An eager population of more than 150,000 who liked a Facebook page designed to urge toy maker Mattel to make a bald version of its famous Barbie doll are getting what they wanted.
Fans created the Facebook campaign to encourage the toy maker to create a doll appealing to kids undergoing cancer treatments. It’s also supposed to be for conditions like alopecia and trichotillomania. They got their wish, in that Mattel executives decided they will produce the doll as a “friend” of Barbie who will come with a variety of wigs, hats, scarves and other accessories.
Some of the Barbie fans, of course, were hoping to get their hands on one of the dolls themselves. That’s not such an unreasonable hypothesis, as there are collectors who acquire the dolls with an enthusiasm non-collectors can’t truly understand. And here’s where it gets a little, pardon the expression, hairy.
Turns out Mattel isn’t going to sell the new bald Barbie pal in stores. Instead, it announced in a statement that it would prefer to “get the dolls directly into the hands of children who can most benefit from the unique play experience.”
What’s amusing to me is this: the fans who clamored for the doll to appeal to kids undergoing specific medical conditions can’t possibly complain: they got what they wanted, with the additional benefit that the dolls are going to go directly to the kids in question, the very children for whom they were speaking.
Sure, there’s the annoying angle that their own collections may not see the addition of a bald doll, but that wasn’t what the campaign was supposed to be about, anyway.
As for the two women who started the campaign, both of whom have daughters who lost their hair following cancer treatment, it’s a cinch they’ll get the new doll for their kids. But one of them still says she hopes to see them sold in stores some day, explaining that girls should see that one’s self-worth and beauty shouldn’t come from their hair.
A valid thought. I just don’t know that seeing one bald doll in a toy aisle where every other doll has flowing locks of every conceivable color is necessarily going to communicate such a concept.
Perhaps — and this is just a suggestion — they might next consider fighting the amount of retail space devoted to helping women with their hair: when you compare how much space one new doll will get compared to your typical hair section of a health and beauty aids department, you certainly wouldn’t think women feel that their hair isn’t so important! (Or men, for that matter.)