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Bald Barbie Doesn’t Go Far Enough

Why the push for a Barbie cancer doll bothers me

There is a big call for a Cancer Barbie right now, and I am all for making a doll that is representative of cancer for young girls who are experiencing such hardship. I really am. But I don’t agree that Barbie is the platform for this doll, and I don’t think that these parents and advocates are thinking this through at all.

Do you know who else doesn’t have a Barbie that looks like them? Freckle-faced kids. Fat kids. Black kids. Asian kids. Hispanic kids. Native American kids. Every Barbie has the same Anglo-based face and shape, never mind its skin color. NONE of their bodies are representative of a true child—and thank God for that, since if they were, the children would have to crawl to walk and be unable to menstruate.

They all have long, flowing hair that is non-representative of most females, too. There should be tightly-coiled, curly haired Barbies, Barbies with freckles, and above all else, Barbies with properly-proportioned bodies who wouldn't have to crawl if they were real in order to move.

When confronted with things like this, Barbie lovers have maintained that it's a doll and not a real example of life to be emulated; so if they recognize a need for Cancer Barbie, they'll have to do much more for all of the round girls and short girls and freckled girls and birth-marked girls and especially non-white girls whose features vary so differently from her perfect plastic face.

These advocates are simply calling for a hairless Barbie, which can be easily achieved; I did it myself to my sisters’ Barbies as a child. My heart goes out to these young girls who are seeking a toy that resembles them, but in all honesty, most girls do not have that at all in a Barbie. In fact, what they have is a damaging example of what their bodies should not resemble—a blow to their self-esteem, self-concept, and self-love. So why call for this change when it ignores all of the parts of the doll that already neglect the majority of girls to begin with?

Here’s an idea: let’s make a doll base that is generic, healthy, and plain. We can call it MyDoll or iDoll or something. It comes in all colors and it’s hairless. You can purchase hair, faces, accessories, and other features separately—which will make the marketers happy, of course—allowing each girl to have her own unique doll that truly represents who she is.