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January 19, 2012

Beautiful & Bald Barbie Facebook Campaign!

Bald Barbie Supports Children With Cancer!

Barbie is just shy of 53 years old. She’s survived the Vietnam War, the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification, both wars with Iraq and has managed to outlast 10 U.S. Presidents. But she might have just met her match with two cancer survivors. 

Jane Bingham and Rebecca Sypin have started an online movement on Facebook requesting Mattel Inc. to create a "Bald Barbie" as a role model for young girls going through chemotherapy or suffering from hair loss conditions such as alopecia.  

Why? Cancer has touched both women's lives – Bingham has lymphoma and Sypin’s 12-year-old daughter has leukemia. The friends recognized hair loss was a difficult aspect of cancer treatment, especially for females. A bald doll would reassure girls going through chemotherapy and radiation, as well as reassure girls who experience hair loss because of other disorders. The doll would help them feel beautiful and accepted, according to Sypin and Bingham. In addition, they feel a bald Barbie would raise awareness of children's cancer.

The women, who live on opposite coasts of the U.S., started a Facebook page, “Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let's see if we can get it made.” The page has garnered over 120, 000 “likes” since the page's advent at Christmas time. Supporters worldwide have added comments, mostly in support, of a bald Barbie. Many of the comments are from childhood cancer survivors who say they would have loved a doll like the proposed Barbie when they were going through treatment. Parents of children with cancer have posted pictures on the page of their beautiful – and bald – daughters asking Mattel to consider creating the doll. A petition in support of the doll is featured on the social change website Change.org and the story has spread to mainstream news organizations.

Interestingly, Mattel created a one-of-a-kind bald Barbie doll for a little girl, Genesis Reyes, in 2011. “Princess Genesis” was made for the 4-year-old girl at the request of a friend of wife of Mattel's chief executive. But, Mattel seems to have broken the mold with Princess Genesis, and so far, has not bowed to the pressure of the social media movement. In statements, the company said they were honored Barbie was being considered as a potential role model for children with cancer, but “Mattel doesn't accept ideas from outside sources.”

Really, Mattel? Certainly a multi-billion dollar company could produce a limited run of the dolls, with a portion of the proceeds donated to childhood cancer organizations. Barbie has had so many incarnations over the years-NASCAR driver, astronaut, Totally Tattoos Barbie, a presidential candidate Barbie, a Barbie in a wheelchair and haute couture Barbies.

Why not a bald Barbie? While companies often believe creating a special line will dilute their brand, in essence a rare line of dolls would actually increase the value of the Barbie brand. Consumers drive brand appeal – in spite of what companies believe–and a bald Barbie would be a wise move on the part of Mattel.

Bingham, Sypin and their supporters are on to something big with their “Beautiful and Bald Barbie” Facebook page. If social media can act as a catalyst for revolution in other countries, I am sure we might see a bald Barbie on the shelves of our local toy stores sooner than later.

Go to http://www.facebook.com/BeautifulandBaldBarbie if you want to support the drive.
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