Hair-loss is unpleasant at all times of life, but it is particularly upsetting for young people. For children who are losing their hair, baldness can be upsetting, even frightening – especially when it is a symptom of an underlying disorder or side-effect of medical treatment, such as chemotherapy. Furthermore, children who look different frequently suffer from bullying. Even when baldness is suffered by a beloved family member, young children can find the sudden change profoundly unsettling
However, there are those who are trying to make things that bit easier for young kids who are suffering from hairloss, by normalising baldness in order to make it less threatening. Last month, we reported on our blog that a campaign had been launched on Facebook to encourage toy manufacturer Mattel to produce a “Beautiful and Bald Barbie”; a hairless version of the fashion doll, complete with headscarves, wigs, hats and other accessories.
“Beautiful and Bald Barbie”
Bowing to the sizeable public demand – the Facebook campaign has over 150,000 likes – this week, Mattel announced that they will be commissioning a special batch of just such a doll; and rather than sell them, they will be supplying them directly to hospitals and hospices. “We have offered small quantities for our Mattel subsidiaries internationally to provide to charity partners in various other countries,” Alan Hilowitz, spokesperson for Mattel, said earlier this week.
“We made the decision not to sell these dolls at retail stores and profit from them, but rather more directly and immediately get these into the hands of children who can most benefit from a play experience with these dolls.”
Baldness: Not just a problem for older people
Efforts such as those of Mattel and the “Beautiful and Bald Barbie” campaign are to be welcomed as a considerate and charitable attempt to ease the emotional adjustment to losing one’s hair at a tender age. For many young people who experience hairloss, such as those undergoing chemotherapy or who suffer from genetic conditions such as Alopecia Universalis, there really is little that can be done to avoid hairloss, and so any effort to make them feel better about their symptoms is of great importance.