Balding is a challenge for most adults to face but for children it can be a real trauma. Now, a new movement has emerged on Facebook, calling for toy manufacturers to make bald versions of their most iconic toys, to help children who are suffering from hair loss to come to terms with their condition.
Beautiful and Bald Barbie
The ‘Beautiful and Bald Barbie Facebook page’ currently has 125,000+ likes and counting, while its newly created ‘brother’ site ‘Bald and Brave G.I. Joe’ has gained more than 5,000 likes in just 10 days.
The description on the Barbie page says: “We would like to see a Beautiful and Bald Barbie made to help young girls who suffer hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania. Also, for young girls who are having trouble with their mother’s hair loss from [chemotherapy].” Their target is the toy manufacturer Mattel, which makes Barbie in all her many guises, and the page’s creators hope that if they get enough support for their idea the manufacturers will start to pay attention.
The idea of a bald Barbie is not without precedent, but is yet to see mass production. In early 2011 the company made a one-off bald version of Barbie for 4-year old Genesis Reyes from New York. In that instance the one-of-a-kind doll was made after a friend of a friend of a wife of the Mattel CEO tipped off the toy company that Genesis was sad about losing her hair due to chemotherapy cancer treatments.
Bald and Brave GI Joe
The Bald and Brave GI Joe movement meanwhile is pressuring toymaker Hasbro to make a hairless version of their iconic GI Joe action figure.
They hope that by creating a ‘cool’ boy’s toy without hair, young boys without hair will be more easily accepted at school, and find it easier to cope with their hair loss.
The Facebook group say that, “boys who suffer from hair loss due to Alopecia, Trichotillomania or chemo are often stared at and misunderstood. Most are assumed to have cancer when many have Alopecia. “
Hair loss, particularly in children, is often erroneously assumed to be caused by cancer, when in fact it is the cancer drugs and treatments which cause the hair loss. Alopecia meanwhile is a hair loss condition generated by an auto-immune disorder, and children who suffer from it are generally otherwise healthy.
They group on to say, “we would like to see a strong figure for young boys to relate to during play that has no hair, like them. With the up and coming new GI Joe movie being made it is rumoured Channing Tatum playing GI Joe will have a shaved head for the role. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the new GI Joe action figures in relation to the movie be bald with awareness information on the box and a portion of proceeds to go towards one of the three causes of hair loss in children.
Hasbro and Mattel are yet to comment on the twin campaigns, but supporters are hopeful that they can make a difference in the lives of children suffering from hair loss.