No, this post isn’t about my repressed desire to shave Barbie’s luxurious locks or knock her down a boob-size… Although both those thoughts have some merit…. I’ll say up front, I’m not a Barbie fan. (Except, perhaps, for the tattooed Tokidoki…) Nevertheless, Barbie has managed once again to catch my attention.
The initial story hit about a week ago: a pair of friends, both dealing with cancer-caused baldness in their families, petitioned Mattel toy company to consider making a Bald Barbie, who would provide a positive way to encourage youngsters with Leukemia or other illnesses, making them feel more “normal” and accepted, and providing them with an upbeat model who can rock the lockless look.
The news piece immediately brought to mind a lovely young woman in our A.A. Home Group, who had to shave her head a couple years back in preparation for an experimental brain surgery at the Mayo clinic. Half a dozen ladies from our Home Group rallied in support and threw a “head-shaving party” so Annie wouldn’t feel isolated as she faced some Seriously Scary Stuff. I wish I could share pictures (sorry, Anonymity takes priority on this one)–not only because these gals rocked the look, but because it was such a touching show of support. There were definitely tears amidst the laughter that day.
So why not a bald Barbie? Surely it wouldn’t cost Mattel any more than their recently unveiled Architect Barbie (whose expertise is touted on Barbie.com as “Designing Shops for the ultimate outdoor mall,” naturally) or their Computer Engineer Barbie (evidently Math Class isn’t tough anymore)–and I couldn’t imagine any other objection to the idea. After all, the Bald Barbie campaign hit the news circuits in the same week that speculation (based in part on Barbie’s own Tweets) was running rampant about the introduction of Kardashian Barbies. You can’t tell me that a company willing to consider making the Kardashians even more plastic than they already are would reject the wholesome proposal of a cancer-support doll.
Well, maybe I couldn’t imagine an objection, but Mattel had one, albeit a flimsy one. “Mattel does not take unsolicited ideas from outside sources”–that was their response to this pair of mothers, one of whom is boldly and baldly battling cancer herself, and one whose bald daughter has kept her sense of humor alive by encouraging her friends to draw pictures on the blank canvas of her head.
It strikes me as a poor business model to make it policy to reject promising ideas because they hadn’t been requested… And this is, after all, a company that did produce a one-off bald beauty for one little girl with cancer. (But that’s different. She knew someone who knew Mattel’s CEO, which evidently made that one a good idea.) Well, the determined pair of moms has taken their campaign to FaceBook, where they’ve gotten well over 138 thousand “likes” to date–and Mattel is starting to backpedal, if not yet to agree.
But my own thought is… If this is an issue close to your heart, why wait for Mattel to stop being stupid? There’s at least one other way to get your hands on a bald doll–and I’m betting most of us already have the required experience. (Ladies: don’t tell me you never got in trouble for performing a haircut on one of your dolls… Or–ahem–on one of your trusting playmates…) If there’s a youngster in your life whose morale would be boosted by a beautifully bald doll, why not throw a “head-shaving party” for some dolls of your own? Craft some beautiful scarves, hats, or fun accessories, maybe even some matched doll-and-daughter sets. Celebrate the fact that a woman’s beauty isn’t all in those dead keratin cells hanging off her scalp.
And if you feel a need to make a statement, you could always send the trimmed tresses to “Locks of Love,” addressed c/o the Mattel Toy Company. If you really want to make a statement, let them realize your child’s new bald favorite isn’t a Mattel doll. I’m just sayin’.