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The Globe and Mail

Mattel urged to produce bald Barbie for young cancer survivors

Last year, the toy company Mattel created a one-of-a-kind Barbie for a little girl who had lost her hair during chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Instead of the luscious locks that are the doll's trademark feature (long legs and tiny waist, aside), this Barbie was bald underneath her pink tiara. She was named Princess Genesis Barbie after four-year-old Genesis Reyes.

Now, a growing Facebook-based movement is pressuring Mattel to mass-produce bald Barbie, saying it would boost the self-esteem of women and children who have lost their hair because of cancer or other illnesses. (A Bald G.I. Joe movement has also started on Facebook.)

The comments on the Facebook site have been overwhelmingly positive, and word of the movement has quickly spread online.

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One critical blogger did suggest that calls for a new toy are a distraction from research dollars that cancer patients really need. "Girls with cancer need a bald doll about as much as women with breast cancer need a pink Kitchen Aid mixer," observed blogger Mary Tyler Mom, who wrote about losing her own young daughter to cancer. The organizers have suggested that proceeds from the doll go to pediatric cancer research.

The petition for a bald Barbie comes just days after word that Mattel is planning a Kim Kardashian Barbie to serve as celebrity friend to the original.

Quickie weddings, or cancer awareness? Set aside those qualms about the ubiquitous marketing of cancer. Which doll would you rather your daughter played with?

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More

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