This week’s crapdate is showing up in a variety of ways, so here it is from a Facebook page created just to spread the message:
“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. Let’s get Mattell’s attention!”
The short answer: “Another option would be to take that money that you probably won’t spend to get a bald Barbie, and instead donate it directly to support cancer research organizations. Cut out the middle man!”
This crapdate didn’t bother me too much the first time I saw it. Or the second time. Now that I’ve seen it approximately four million times, it is annoying the crap out of me, for a variety of reasons, some stupid, some not stupid. Let’s start with the least consequential.
First: Is this crapdate really using “long haired” and “bald” as nouns? That just seems weird. If somebody were describing me and said, “Oh, she’s a medium haired,” I would feel weird. My eyebrows are knitted.
Second: As I said in the short update, why not just donate money that you might but probably won’t spend to buy a bald doll directly to the organization you are purporting to support? Oh, because that means you’d have to spend money, instead of just copying and pasting a status update. Slacktivism: for when you want to look like you give a shit about something ,but really can’t be bothered.
Third: Scarves and hats? Aren’t those used to”¦cover up the baldness? They should make a bald Barbie and then sell her with accessories so that she will be able to hide her shameful head? My eyebrows are still knitted.
Fourth: Can you not just shave a Barbie’s head to get the same effect? At this point, my eyebrows have practically knitted an entire sweater.
Fifth: Mattel already made a bald Barbie. This is on their radar, and “raising awareness” is not really necessary.
Sixth: Mattel has consistently ranked very high in their corporate responsibility efforts, currently sitting at #5 in the world. They partner with Playworks, UCLA Children’s Hospital, The Special Olympics, Save the Children, the National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Trying to browbeat them into being a responsible corporation is like starting a campaign to get Starbucks to put caffeine in their coffee.
Seventh: Quick! Do a Google search! It turns out that there already are bald dolls on the market, and their proceeds benefit cancer patients. These are small companies whose founders were personally touched by cancer, and who have built a philanthropic business in an attempt to make the world a better place. You know how to stamp out those companies? Get a gigantic megacompany to take over their idea and mass produce it. More profits for the megacompany, less diversity on the market, and the loss of a heartfelt, solid product in favor of one hairless version of an extremely popular doll.
Finally, and most importantly: Okay, I get it. Some kids love Barbie, and some kids struggle with losing their hair, or watching their parent lose their hair. But (and this is where I really get angry about this crapdate): the vast majority of kids, with or without cancer, do not look like Barbie. Nor do their relatives.
In order to look like Barbie, the person in question would have to be 5’9″, with 39-18-33″ measurements. Barbie weighs 110 pounds, so her BMI is 16.24, and when the 1965 Slumber Party Barbie was introduced, she came with a book entitled “How to Lose Weight,” with short and simple directions: “Don’t eat.”
Considering that chemotherapy, which is to blame for the baldness of the patient, also causes a loss of appetite and nausea leading to weight loss, the fact that this doll chooses not to eat for superficial reasons is tactless, to say the least.
And sure, she’ll be bald. But she’ll also have big, blue wide-set eyes, light-colored and clear skin, a button nose, and perfectly symmetrical features. There are Barbies with other skin tones, but the projection of beauty is alarmingly narrow. Giving a child with cancer a Barbie doll that has no hair is sending a clear message: you have no hair, but you should still aspire to this kind of beauty.
I know that some kids adore Barbie, and she’s wildly popular. I have a feeling that my own daughter, once she discovers who Barbie is, will covet every incarnation of the doll, as well as every accessory ever made. This is one of those battles that I am prepared to fight. Barbie is a small yet constant reminder that adult women should look a certain, unrealistic way.
Shaving a Barbie’s head does not make her resemble a cancer patient. Instead, Bald Barbie looks like Barbie, with no hair. A beautiful, white, incredibly thin woman with large breasts and narrow hips, forever in high heels, smiling and made up meticulously. Do we really want to send this type of message to little girls who are already fighting cancer? Sure, you may beat cancer, but unless you look like this, you can never truly be a woman. Here’s a bald example, just to make sure you know once you stop worrying about cancer, you can get back to worrying about how “ugly” you are.