Barbie v. Cancer

Bald Barbie

Bald Barbie is running rampant over my social media feeds this new year.

A movement is afoot to strong arm Mattel into mass producing their signature tart, Barbie, into a bald symbol of beauty for little girls with cancer and other health conditions that make their hair fall out feel "accepted and beautiful."

"Mattel should make a Barbie with no hair so that every little girl fighting cancer feels beautiful!! The wish for this petition is that the Barbie is also named Hope and a portion of proceeds from the sales of this Barbie go to St. Jude's Children's Hospital."

"Lets make every child fighting an illness that causes them to lose their hair feel special and beautiful-like the Barbies/Dolls they play with!"

"The goal of this "Barbie" is that all children know that bald is beautiful and deal with their own hair loss or a loved one's . The proceeds from this doll would go to a pediatric Cancer research facilit."

Imma about to step up on my soapbox, kids, so consider yourself warned.

Girls with cancer need a bald doll about as much as women with breast cancer need a pink Kitchen Aid mixer.  The hard truth, and spoken with authority as the mom of a girl treated for cancer, is that girls with cancer do not need a bald Barbie.  They do not need bald Disney princesses either.  I have no doubt that there are psychosocial benefits to having a bald representation of yourself if you are a kid in the middle of cancer treatment.  Our toddler daughter certainly preferred characters missing golden locks on top -- Charlie Brown and Caillou were favorites of hers.  But need and want are at different ends of the spectrum.

You know what girls with cancer need?  They need money.  They need lots and lots and oodles and oodles of dollars for the researchers working on their behalf.  Primarily, these researchers are attached to well established pediatric hospitals and universities, as pharmaceutical companies only minimally invest in pediatric cancer. You see, it is not in their financial interest.  Stone cold truth, people.   This network of hospitals is knows as "COG," the Children's Oncology Group.

"The Children’s Oncology Group (COG), a National Cancer Institute supported clinical trials group, is the world’s largest organization devoted exclusively to childhood and adolescent cancer research. The COG unites more than 7,500 experts in childhood cancer at more than 200 leading children’s hospitals, universities, and cancer centers across North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe in the fight against childhood cancer."

What do Barbies run these days?  $10?  $20?  I don't know, honestly.  Full disclosure, I have never been a Barbie kind of girl, even as a child.  They didn't float my boat, not then, not now.  But that's beside my point.  If you want to support children with cancer, and it is kids with cancer -- boys and girls are diagnosed at the rate of 46 every school day in America -- give that $10-$20 to a charity supporting and investing in new research for pediatric cancer.

Believe me when I say, from the bottom of my broken heart, that children with cancer could use the kind of money that Mattel takes in during a single holiday season spent on research much more than they can use dolls that resemble them in follicles only. Let's get real, okay?  If we wanted our dolls to look like our girls -- if that is the premise behind the call for a bald Barbie -- said dolls would not be built like unattainable fantasies of what women should look like. Can I get a witness?

The only winner in the demand for a bald Barbie will be the marketers behind such a scheme.  Supporters and petitioners can tell themselves that all "proceeds" will go to a worthy children's health related charity, but that will be but a mere pittance compared to the much bigger dollars that will go directly into the pockets of the manufacturers and marketers.

All that pink you see in October?  A fraction of that is actually being delivered to researchers.  Marketers and manufacturers trade on the knowledge that millions of women will pony up for pink merchandise and they laugh every step to the bank, counting their pink pennies all the way.  If they see an opportunity, they will do the same with gold.  For many in the pediatric cancer community, that would be a win -- making gold, the awareness color of pediatric cancer, as recognizable as pink.  To me, that always seemed a hollow goal.  Having major corporations raise awareness of pediatric cancer and the need to fund its research is A-OK in my book, but making a profit on that is not.

This opinion may not be popular in a host of circles, and that is okay with me.  I speak with an awareness of what kids with cancer actually need and I would wish that knowledge on no one -- not the people who slam me for not being active enough in the pediatric cancer community, nor the people who slam me for championing pediatric cancer over breast cancer.  As I say, you can't win for trying, but I will keep trying.

Kids with cancer need research more than they need a bald tart.  That's right, Barbie, I called you a tart.  What of it?

Oh, and if you are wanting to help those kids with cancer with those research $ they so desperately need, here are two organizations with excellent charity ratings that get the job done and don't make a profit at it:

CureSearch and St. Baldrick's

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    a-freaking-men, sistah.

  • Testify!

  • NEW INFORMATION: My contact at St. Baldrick's just alerted me to the Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA. Thanks for the information and making me aware that Mattel has a history of supporting sick kiddos -- they don't name hospitals for just nothing.

    That said, I still stand behind my Bald Barbie manifesto!

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    rAmen, Sister! rAmen

  • Word. <3

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    Sorry but the links don't work. There is a good list at KidsCancerFight.org and PAC2.

    http://www.kidscancerfight.org
    http://www.PeopleAgainstChildhoodCancer.org

  • Despite the new information I still say AMEN to your post. People who were supporting it have their hearts in the right place but their minds are not. They are thinking that the manufacturers would donate ALL of their proceeds to childhood cancer. A nice thought but a fantasy in the money grubbing society we live in now. Unless I see something CONCRETE that shows NO PROFIT will be made off of a doll like this, I won't support it. If everyone that WOULD spend the $20 plus dollars on this doll would simply skip the step of buying one and donate that money to one of the identified charities, it would have the same effect and I'm pretty sure the kids that would benefit from the research that money would support would much rather have a cure than a stupid doll. Plus, LITTLE BOYS GET CANCER TOO.

    Love to you MTM. Thank you again for tellin it like it iz!

  • Preach it!

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    Sadly you are missing a major point if our efforts to get this Barbie made. Awareness for all three causes of hair loss in children...chemo treatments, Alopecia and Trichotillomania. Benefits of this doll we hope to be many fold. 1. Awareness of the 3 causes of hair loss. 2. Raise money for childhood cancer treatment or research facility, in a way that the money would not normally be raised. 3. A coping tool for children dealing with hair loss in themselves or a loved one.4.. A momento of their battle of their time in chemo (many adults women are in support of this. 5. A fun toy for children to play with with scarves, bandanas, hats and wigs accessories. Our group http://www.facebook.com/BeautifulandBaldBarbie from which you used the above picture. Does not claim the children NEED this doll. We are simply requesting it. We encourage polite requests and no demands.

  • Sadly, I think my major point was not made either. Any child I know who has gone through chemo -- and I know too damn many -- neither wants nor needs a "momento of their battle." The mementos they have are hearing loss, cognitive decline, heart defects, kidney defects, and so many other lasting effects of chemotherapy. I cannot speak for Alopecia or Trichotillomania. My daughter Donna's momento of her chemo is a limestone grave marker.

    I do not mean to overshadow good intentions of helping children feel accepted for who they are. I applaud those efforts. Barbie, a symbol of unattainable ideals for girls and women, just strikes me as not the most effective vehicle to accomplish your venerable goals.

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I love healthy dialogue almost as I love healthy children!

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    In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    While we agree that Barbie is not the best example of what we want our girls to try and attain to, let's face it...she is the biggest known doll around the world. To Mattel's benefit, her waist has increased over the years. So they have made some small strides in making barbie more realistic. Also, if you want to take to the soap box on similar story...we are also requesting a Bald and Brave GI Joe for little boys. http://www.facebook.com/BaldAndBraveGIJoe :o)

  • Ugh... Why does Joe get to be brave, but Bald Barbie's greatest accomplishment during chemo treatment is to look pretty?

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    In reply to annie:

    Annie, some people will always find something to complain about. :)

  • Not a complaint, but an honest question. I welcome your answer.

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    In reply to annie:

    You assume that Barbie is not Brave, not I.

  • My assumptions and yours are not necessarily the point here. You are branding the female doll as retaining her beauty while bald, and the male doll as being brave. Not to belittle the trauma that surely affects boys who lose their hair due to illness or treatment, but I would think it requires a great deal of bravery for a young, bald girl to do go out into the world, whether it be to the hospital or to school.

    Again to my original question, why is it that the boy doll is the brave one and the girl doll is the pretty one? And perhaps before answering you may want to consider what makes one brave or beautiful.

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    Annie, you have a point, we could have suggested the name Bald and Brave Barbie but I don't think Bald and Beautiful GI Joe would market very well. Every little girl wants to feel beautiful and be told they are beautiful, that does not mean they are not brave just because they are beautiful. A little girl who sports her bald head is wonderfully brave. I would know because it took some major guts to go out without anything covering my head in public. The stares....but even going out with a scarf on my head people stared. These girls and boys are brave and beautiful and warriors and not enough awareness is being brought to childhood cancer or Alopecia. Yes, Brave and Bald Barbie is good.

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    In reply to annie:

    Amen. Stupid double standards.

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    In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    As for the momento, that is more for grown women who have told us they would love one as a survivor. That is not so much intended for children. I have experience with cancer myself, as I have been battling an in curable for of non-hodgkins lymphoma for 5 years. Two mothers on our administration are mothers to children who have or have had cancer. We have not gone into to this with blind good intentions but with our eyes wide and aware of the effects of cancer on children.

  • Kraft och omtanke to you.

  • In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    Not to mention your other point - that the toy manufacturers will likely profit more than they will contribute to CureSearch or St. Baldrick's. I also have to point out that the bald toys are unlikely to raise much awareness for alopecia or trichotillomania unless they specifically put those diseases in huge letters on the cover. My thoughts - people are going to see a bald adult barbie and they're going to think about two things: cancer and breast cancer. Who is going to look at a bald Barbie and think about a kid with cancer?
    I just don't get it. But I'm not a Barbie fan, nor is my cancer-surviving child. Who couldn't give a rats-you-know-what about a bald doll, barbie or otherwise. Even during treatment, she preferred to play with her cars.

  • In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    As the parent of a 9 year survivor of stage IV neuroblastoma and someone active in the NB community I can say that many childhood cancer survivors I know would love to have one of these dolls. My daughter lives every day with a couple of the "mementos" you mention above -- hearing loss and pulmonary issues -- plus growth hormone deficiency, multiple learning disabilities and premature ovarian failure (that we know of so far).

    Even though she's 13, when I told my daughter about this doll she thought it was a great idea and said she would buy one if Mattel makes it. Why? Because she wants people to know that KIDS get cancer. She understands that thinking about kids getting cancer scares the crap out of most parents, and that fear is one of the barriers that needs to be overcome. So if a million parents see a bald Barbie promoting Childhood Cancer Awareness in Toys 'r' Us and think for even a minute about KIDS getting cancer, neither she nor I really care where most of the money from the doll goes -- because that awareness can lead those same parents to donate $5 at the Alex's Lemonade Stand in front of their supermarket next spring, or to pledge $50 to the colleague who shaves his or her head for St. Baldrick's.

    Marketing research shows people need to be exposed to a product/idea 7 times before it sticks. If one of those exposures is to a bald Barbie, I say "Go Mattel!" (And I don't say that as a fan of Barbie -- she's a horrible role model, always laying around the house naked with her head off!)

    Awareness = funding = cures. It's that simple. I would love to see the day that I'm as sick of Gold by the end of September as I am of Pink by the second week of October.

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    In reply to JenC:

    Jen, you put into words what I've been thinking all day, but I couldn't have said it as well as you did.

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    I'd like to add, that our movement is not asking that Mattel donate all proceeds, we are asking that they donate a portion of proceeds as we understand it is a business. We have no right to demand anything. Unfortunately as this movement took root and has spread individuals have become demanding on their own and our group does not support that.

  • There are lots of reasons not to support Bald and Beautiful Barbie, but their fundraising ideas are equally bad. Raising more money for St. Jude's (which is very selective about which kiddos are accepted into treatment) only helps a small proportion of kids fighting cancer. I too urge everyone to give to SBD and CureSearch.

    I've got a thousand mementos from my daughter's battle against cancer....I'd trade everyone of them for another minute in her arms.

  • In reply to lilli momma:

    Kraft och omtanke to you, lili momma. Today, tomorrow, and every day.

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    Another cause to check out that raises awareness of, and funds for, childhood cancer is Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. The foundation started in the front yard of a young cancer patient and continues with front yard lemonade stands around the country today. Visit www.AlexsLemonade.org for more information!

  • In reply to Gillian Kocher:

    YES! Alex's Lemonade Stands have done amazing things in raising funds and awareness for pediatric cancer. Great addition, Gillian. Thank you!

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    Amen sister!!!

  • I see your point. Unless 100% of all proceeds go to cancer, Mattel is exploiting cancer kids to turn a buck for themselves. That is a new level of shame.

    Good thinking on some bad stinking, MTM!

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    I have always felt that way about anything that is sold with a "portion" of the sell going for research. Thecompany should give all up all the profits. If you want a bald Barbie then shave it's head.

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    In reply to Brenda Woody:

    Ahh Brenda... once upon a time all the dolls were only made with one skin color. Of course the companies eventually came around but until they did people probably told parents, you want a darker doll, paint it yourself. But does that make it right to say it. And once the companies finally opened their eyes and tried something new and gave the kids something they can relate to, were they exploiting children of color? They are making a profit on the dolls whether they make the kind we hope for or not, because people like dolls and people buy them, Nobody is saying this movement is so every child in the world or even every child with cancer should have a doll, and noone is saying that YOU have to spend your money on one. People who actually want one or have a child that would like one are asking for what they wish for. You dont have to want one for yourself, but do you really have to be bitter towards people who do?

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    Brenda, shaving it's head, seems like a simple thing to flippantly say...have you ever seen a Barbie with a shaved head? Not a pretty sight.

  • Why does it have to be a "pretty sight"? How is a pretty Barbie supposed to help a child dealing with Trichotillomania? Or a self-conscious tween or teenager losing hair in patches to cancer (not to mention their ashen skin, hollow eyes, wound / sores from surgeries / radiation, etc. How is beautiful Barbie who just happens not to have hair going to "help" any of this? I think your heart is in the right place, but I'm thinking there are better ways to raise money and to raise our children's self esteem.

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    In reply to gbtempleton:

    I look forward to see your efforts. :)

  • Me too! :))))))))))

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    She arranged a very successful St. Baldrick's event last year. Her pitches were so inspiring, I nearly shaved my head out of sympathy from a few thousand miles away.

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    Jane, I cannot believe you just wrote that! RFLMAO!

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    Girl I hear ya..but I disagree. I'm a selfish b*tch and want it all. I want the money and the doll. Our kids need the money. Did you know Susan G K will sue you if you use the words "for the cure". Real charitable and Christian of them huh? We need better drugs, we need more research, and we need all the attention these kids can get. I will take whatever attention, awareness and funding we can get and demand more. My daughter Honor has retinoblastoma. It broke my heart when at only 18 months old, my pretty girly girl no longer wanted to look in the mirror. She was bald and had one eye. Now she's 2. Her hair is growing in and she's fascinated with the process. I see her becoming aware of when people stare at her. I wonder and worry about her self esteem. She's just a little girl who wants to be pretty like her doll babies and the other girls. And. It Hurts.

    P.S. We hang with Alex's, CureSearch and St. Baldricks too..but that hasn't stopped me from knocking on The ACS, Lymphoma and Leukemia Society, and Drug companies doors trying to get them to change their ways and give our kids what they deserve.

  • In reply to Kelli Dodson:

    Well said, Kelli! I want the best for your girl, too, and want her to know her beauty. Keep on keeping on! And thank you for reading and sharing a differing POV with such respect. Kraft och omtanke to you and that girl of yours.

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    Oh and the fact that they are making Kardashian Barbies..well. They got the hollow empty headed plastic thing down. So they owe us a Barbie that may actually inspire our girls.

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    Sorry but I think we need to look at this a different way.
    This is NOT a this vs. that conversation - the people that WOULD buy this doll are not the ones who would just put 20 bucks in an envelope.
    We should look at this as an AND conversation - like: we should be doing the Barbie doll AND asking for envelope donations AND hundreds more ideas.
    Some people will help the cause b/c they can buy a doll, some will help by just giving the money to one of the charities listed.
    Every and any method of raising any money should be attempted.
    Also, look at it as: would you rather have 20 dollars from 10,000 people (the direct donation comments) or 8 bucks from 1,000,000 people (let's assume 8 bucks is what the doll could generate for charity support after product costs and some cut for the manufacturer's effort). The math even works if it's 100,000 people giving 20 bucks vs. 1,000,000 people buying dolls that give as low as $1 dollar to a cause.
    Again - we're talking about ideas that would resonate with different audiences of "consumers" or charity givers so why would we be saying we should do one vs. the other - do anything and everything to help.

  • In reply to Matt K:

    Matt K -- the voice of reason! I do not disagree. It is hard to argue with "do anything and everything" to raise awareness and funds for pediatric cancer.

    I love healthy debate. While I would not purchase the Barbie myself, primarily because of philosophical differences with Barbie herself, I would never begrudge a child, boy or girl, having a toy that brings them comfort when in distress.

    There is room for all sorts of advocacy in pediatric cancer. Mine, Barbie's, and others. I guess a take away from this thread is that one size does not fit all.

    Thanks for the read and the comment.

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    In reply to Mary Tyler Mom:

    the voice of reason... nice - I don't think i've ever been called that : )
    thanks for the reply and I always love reading your stuff, keep it up and thanks for having the guts to share.

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    woops - in the math above i meant to say 2 bucks in the 2nd example of the ratio (so they both work out to the same amt.) - but you get the picture.

  • I like the idea of a bald Barbie and GI Joe Doll (btw, my barbies didn't date ugly Ken's, nope they married the pretty GI Joes). I don't like the idea of buying one as a means to donate, but buying one just to buy one, what's the difference between that and buying any other doll?

    In addition, from a person who did play with dolls as a kid, little girls delve into imaginative play often psychologically projecting issues from real life onto the dolls to creatively express emotions or even to play out problem solving techniques, and it becomes a great tool to deal with and learn life's lessons... in which case little girls with or without cancer may identify easier with a bald Barbie.

    BUT, I agree it's wrong to profit off of charity, but stopping that may reduce funds charities receive. From another standpoint, they were planning to make a profit anyway, so they are actually sharing the wealth. But beware, many of the pink stuff for cancer didn't donate at all to a charity, and that's hustlin IMO.

    The consumer does have the power to pick and choose who gets the donations directly as well as the power to decide to donate. I say research the non-profits you donate to before donating, and look at the 990's. For example, Autism Speaks. Most of their revenues (meaning over 50%) go to exorbitant salaries and office expenses. I believe only 10% actually goes to research. But, you can look at their 990 and find who they are granting some funds for research to and choose to donate directly to that research organization. Another one I think is a little shady with their funds is the American Cancer Society. More of their funds go to "awareness" marketing than you would expect.

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    If you suggest that a "Bald and Beautiful" doll is going to look any more a "pretty sight" than a shaved doll, perhaps it would be that much better to offer bald barbie with a set of wigs. After all, doesn't locksoflove.org actually bridge the gap between "all" three issues of childhood baldness? (You have left off burn scars and the genetic disorder that creates sunlight allergy.) Perhaps they would be a better foundation for launching your campaign?

    Take a step back and reconsider your approach to gbtempleton; is there ever a good time and place to call another mom out? I would consider that the emotional effort involved in holding your own child's hand in the pediatric oncology ward is already heroic: plenty of parents turn to alcohol and drugs, leaving their child alone for the nurses to nurture. (And the nurses that choose to stay there should get bigger medals than veterans!) She has phrased her commentary politely, and hopefully given you feedback you can use to make your approach more workable or realistic.

  • Search on the web "Penny Medical" if you have a condition such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, cancer, depression or have had an injury, like a broken leg and need health Insurance NOW.

  • Preach on, MTM. Like you said, haters gonna hate.... I think those in support of a bald barbie, their hearts are in the right place, but I'm thinking there are better ways to raise money and awareness.

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    MTM, I am so guitly of posting this to not only my wall, but yours as well. I saw the outrage on FB and wanted to read your blog before I dwelled into the drama. You are an amazing person my friend, and I applaud you for the adult way that you have of putting us in our place :) (Im locked out of fb until tomorrow so this is the only way I knew how to tell you)

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    This is amazing!

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    There's so much more to cancer than losing hair and obviously, the writer of this article isn't the only person who feels this way. Check out another interesting blog from the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation on this topic:
    http://www.cbtf.org/blog/2012/01/06/barbie

  • In reply to kaylarg:

    Thank you, kaylarg! It is so good to see another writer's POV, albeit more measured than mine, that raises similar concerns, thoughts. Challenging Barbie is not a popular position. Given that my daughter died of a brain tumor (papillary meningioma), I appreciate that it was run by the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation, as well. Many thanks! MTM.

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    MTM - I agree it's not a popular position but I think a lot of people aren't considering who the concerns are actually coming from, mostly cancer survivors and caregivers (I'm a brain tumor survivor myself).

    I'm so sorry to hear that you lost your daughter and thank you for continuing to be an advocate!

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    I was thinking of putting together a charity bake sale / lemonade stand thru Cookies for Kids Cancer and Alex's Lemonade Stand. What do you think of these charities? I would like to choose the best possible way to raise money and these two looked pretty good to me. Thanks.

  • In reply to Tina Burns:

    Hi, Tina. What a fantistical idea. I heart you for wanting to help.

    I can easily and fully endorse Alex's Lemonade Stand. I have heart good things about Cookies for Kids Cancer, I simply don't know enough about them personally. Your note will have me doing some homework on them. Others I respect speak highly of them, I just have not done the homework myself.

    Thank for your your awareness and wanting to help. I hope my two cents have helped you. Have a great day. MTM.

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    What you are all missing is noone that is supporting this idea of a bald doll being made is saying that it is the cure all or that its what everyone should want or does want or that its the only and best avenue for your money. We are saying it is something our children want and we want. If your daughter were still here and wanted one, would you say noone should put their energy into hoping for one for her to hold and play with. If it was something that made your daughter smile, would you want someone to say money is more important than a smile on your daughters face. Even if its something she only plays with for a year or two, is that time not precious? Noone is saying the money for research is unimportant. But there are awareness movements for that. This is a movement for something different, and something wanted by many. It doesnt have to be wanted by you. Just because you have personal experience does not mean others who have personal experience and a desire to see this happen have a view that is any less valid than yours. Money for research is great, and it makes a difference, but its a long slow tedious process that takes years before it will save even one child, and the child struggling is not always even old enough to be aware of the research that is happening or the benefit of it. Would you tell your small child who wants a doll that reminds them of themself, Sorry honey, they don't make that one because research and medicine are more important. Research and medicine are great and of value, but so are opportunities for children to read and play and enjoy fantasy and role play, and when they experience changes that make them feel they no longer fit in to the fantasy and role playing world, They grow up too fast. What we all wouldn't give for one more moment of imaginary play and laughter during the hard times. You dont have to want this, but do you really have to try and discourage others for whom it has positive meaning. We arent coming to you saying what you value is not needed. I don't doubt that your opinion is based on personal experience, but your comment on another page said your POV is informed and 'qualified'. My heart goes out to you for your struggle, but that doesn't qualify you to discourage others for trying to make their childs dream come true.

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    In reply to Jessi Goodman:

    Jessi - I think you make some excellent points but as you said, you have to see everyone's POV. While some people think this is a great idea, there are others that don't and it's not necessarily because they think the money should go to research instead. I whole-heartedly agree that bringing a smile to a child's face is so important to any child struggling with an illness - I am in full support of those organizations and work for one myself (the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation) who supports both research and patients/survivors through support programs, events, etc... but my disagreement with this is that a bald Barbie does not show all and some of the more devastating effects of cancer and it's treatment. I think it glorifies cancer, which is something that shouldn't be glorified. Also, I'm not sure that this doll would bring a smile to a child's face. Again, everyone's perspective is quite different and maybe some girls would be delighted to have a doll that looked like them, but as a childhood survivor I don't think I would've had this reaction if my parents gave me one of these dolls, I think it would have made me more self-concious of my appearance and quite frankly, think I would have been upset by it. I think there are other more valuable "products" (if you want to call them that) that could be used to promote advocacy, support research, and give to children to make them happy that might be less controversial.

  • In reply to Jessi Goodman:

    Welcome, Jessi, and thank you for reading my post.

    Truth be told, I am not a Barbie kind of gal. I've learned this week that that is an unpopular position to have. I have philosophical problems with a doll that is proportioned as she is and idealizes a beauty that does not reflect the beauty found in so many others. A bald Barbie does nothing for acceptance for me. Perhaps I would feel differently about a bald American Girl doll. I don't honestly know. Neither me nor my girl were doll kind of gals.

    Donna absolutely, positively used play to cope with the issues her treatment brought up to her. Another thing we did together was read books that helped her understand, as well as a toddler could, what was happening inside her body. Specifically, we received several dolls with ports and bald heads from the hospital where we were treated. More than anything, Donna used dinosaurs, believe it or not, to understand death and illness. I supported her every step of the way and used what she naturally gravitated towards. So, yes, if she gravitated towards Barbies, sure, I might feel the relevance of a bald Barbie.

    This is not so much about the kids nor about acceptance. There are a million different ways to help children with cancer feel loved, supported, and accepted. Barbie is not the key to that.

    Already, I see that "the cause" as it is called is morphing as more and more people join it. They want a pink bald Barbie for breast cancer. Well, where are the kids in that? Where is the awareness for pediatric health concerns in that? Where is the small portion of proceeds that is supposed to go to kids in that? You see? It gets lost. Yet, again, gold gets swallowed by pink.

    And the folks in "the cause" who suggested I be shot for having a difference of opinion? Yeah, I didn't sign up for that either. Not a great example of acceptance to set for our kids.

    I do not dispute the formula that awareness = $ = cure. I just have a very different idea of how best to raise awareness. No harm, no foul. I raise awareness with this blog and the charity my husband and I founded after Donna died.

    Thanks for your thoughtful and respectful comments. You are welcome anytime! MTM

  • Um, and why would anyone have an issue with a single thing you said? Boggles the mind.

  • In reply to Lynn Petrak:

    I've spent the better part of two days trying to figure that out, Lynn! Thanks for stopping by, reading, and commenting. MTM.

  • Just so you know MTM - I'm not a Barbie fan either. I had them as a kid - but I thought they were kind of boring. I know being a non-Barbie fan is not a popular position, but it is not a solitary one either. Preach on sista!

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    MTM, I understand your point, and it's your point to make, but believe you are a little off target. I believe the market for this would be small. It would consist (mostly) of those who have been touched by cancer. The people who would buy it would be those wo DO give as much as they can to research and encourage fundraising. Little girls with cancer play with dolls the same as little girls who are not fighting cancer, so why not buy them this doll? If they like it and feel good about playing with it then I really don't care if Mattel profits from it. I really don't care if some random woman in Chicago likes Barbie or not. If they make it, I might even buy one to place with the red marble stone that is my wifes momento from her battle with Leiomyosarcoma.

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    An altehttp://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/events/131699200281203/rnative in support of the fight against childhood cancer....

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    http://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn#!/events/131699200281203/
    An alternative to the commercerilization of cancer.

  • MTM, if your goal is to spread awareness, you have succeeded! I, for one, have felt so touched and become so aware of childhood cancer since Donna's story. You are so on with your point here. I think there are other more important things to consider if you want to support finding a cure! All in all, the publicity with your stance has brought more and more people to your site to read your story and become educated. So, this Barbie drama has at least done some good. :) To those children or adults that wish to purchase one, more power to you. However, I would also do more. And, to the mothers and fathers that walk down the toy isle and get asked "Mommy/Daddy, why doesn't that barbie have hair", TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL. MTM has taught me well. Thanks!

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    http://www.facebook.com/events/131699200281203/
    Go To This page. How is a priced anorexic, boobielicious barbie doll going to make anyone with cancer feel better about themselves? Why do you need Corporate America tell you that you are beautiful? Why not just donate the $20 to St. Jude, St Baldricks, ANY CANCER CENTER instead of buying a doll that does not represent an american girl?! If they are going to make a bald doll, make the American Girl dolls bald. Those dolls actually look like real girls. You are beautiful, you don't need an anorexic barbie to tell you that.

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    I think this is a wonderful Idea, but like what what Mary Tyler Mom stated "Girls with cancer need a bald doll about as much as women with breast cancer need a pink Kitchen Aid mixer...You know what girls with cancer need? They need money. They need lots and lots and oodles and oodles of dollars for the researchers working on their behalf."
    How about donating funds to the cancer centers in need for each barbie that is purchased. They do it with other things, why not barbie? Its a very commercial thing to do and I think it would raise awareness like no other as well as place Mattel on a whole new pedestal for compassion.

  • Spot on, Mary Tyler Mom! It seems to me that this initiative is more about parents feeling helpless to comfort their children during is understandably a heart-wrenching and devastating emotional time. Struggling with their own hang-ups and anxieties about body image, this initiative comes across as a group of adults seeking a corporate branding response to validate their children's self-image, resulting in a grassroots campaign that is sadly misdirected. And what about little boys? Are they not also traumatized by hair loss?

    Full disclosure -- as a fellow BC survivor, I can tell you that many of us were taken aback by the choice of Barbie as a "spokesdoll". While iconic to little girls, Barbie also represents and promotes an unrealistic and often unattainable standard of beauty -- from her flowing hair, to her flawless figure -- both of which have created body image issues for women of all ages -- including adult women who have lost their hair (and breasts) from cancer. A rather dubious choice for a role model, don't you think?

    Mattel's reluctance to develop this product is somewhat revealing. Perhaps they are taking the higher road and don't want to be perceived as making money off of cancer when so many companies are flagrantly duping the public that their purchases are supporting a cause. Rogue cause marketing under the guise of breast cancer awareness is out of control because anyone can slap a pink ribbon on a product and claim the proceeds are going to research. In some instances, such a miniscule portion of the purchase price (sometimes only pennies on the dollar) is being allocated to the underlying cause that companies should be investigated for fraud. (Seriously -- there are stats to support this). People would (and should) be outraged at how rampant this is. In such instances, research would be better served if people made a full donation directly to the cause rather than buying the product du jour.

    Finally, concerns that Komen or one of the other big pink machines will glom onto Bald Barbie are not unfounded, and if they do, you can forget about the proceeds being directed towards pediatric cancers.

    To be fair, I think the intentions are in the right place, but it's all about perception and execution.

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    I was just reading a blog from the American Cancer Society that lead me to this blog. I can't believe what I read from the ACS but there is one thing I agree with in the blog here. We need funding for research, but that's not easy. First we need awareness and the "idea" of the bald Barbie has already reached hundreds of thousands of people making them more aware of children with cancer. Whether Mattel makes a bald Barbie or not people have and will continue to become aware that childhood cancer IS NOT RARE

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    Brian, you are so right CHILDHOOD CANCER IS NOT RARE.

    Everyday in this country 46 children are diagnosed and 7 die... anyone who thinks that is rare needs to visit the pediatric oncology floors and spend time with the children and their families. Can you even begin the outrage if someone went around this country into classrooms, randomly wounding 46 children and killing 7 children? There would be an all out war to get this monstrous killer... well the monster is named cancer.

    I personally have been involved with a childhood cancer foundation as a volunteer for nearly four years and am appalled by ACS pitiful funds, less than 1% for research for these are awesome little heroes.

    As for the Bald Barbie, if it brings any joy to a little girl who is in need of of a loving boost and encouragement, who in the world should dare to be against it? For those of you may not understand, get involved in the reality of the childhood cancer world. Btw, I am blessed to have heathly children and grandchildren but want to be a strong loud voice for my precious courageous kids in this horrible battle that they should never ever be in. <3

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    It's not about the Barbie- it's about AWARENESS of CHILDHOOD CANCER....which in turn brings funding. How and why would anyone say no to anything that raises awareness... My daughter died from cancer at the age of 12. I am well too aware of the LACK of AWARENESS and the devastation that cancer causes. I am all for a Bald Barbie (let's dress her up in GOLD) and anything else that increases AWARENESS of this absolutely NOT "exceedingly rare" disease that robs children of their lives and youth- - and their families of joy and peace.

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