A Facebook movement to urge Mattel to produce a bald version of its famously blonde Barbie doll generated more than 10,000 “likes” in just a couple of hours, according to one of the administrators of the “Bald and Beautiful Barbie” page.
This is an awesome idea and I support it!
New Jersey photographer Jane Bingham helped kick it off in December after reading about a 4-year-old Long Island girl who received a one-of-a-kind hairless Barbie from Mattel.
Bingham, 41, lost her own hair while fighting non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year and noticed her 9-year-old, Belleliana, had a tough time with it.
“She would imitate me, putting scarves on her head,” said Bingham, who lives in Sewell, N.J. “I’d really love to see this Barbie come with some scarves, maybe a hat and maybe a wig, to make it interactive.”
Bingham joined forces with California resident Beckie Sypin, mother of a 12-year-old girl with leukemia. Her daughter Kin, whose hair fell out, loved the idea.
“She wants to take a bunch of them to the children’s hospital where she gets her treatment,” Sypin said.
Mattel issued a statement saying it was “honored” by the request and takes all such ideas “seriously” — but did not suggest it would manufacture the doll.
Dr. Abraham Bartell, a child psychiatrist at New York’s Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said special toys for kids with hair-loss are available, but a Barbie would be useful because it’s so iconic.
“It would be easier on parents if they could just go into a toy store and find them,” he said.
But he said a bald Barbie could be a tough sell in stores.
“I think there would be a push back from parents who would have to explain something to their children that makes them feel uncomfortable,” he said.
Long Island cancer patient Michele Brodtman, 38, said she told 6-year-old daughter Eryn about the doll idea today and got a hug.
“She was really frightened when I lost my hair in chemotherapy,” the East Islip mom of two said. “She said I didn’t look like a girl.”
Supporters plan to keep up the pressure.
A Change.org petition has more than 1,000 signatures. And a second Facebook page popped up — with 1,000 fans — pushing G.I. Joe to shave his head for the cause.