What if Barbie had Cancer?
Barbie is known for her long, flowing hair that can be styled again and again. But what if Barbie was bald? And what if she was bald due to cancer treatment?
There’s an online movement to encourage Mattel to create a “Cancer Barbie,” and it’s gaining supporters who see it as a good way to help children cope with cancer.
One of the many Facebook pages dedicated to the cause calls it the “Beautiful and Bald Barbie.”
“We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer from hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania. Also, for young girls who are having trouble coping with their mother’s hair loss from chemo. Many children have some difficulty accepting their mother, sister, aunt, grandparent or friend going from a long haired to a bald.
“Accessories such as scarves and hats could be included. This would be a great coping mechanism for young girls dealing with hair loss themselves or a loved one. We would love to see a portion of proceeds go to childhood cancer research and treatment.”
An online petition wants the Barbie to be named “Hope” to honor children fighting cancer.
For more insight into the potential emotional response to the proposed “Cancer Barbie,” I reached out to Therapist and Parenting coach Tammy Gold, who offered an interesting pro and con perspective:
Pro: It is good to show bald is beautiful. It is good to make cancer less scary and give it a “face.” It is good to have an ability to speak openly about the disease and what happens.
Con: It could normalize cancer so much that children could begin worrying they may get cancer. Depending on the child it could strike anxiety or fear regarding the topic.
Psychologist Jason Evan Mihalko tells Care2 that “Children use toys to work out and explore anxieties, fears, anger, and hopes. Having appropriate toys that reflect real-world concerns will enhance opportunities for children with illnesses to engage in age appropriate play where they can think about and explore their inner world of feelings. Toys like this also give parents and other caregivers opportunities to help children develop ways to talk about their complicated feelings as well as ways to guide their children into effective ways of coping with their illness.”
Life Coach Rebecca Cagle lost her hair to cancer and thinks the doll is a great idea. “I let children try on and play with my wigs to help make them more comfortable with my baldness. My hair is grown back and the kids still occasionally ask me if my hair is still a wig or real. A cancer Barbie would help kids with cancer as well as kids who have other children and adults in their lives bald from cancer.”
It remains to be seen how Mattel will respond to the prompting for a “Cancer Barbie.”
In the meantime, there are other dolls that address the issue of cancer. Among them, the Kimmie Cares doll was created to help children cope with cancer, and all proceeds from sales go to the Partners for a Cure Foundation, where funds are distributed to cancer patients in need.
Image source: facebook/com/baldandbeautifulbarbie