The Diabetic Barbie, or D-Barbie for short, has 2,300 Facebook fans on her page. That's more than my newspaper that has a measly 1,526 and can't seem to break 1,530. Pitiful. Anyway, D-Barbie has an orange or pink colored pump (I can't really tell from the photo), a syringe pen needle should she choose not to use a pump, a blood sugar meter and a juice box for when she gets low. Oh, and did I mention that her boyfriend Ken is also a D-man? He's got a blue pump. All the accessories are made from clay.
This whole idea was brought up by a 7-year-old girl with Type 1 diabetes. Her mom, who thought it was a great idea, created the Facebook page after asking Mattel about it.
"[My daughter] had heard about a Barbie being made recently with no hair for a little girl battling cancer and was thinking that it would be nice to also have a diabetic Barbie out there! " stated her mother via the info portion on the fan page. "When I asked Mattel about this, they flat out told me that they do not accept unsolicited suggestions about their dolls."
It's interesting isn't it? That they're making dolls to teach children about their own illnesses. That is what they're doing, right? Or helping to normalize the situation? Slightly; like saying, "Barbie is defective, too. She's not as perfect as her waist size, bra size, shoe size or job skills."
Or it may be similar to what American Girl did at first, making dolls look exactly like you [or your child]--hair color, eye color and all. She could also play musical instruments and have a bike! Now, dolls can have the same illness.
I don't know how I feel about that. I put the question out on Twitter and got a few responses. I think it's funny that I was diagnosed at 7, the little girl who thought of this doll is 7 and the first person to respond to my Tweet was also 7 when diagnosed.
@SamanthaOwen07 Being diagnosed at 7 years old I think a diabetic barbie would have helped a lot!!!!
And I started thinking about it. When I got Teresa (Barbie's friend) she was tan and had long, dark hair. She looked like me! A Latina! I was excited about that. But to have a doll that also had diabetes? How would I feel when I was sick or couldn't control my blood sugar levels? Would I take it out on my doll because she didn't really have to worry about that?
Then I saw the next tweet from someone who disagreed with the first.
@EllonWheels To be honest, I'd feel ostracized. Like Barbie in a wheelchair. She's still pretty, but you know she's riding the short bus.
I agreed with her on that and she responded:
@EllonWheels As a kid, I had enough to deal with. Getting a big old reminder of how not normal I was wouldn't be helpful.
So, I understand what D-Barbie is trying to get accomplished here. I really do and maybe it's just a generational gap on feelings and emotions. I mean, now-a-days being different is in. I don't know what it would have been like to be have a D-Barbie but I also know that it might be hard for the makers to make something acceptable for all. Once a Type 1 doll comes out, will there be a Type 2 doll as well? I guess we'll just have to wait to find out.