File under “Special Interest”

12 Jan

There is a new Facebook fan page called “Beautiful and Bald Barbie!  Let’s see if we can get it made”.  A couple of mothers have started a “movement” to urge toy maker Mattel Inc. to manufacture a shiny pated Barbie to promote awareness of childhood cancer and acceptance among young girls who have been afflicted by the disease.  Social network activists Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham believe young girls grappling with hair loss due to cancer treatments, Alopecia or Trichotillomania will find comfort and inspiration by a late 1980s Sinead O’Connor styled Barbie.  I am pausing and taking a breath before I proceed.  Inhale.  Hold it.  Exhale.  Okay…go.

As a kid I played with Barbie and her friends, including “Growing up Skipper” whose breasts would magically “grow” when you wound her arm around like she was getting ready play fast-pitch softball.  I would braid my Barbie dolls’ hair, put it in a chignon and sometimes I would make Barbie a brunette with a chocolate scented Mr. Sketch marker.

"I'm mad at my parents" Barbie

I even made one Barbie punk with a spiked mohawk.  I used scissors to clean up the sides and Elmer’s Glue for the lift in the middle.  Ken wasn’t fooled.  He thought Barbie looked like a cross between a back-up dancer from Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” video and a mall food-court poser.  Eventually, her mohawk got bent and I took my scissors out again, creating what was essentially the Ghost of Britney Spears’ Future.  I had myself a “Skinhead Barbie”.

Of course, Cancer Joe will likely lose his beard, too

Getting in on the esteem-building-bald-doll action is the spirit of the same people who made wuss boy doll “My Buddy” happen in 1985.  Suggestions that there should also be a bald G.I. Joe are now on the table so that young boys will have a cancer doll, too.  Inhale.  Hold it.  Exhale.  WTF?  Firstly, when I was a kid, G.I. Joe had a flocked Sergeant Carter buzz cut that was pretty darn close to bald.  Anything more and he would have been mistaken as a Kojak action figure.  Secondly, if G.I. Joe were suffering from chemotherapy induced hair loss, I would hope to hell that the military would excuse him from active duty and let him convalesce at his hometown V.A. hospital.  On a side note, would he come with a camo hospital gown?

Barbie wannabe Jenny Lee

Don’t get me wrong, because I do get it: the idea to give kids a doll that they can identify with, but…Barbie?  I thought that “modern and liberated” women hated Barbie exactly because she stands for everything that is physically unidentifiable or attainable for girls. “Real” women and little girls don’t grow up to look like Barbie and so what “she” exudes is a false sense of what is appropriate beauty, or something like that. Were Barbie to be sprinkled with magic toy dust and become a living girl, she’d be 6’0”, weigh in at 100 lbs and wear a size 4.  With measurements of 39″/19″/33″ she would have to come with a kick stand to keep from toppling over.  I don’t care if it’s “African-American Trial Attorney Barbie”, “Pan-Asian Scientist Barbie” or even “Old-School WASP Stewardess Barbie”, no little girl will ever attain Barbie’s solid rack or high check bones without being injected with Mattel Inc.’s plastic.  And forget a college fund; to identify with Barbie, she’ll need a weave fund. Once “Cancer Barbie” goes into remission, you can bet your sweet ass that her coif will be long, strong and goin’ on.  And you can snap that down in a Z.  Personally, I think that if I were a little girl with cancer, “Cancer Barbie” would hit a nerve.  “Mommy, why is bald “Cancer Barbie” smiling, looking great and playing tennis, but I feel like crap?”

Now, I know that this could evolve into a clever fund-raising idea, and maybe Mattel Inc. will eventually come out with a Chemo Barbie that will be packaged in a pink box and sold in October.  And if they do, I hope they would make her realistic, something that little girl cancer patients actually could relate to, with sores in her mouth, brittle bones, a port site, gaunt, and pissed off.  Oh, and then they could sell her with some accessories, like a freezer full of casseroles, that Barbie doesn’t have any appetite for, from Barbie’s well-meaning friends.  There could be a collection of turbans, a pulp kidney dish and a Snuggie for those “sofa days”.

Despite the grassroots excitement being generated on Facebook, Mattel Inc. issued a letter that they do not take suggestions from outside sources.  Hasbro Inc, the makers of G.I. Joe, has issued no comment.  The truth is that if either manufacturer gets invested in this, then every special interest group is going to want their own Barbie mascot.  First on the list would be a call out for a LGBT Barbie/Ken mash-up.  Can you imagine?  Barbie’s body and Ken’s hands and feet.

"Midtown Kandy"

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One Response to “File under “Special Interest””

  1. Laurel January 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

    Midtown Candy looks a bit like Daryl Hannah, circa 1988. Just sayin’.

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