Will Barbie’s new look be bald How heartbreaking story of young cancer victim inspired campaign for doll without hair
Beautiful and Bald Barbie
Barbie may be best-known for her long blonde hair. But a new campaign that is fast gathering momentum could see her go bald in her next incarnation.
Inspired by a one-of-a-kind doll created for a four-year-old girl who had lost her hair after treatment for cancer, its founders hope that a bald doll will help raise awareness and acceptance about all kinds of hair-loss.
Already, a Facebook group, titled ‘Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let’s see if we can get it made’, pressuring Mattel to manufacture the doll on a commercial scale, has almost 17,000 ‘likes’.
Jane Bingham and Beckie Sypin, the longtime friends who are behind the page, told how the idea came about.
New Jersey-based Mrs Bingham, 41, told MailOnline: ‘When I read the article about Mattel making a one of a kind bald Barbie
for Genesis, I though how wonderful that would be, with so many other
children dealing with hair-loss from chemo, aloepcia or trichotillomania.
PRINCESS GENESIS AND THE BALD BARBIE IDEA
The idea for a bald Barbie doll was first inspired by four-year-old Genesis Reyes, from Mineola, Long Island, who had lost her hair after treatment for cancer.
When the youngster announced that she did not feel like a princess without her hair, a parent of another child being treated at the same hospital, asked the CEO of Mattel, a personal friend, to create a one-off Genesis doll.
Now the Beautiful and Bald barbie campaign group hope that Mattel will commercially manufacture a similar doll to bring the same joy to other youngsters dealing with hair-loss.
‘I thought we could raise awareness for these conditions. Raise
awareness that children get cancer too… It would
be a win all around.’
Mrs Bingham, who herself has
lost her hair after
ongoing chemotherapy treatment for an incurable form of non-Hodgkin’s
lymphoma, told how her nine-year-old daughter, Belleliana, first reacted
to her hair-loss by trying to mirror the ways she covered her head.
‘It takes an emotional toll on the child,’ she said. ‘I had very long blond hair… She would
mimic me and she would try and wrap scarves on her head too.’
She revealed that Belleliana, who also has a close friend with alopecia, was very excited about the idea of a bald Barbie.
So too is the 12-year-old daughter of
Ms Sypin, Kin Inich, who, though perhaps too old for Barbie dolls
herself, feels passionately in favour of the idea having lost her own
hair after treatment over the past year for leukaemia.
If the Beautiful and Bald Barbie dolls are ever manufactured, Kin told her
mother that she wants to buy 100 of them, and take them to the
children’s hospital where she met so many other youngsters struggling
with their hair-loss.
The Facebook page suggests that the doll, which could come with accessories such as scarves and hats, would be a great coping mechanism for young girls dealing with hair loss themselves or a loved one.
Emotional response: Jane Bingham, who has lost her hair after chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with nine-year-old daughter Belleliana
Indeed, Ms Sypin, 32, who lives near Los Angeles, California, described how Kin had embraced her hair-loss with a creative approach.
‘She’s completely crazy with it,’ she
revealed. ‘At first it was hats and
scarves… [then she started choosing] the biggest headbands, and in
the summer was wearing temporary tatooos, and letting her friends draw
faces on her head… It’s kind of become a game at our house!’
But though Kin had an admirable
attitude, many of the other children she met during treatment had a hard
time with their hair-loss.
‘Most take the hair loss harder than the diagnosis,’ Ms Sypin admitted.
Creative: Beckie Sypin’s daughter Kin Inich, 12, embraced her hair-loss with a positive attitude, even encouraging her friends to draw on her head
While the intention of the Beautiful
and Bald Barbie would be to help young children having difficulty
dealing with hair-loss, be it their own or someone close to them, it has
been suggested that a percentage of profits from the sale of a
potential doll could go towards cancer research.
Mattel didn’t return calls today from the Associated Press seeking comment, but the
women said they have contacted the company through some general form
In return, they said, they’ve received form letters that say
Mattel doesn’t accept ideas from outside sources.