Mattel just announced that they would be creating a hairless doll that will be a friend to Barbie to help kids who are dealing with their hair loss due to a medical condition. Mattel plans to donate the dolls to hospitals and medical centers around the world.
Bravo Mattel, who responded to a Facebook campaign begun by Becky Sypin whose daughter lost her hair due so to chemotherapy, and her friend, Jane Bingham, who also lost her hair due to an illness. What a revolutionary idea by these two women and what a charitable gesture by Mattel. I appreciate when major players in the retail world set the bar higher.
Perhaps Mattel would be willing to raise the bar even higher.
I wonder if the creative minds at Mattel would consider, as they create this new doll prodigy, designing her breasts, waist and hip proportions to more accurately depict an average woman’s body. (We all know the mathematical equation which proves if Barbie were a real woman she wouldn’t be able to stand, even if her feet weren’t high heel ready, due to her breast size to foot length ratio.)
According to WebMD, the average American woman is 5’4″, has a waist size of 34-35 inches and weighs between 140-150 lbs, with a dress size of 12-14. Between the ages of 20 to 60 a white woman’s average weight ranges from 130 to 155. African American women’s average weight ranges from 140 to 170 between the same ages. Hispanic women’s average weight is 132 at age 20 and moves to 154 by age 60.
So we get the picture. Truth is, we have had the picture. We see the picture of the perfectly sized woman staring back at us from all angles and she is not wearing a size 12. We see. Our young daughters see it too. We don’t look like our marketed counterparts.
Even so, young girls love Barbie. I personally resisted gifting my daughter with her very own Barbie. I was sensitive to the body image it would implant in her brain. I knew being a Barbie free zone would not prevent her from struggling with her body image, but it was the only place I felt I could put on the brakes. Eventually I lost the battle, my daughter was the proud owner of several Barbies. She played with them for hours.
Children use play to have fun, to interact with peers, as well as to deal with difficulties in their own lives. Using their very active imaginations, children act out life scenarios that they may not understand. If you watch a child at play you will know something of what is going on in their internal world. The good, the bad and the ugly. Play can be a healthy expression of what a child may not be able to put words. This is why the bald Barbie is so brilliant.
So what if Mattel started a whole new line of dolls? Plastic Surgeon’s Dream Barbie could include as her BFF a Real Woman Barbie. Her tag line could be, I look like you.
If Mattel made a Barbie that looked like a real woman not only would this support children dealing with medical hair loss but also begin the prevention of body dysmorphic disorder. It is a win-win for women.
Perhaps we need a Facebook campaign asking Mattel to update the Barbie mold. It is time the old one is thrown away.