that route. I don’t know, when I see the numbers on the facebook pages growing, I tend to think the whole thing has turned into something else completely – and it’s not about cures/better treatments for children suffering with cancer.

  13. Nancy, bless you for taking this on. I’ve really been puzzled at the petition myself, for all the reasons you have stated. Like you, manufacturing a bald Barbie strikes me as a big, fat ‘so what?’ I’m not sure what all the folks who support the idea are really thinking this would achieve. It seems more like another way to exploit a ‘potential market,’ which would not be likely to provide real help to children with cancer, but instead might represent a deeply cynical and misguided example of corporate exploitation.

    1. Kathi, I totally agree with you. I’m more than a bit puzzled by this whole Barbie “movement.” Why not a movement for research/better treatment options for childhood cancer. What about a movement for that?

  14. This is so well written and far better than I could have (or had) written! You make so many fantastic points. First, I hadn’t thought about Barbie being an “adult” aged doll. So making a bald version of her wouldn’t make her any more identifiable for a child dealing with hair loss. Second, I agree that Mattel would probably not give a significant amount of monies made with the sale of a bald doll to cancer research. I would bet pennies over dollars. And finally, children with cancer deserve SO MUCH MORE than a doll!
    Kudos on a fantastic post!

    1. Wendy, Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving a comment. I really appreciate it. Thanks for validating and simplifying those three points I was trying to make. You really “cut to the chase.” Thanks for the kudos as well!

  15. HA HAAAA…. Love some of the comments…. Barbie is a skank and a hoochie mama. Barbie also sends SUCH unrealistic body images to an already vulnerable group of girls. Barbie and Eating Disorders? Don’t EVEN get me started…

    Yes, Nancy… tis true…. wishy washy person I once was? I think the chemo killed the wishy washy cells and now I just love calling it like I see it…. May find myself running from a lynch mob one day (and cracking an ankle in the process LOL) but it’s very FREE-ING to speak from the heart….

    You Go Girlfriend….. put it out there!!!

    1. Ann Marie, As I said before, I’m not anti-Barbie. Is she an unrealistic representation of women? Of course, but she is a doll and I believe in choice. I do continue to be uncomfortable with this bald Barbie idea though because it’s a distraction of sorts in my view. I hope Mattel doesn’t cave…

  16. As the author of Mary Tyler Mom, and more importantly, as the mother of a beautiful little girl who died of papillary meningioma, an aggressive brain tumor, I thank you, Nancy.

    Your post was measured, your points salient. Mine was written in a moment of frustration after seeing one too many bald Barbies cross my face book feed. Sigh.

    Raising awareness about pediatric cancer and it’s archaic treatments is how I parent my Donna now. It is not enough, but it is what I have. This doll is not a solution for what is killing seven children every school day.

    The group promoting bald Barbie preaches acceptance, as if acceptance is what are children need above research, treatments, and cures. Today they called for a communal head shaving on Wednesday to promote support for a bald Barbie. It is beyond sad to me what a circus this has become.

    Your voice of calm reason is most welcome to me right now. Thank you kindly.

    1. Mary Tyler Mom, Thank you so much for commenting on this recent “hot topic.” Your thoughts are very important to me as you have suffered through the agony of losing a child to cancer. I’m so sorry. I applaud you for speaking out and for the work you are doing to raise awareness about pediatric cancer and as you said, its archaic treatments. Our children deserve so much better don’t they? You call this Barbie movement a circus, and I fear you might be right about that. Thank you for your supportive words. Again, I’m so sorry for your loss.

  17. Nice, article. You have made some valid points. As did Mary Tyler Mom. Personally as a parent who watched my child suffer and die from a DIPG brain tumor one of the deadliest, just want the same awareness and respect as other cancers. Sorry but PINK is not the only one….

    One of your statements is inaccurate, which is a very common error in regards to childhood cancer and why we parents want awareness so badly. No matter how that awareness comes.

    The ribbon color for childhood cancer is GOLD not Yellow. A very common error, sadly even among parents.
    Also, when your shopping in September, and start seeing all those ads on TV about breast cancer, and pink ribbons everywhere, please know that September IS childhood cancer awareness month.

    Personally in my opinion for what it’s worth. Cancer is a business that makes a heck of a lot of money. With the amount of organization out there seeking donation for the “cure” combined reaches far into the billions. So, personally as long as many are profiting form this disease, there will be no cure in sight in most our lifetimes. I don’t want to see children being exploited for profit as they are with the ACS. No one can say they are not. They use children in their more birthday ads when in fact, they only fund 1/2 cent on every dollar for childhood cancers. They also have a pink ribbon on their home page in support of breast cancer, during the month of September and tell us parents that they do not support one cancer over others. Yeah, it shows!!

    Nancy, my daughter was 12 when she died, and like you wasn’t really into Barbie (american girls dolls yes). Through her foundation she wanted me to focus more on WHY she got sick, and find a way to prevent it. Something which there is no prevention for children. She also wanted me to support families here and now. I know all to well, and have seen many on this path whom like you said have no insurance, not because they don’t work but because the employers don’t offer it, and one can not afford it on their own. I have also seen many lose their home because one or both parents (if they are together) have to leave their job in order to travel for treatments that is if they can find any for their child’s type of cancer. For which there really isn’t much. So, yes with all the money pumped into research for the “cure” the families need that funding as well. Not just with childhood cancer. Many adults also face the same issue.

    Sorry, just really wanted to let you know that GOLD is the color for children not Yellow. Didn’t mean to go overboard. I’ll get off my soapbox now. Thank you for listening.

    1. Annette, Thank you so much for commenting and for correcting me about the color. I apologize for my error. I should have been more thorough there. I did make the correction. It’s really sad when the pink ribbon becomes almost a thing of intrusiveness isn’t it? The other cancers seem to be left “out in the cold.” This is part of the reason for my (along with many others) growing dissatisfaction with many aspects of Pink October. And you’re right about families needing support, financial and otherwise. Again, that’s another reason for the dissatisfaction of others like myself with certain organizations such as Komen. I am so sorry for your loss. It’s a terrible thing to lose a child. I know I cannot fathom what you have endured and I’m truly sorry. Your daughter’s wishes to help others are amazing. Thanks so much for your heart-felt comment (and correction). More than happy to listen.

  18. My mom never liked Barbie dolls, so we never had them. She was kind of a feminist! We had “Sunshine Family” dolls, and I also had a Ginny doll.

    I don’t know how I feel about a bald and beautiful Barbie doll. I knew a couple girls with Alopecia, and my own daughter has been diagnosed with Trichotillomania, so it’s not just a cancer issue. But I do disapprove of the “circus” surrounding this suggestion.

    1. Ginny, My mom was a bit of a feminist too, although she did not ban Barbies at our house. I have not heard of “Sunshine Family” dolls or the Ginny doll. There have been lots of dolls out there I guess, but none like Barbie. I’m sorry your daughter has been diagnosed with Trichotillomania. I don’t really know a thing about that. Something else to learn about. As a mother of two little girls, I would be interested in your thoughts if you do decide where you stand on a bald Barbie. Thanks so much for adding to this discussion. I always appreciate hearing from you.

    2. I don’t believe that it is a “circus” just a group of moms that have had pediatric cancer invade their once normal lives. many of the supporters are in the same situation – the only intention was to make children smile – it has become a wonderful movement. I can bet that whether you are for or against Bald Barbie more people are aware of the fact that there are illnesses that cause hair loss in children, whether it be the actual illness or the treatment,more people now know that the ACS gives half a cent of every dollar to pediatric cancer research and that more people should donate.

  19. Nancy – another very thoughtful post. Do we really need more manufactured plastic items to promote any kind of cancer awareness? Just future landfill the way I see it, and certainly says nothing about the environmental links to cancer. Enough with the slacktivism. If a kid wants a bald barbie then buy one and shave it’s head. If we’re interested in preventing childhood cancers, then write a check to an organization directly, volunteer, or do something but don’t enrich a corporation by buying a product thinking it’s cancer activism. Misguided indeed!

      1. CCC, Oh, it’s kind of sweet you wanted a ballerina doll. Did you keep hoping for one? Actually, I think your parents made some pretty good selections there! Well, maybe not the boys bike… Alas, you turned out quite well!

    1. Cancer Culture Chronicles, Yes, the whole plastic thing is another whole issue isn’t it? I think the bald Barbie initiative certainly has/had good intentions, but as I said in my post, good intentions don’t bring better treatments and cures. Sadly, I do think it’s misguided activism. I’m glad there are others like yourself who agree. Thanks for commenting.

  20. Thank god people who possess some common sense are actually starting to comment on this subject!

    I myself tried to comment over on that page and my entirely reasonable suggestion of ‘why not just donate instead of buying a doll ……….etc” ended up with me being accused of being narrow minded, lacking in any empathy and I was ttold I was a worthless person who shouldn’t have children and people were very glad they didn’t know me personally!!! At no point was I unpleasant or argumentative or unreasonable.

    it seems that if you’re not swept away by the mass hysteria that’s evident on that page and don’t sing from their hymn sheet then your worthless pond life. I’m now banned!!! YAY!!!!!

    1. Sue, Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I tried to share ideas on their page as well, but that’s not what the page is intended for I guess. It’s all about choices and opinions, so they are free to do what they choose. My opinions and ideas just don’t jive with the bald Barbie campaign. After reading the two comments from moms who lost children, I’m not about to change my mind.

  21. I respect your opinion – I was not a Barbie kid and neither was my daughter. having known one of the 2 children that received this special Barbie I can tell you it did make a difference for them. it made her smile – and that is all that is important. I work in a school with 4 year olds – many of which love Barbie dolls – but honestly I don’t see children looking at Barbies from the adult perspective. we, as adults, we see a doll that creates unrealistic expectations for woman – the children that I have seen play with them only care about dressing undressing and redressing her. thankfully most children are done with Barbie well before their tweens. Mattel had already created 2 of them so they became the logical company. although I agree that Mattel or any other company would not donate all proceeds to pediatric cancer research in fact they will probably profit – my pink tennis balls don’t do much for breast cancer either – yet it is still more than the yellow ones in addition everytime I look at them I am reminded to donate to the breast cancer charity of my choice. I know 1 child with leukemia 1 that died of a brain tumor and yet another (who was the recipient of the bald barbie) in addition my family had a scare with my son when he was 11 and was thought to have ewings sarcoma – I spent an enormous amount of time at the pediatric wing of sloane kettering and because of my experience I respectfully disagree with you. I BACK BALD BARBIE AND GI JOE – all the way! your argument is like saying not to get flowers or cards to raise a persons spirits in the hospital…surely it will not cure them

    1. Donna, Thank you for your respectfully stated opinions. I really appreciate that. I just happen to believe a person’s charitable dollars can be put to much better use with a direct donation to an organization that provides much needed resources to families dealing with cancer or to one dedicated to research. I’m not comfortable seeing a toy company profit from childhood cancer. The doll is being promoted as being a toy to enable children to feel accepted or more normal. I don’t think this is a doll’s job and I think it’s a distraction that takes attention and dollars away from research for better treatments and possible cures. Also, as I stated in my post, Skipper would be a much better choice in my mind than Barbie. Also, I don’t like the emphasis on hair and outer beauty that Barbie embodies. As for the cheering up, someone earlier mentioned that an old familiar well-loved item such as a blanket or stuffed animal would bring any sick child much more comfort than a plastic doll. These are only my opinions. I respect yours as well. Thanks for adding to the discussion.

  22. Annette , would like to donate to your daughter’s foundation – because you are right the here and now is also important for many it can be the difference between life and death. I am sorry that so many believe that bald barbie movement has become a circus – It has raised awareness through all sides of the need for funding both for research and the day to day for so many families as well as the need to create smiles in every pediatric oncology unit.

  23. I am a mother to a daughter (Alecia) who died at the tender age of 12 after being diagnosed with the ugly C word 9 months previously…and given a 95% cure rate.

    I understand what you are saying about Barbie and appreciate the points you make.

    However, I will say that the thing that drew me to the idea of Bald Barbie was-

    She/It is a nationally recognized (albeit plastic, among other things) figure that would raise awareness of Childhood Cancer.

    It was a great feeling when I first heard of Bald Barbie to think that FINALLY there would be some recognition that children do in fact get cancer.

    The ACS post in response to the idea was very hurtful and poorly thought out. (Have you seen all the comments??) It has drawn a lot of attention from the devastated, passionate, heartbroken parents out there who KNOW what cancer does to kids and FEEL the lack of awareness everywhere we look.

    People don’t want to know or hear about kids getting cancer. Bald Barbie could change that. She would be right there- on the shelf- next to all the other Barbies for the world to see.

    Instead of swept under the carpet and rarely mentioned.

    The best thing to come from all of this- is that people are talking about Childhood Cancer…vehemently….in a public forum.

    And THAT is a good thing!

    1. Jan – I am so sorry for your loss. one child (regardless of what the ACS says) is one too many.
      Nancy – thank you for the respect you have shown me. however I wanted to let you know that although I fully back the Barbie movement – I do not feel that anywhere it says I can buy a Barbie OR donate money. in fact, I do both!! you can do both. in addition my daughter makes regular visits to Ronald Mcdonald house to volunteer her time. As for myself – I am working with my dog on his service training so that we as a team can provide pet therapy in hospitals. I don’t think anyone is saying that barbie is the answer – in fact if you go to the very start of the bald and beautiful page you will see that they were trying to work with any company that would hear them …American girl (owned by Mattel),Liv dolls (which for me is really the best choice because each one has a story), and the list goes on. when the movement picked up momentum is when it became (by the public) mattel only. again Mattel had made the original 2 dolls (to their credit) and that is why others asked for it for their children – research “princess Genisis”.I would like to also reiterate that Mattel happens to be a very charitable company – they donate to many childrens hospitals and organizations – It would be wonderful to me ,no matter who decided to create this doll, if they did what TOMS shoes does – for every doll bought one is donated….

      1. Donna, I guess you and I just agree to respectfully disagree on this one. I stand by my words in my post. It will be interesting to see what Mattel does or does not do here, on that we can agree! Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    2. Jan, I’m so sorry you lost your daughter to cancer. It seems extra cruel when you were told upon diagnosis she had a 95% of being cured. The word “cure” in “cancer dialogue” is tossed around pretty loosely in my view. I think you’re right, people don’t want to hear about kids getting cancer. I don’t like the way the pink ribbon culture seems to have swallowed up the other cancers, if you know what I mean and think you do. We do need awareness about childhood cancer, but I just don’t think a bald Barbie is the way to go. Again, I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. And yes, the discussion is a good thing.

  24. Nancy! If I saw you on the street, I’d give you a great big high-five and a hug. You nailed it!!! This topic has been driving me crazy for so many reasons. I never owned a Barbie…my grandfather thought she was a horrible roll model and urged my parents not to introduce her into our family. Thank goodness! I would have had a heck of a complex after puberty with my tiny breasts and big-ole booty (which I am very comfortable with, thank you.)

    Not only do I feel that a bald barbie is almost glorifying the heinous side effects of cancer treatments, they don’t even get it correct. The photo of “bald Barbie” above still has her beautiful eye lashes and eye brows. Last time I checked, those go too.

    Thanks for hitting all the points!!! You rock, sista!

    Tory

    1. Tory, Thanks for your exuberant comments! Cyber hugs then, right? The perfect makeup is another problem with the bald Barbie cancer doll. I didn’t touch on that. My position about bald cancer Barbie really isn’t connected to regular Barbie. I’m not against Barbie, though I’m not pro-Barbie either necessarily. But a bald cancer Barbie, I just can’t get behind that idea for all the reasons I stated. Thanks again for your comments.

  25. My mom doesn’t know how I feel about Barbie. I always wanted one as a child but never got one. Perhaps I’m experiencing Barbie Envy. Seriously, I only stopped liking Barbie in the last few years or so. It’s not the end of the world for kids to get them, just not my preference to give a girl.

    1. Beth, Thanks for the additional comments. I guess you can play with Barbie now along with your daughter! I’m not opposed to Barbie either. I’m just not in favor of a bald Barbie.

  26. I too respect your opinion, but I disagree. First of all, no one backing this has ever said the effort was to make a child faced with cancer and all its affects “NORMAL”. The purpose I think most who support it see is in helping a child feel “ACCEPTED” and that their differences are ok.

    I may have a bit of a different perspective here….because I have Cerebral Palsy. I have been subjected to the taunts, teasing, and nastiness that occurs from all ages when it comes to a disability. Cancer in effect becomes a disability too…and it IS nice to have tools as a child to feel like you are understood.

    One of the things I see this doll could be used for is in child life expert interactions. While I DO somewhat see your point in saying a more childlike doll might be more accepted…what about this?

    A Child Life expert can use a Barbie as she is to encourage the child to dream of his/her life as an adult. To give the child hope…while using the image to say, in effect, cancer will always be a part of your life, but you will grow, and you will be ok.

    The other thing to consider….is whether or not kids REALLY relate to Barbie as an adult figure. Maybe I am odd….but I didnt. It wasnt until I got older and no longer played with dolls that I really had that outlook.

    Instead of trying to put an adult’s outlook on it, go down to the level of a 3,4, or 5 year old….or maybe older. Sure, Barbie can be arguably not proportionally correct. We dont have her looks…but a CHILD does not see things as adults do.

    I’ve seen many posts about kids crying that have cancer, because they are stared at, avoided, and ostracized.I can relate to that. But I didnt have a doll in a wheelchair, with braces or crutches that I could play with. It would have been nice!

    If you want to get down to brass tacks…and only look at this as a piece of plastic with no other attributes, why are races covered? Why are there black dolls, indian dolls, and Hispanic dolls? Because….kids identify themselves with that. (And adults enjoy getting them things that help with their identity.) Should a child’s acceptance NOT be as important as different nationalities are if they have a disease process that makes them different??

    I hate to say it, but even a child who survives cancer, or an adult that survives cancer, still has a cancer history. They still have that identity, as a survivor. Sure, their hair will grow back, they may possibly feel better…but their entire lives they will be different than those who did not live that experience.

    Maybe if OTHER kids were exposed to a tool such as this, and taught to accept different appearences….the ones who DO have cancer or other diseases might be looked at a little differently through their entire lives.

    I think we really need to examine why as adults, our perception changes so much. Truth be told…I think its OUR discomfort we are thinking about in opposing this….

    I support the bald Barbie cause…from the perspective of having no choice but to have a life where I in a sense am bald to others….I wanted to be accepted..and I wasn’t. So what if you don’t like it? Others might, and you havent walked in their shoes…only your own. You have a right to your opinions…but so do I.

    1. Kristin, Of course you have the right to your opinions. We all do. I respect yours. I don’t wish to re-state everything I already have said, but I stand by my words in my post. I’m an educator and a parent and I do know children love role playing with dolls, puppets and all toys. I also feel that we as adults have a responsibility to provide appropriate toys. I’m not opposed to Barbies. I am opposed to a bald Barbie. Why? Because I don’t like the emphasis on hair and beauty. I don’t like using an adult doll in this instance. I don’t like the opportunity for a toy company to profit from cancer toys. Let’s not forget that children will find comfort and enjoy playing with whatever we do provide them with. In my opinion, a bald Barbie is not the best choice. I realize everyone does not agree with me, but I’m also discovering that many do. Thanks so much for respectfully stating your opinions.

  27. Been waiting since you first posted this to comment..but wasn’t sure how I felt about this topic – having said that I really enjoyed reading everyone’s well articulated thoughts in the comments. I actually see both sides of this debate..yes, I know, it’s called sitting on the fence, but sometimes that’s where I sit 😉 Thanks for opening up the debate – it’s great that we have a space like this to share.

    1. Marie, Thanks for commenting. Sometimes the fence is the place to be, at least temporarily as one “mulls things over” a bit more. It has been a great discussion and discussion is always good!

  28. Well you really got something rolling here, Nancy! I love the forum you have provided for people on both sides to provide their opinions without fear of criticism or disrespect.

    I can relate to both sides. I am not a huge fan of Barbie, though I know she is the star of many little girls’ toy boxes. Maybe American Girl would be able to create a more relatable doll. But at the end of the day, my heart goes out to the parents trying to find tools to help their children cope. I just hate to see companies making money off of cancer. Would we feel better if ALL the monies generated by a bald doll went to research into childhood cancers? I would. Barbie or not.

  29. Great post–and ensuing discussions–on a subject I know so little about, having had three boys and no girls. I don’t believe a Bald Barbie is a good idea. It’s just a merchandising ploy that has nothing to do with a girl’s feelings or self-esteem. No one could consider such a doll “normal,” as you point out.

    And I have never heard of the Tammy doll. How interesting that such a doll made it to the market. Miss America has dominated our culture for so long, I thought the day would never come that a doll would be sold that didn’t further the message that outer beauty is the be all-end all.

    Thanks for the great information.
    Jan

    1. Jan, Yes, your world has been a bit “male dominated” hasn’t it? You grew up with brothers too as I recall. Thanks for reading and commenting despite your lack of first-hand Barbie experience!

  30. I think I’m sitting on the fence, though leaning on the side of pro-bald Barbie here, but that’s largely bc like Kristin, I know what it feels like to have an image outside all mainstream concepts of “normal” or “beautiful.” And when I read of the bald Barbie, I noted that this isn’t Mattel’s idea. They’re not leading the show, not even willingly being dragged along. No, it’s parents of children who’ve had/have cancer. There’s been a whole lot of cancer in my family, but fortunately, it’s been all adult cancer. Who am I to say what those kids and their families do/don’t need or what would/wouldn’t benefit them? And lastly, for all those bald Alopecian girls and boys out there, Bald Barbies might just mean something.

    Thanks for the post!
    Susan

  31. I am so confused. Call me crazy, but Barbie is a WOMAN, not a child. Awareness of childhood cancer??? come on now.

    IN ADDITION, if anyone really wants a bald barbie, cut her hair off. Show her losing her hair. This can be done individually.

    In terms of selling another anything celebrating cancer…

    Well, we see where that’s gotten us with breast cancer. It’s made corporations a LOT of money, while leaving those affected with a bad taste in our mouths.

    This would just be another money maker for Matel…even if the idea orifinated elsewhere.

  32. Mattel originally was not going to produce the bald Barbie, but then the makers of Bratz dolls decided to make a bald cancer awareness doll and Mattel, never to be outdone, quickly changed their tune. The Bratz dolls are already being sold, but I don’t think the Barbie has been released yet.

  33. As the grandmother of a young women with total alopecia, i can only speak from our experience : . . My 22 year old was thrilled to be gifted with a bald Barbie. This young women will someday be Dr. Sydney, a chiropractor with no hair, no wig and knows that someday, somewhere a little girl will cross her path who will love having a Babie that looks like her and she will gift her. Don’t judge folks, remember “ not right, not wrong, just different”. It’s really important to remember that no one size fits everyone. If you don’t approve of the doll, don’t purchase.

    1. Linda I’m with you. I was really disturbed with the strong oppinons against the ‘choice’ of buying a bald barbie. My 4 year old has Alopecia and it would be nice to have the option of a doll (does not have to be barbie, but this is one of the biggest doll companies that will reach the farthest) that has no hair- to show that it is normal! 1 in 50 people have Alopecia. Yet all the dolls I see have long waist length hair.
      The choice and having my girl and her friends see the dolls and see that it is not strange.
      It’s not all about cancer.

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