The Vatican's official daily newspaper has announced support for the sale of a bald Barbie, a doll designed to help children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy or illness.
Over the weekend, L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican's daily newspaper, featured an article written by historian Giulia Galeotti promoting the sale of the doll, the Guardian reports. Mattel released bald Barbie after a Facebook petition for the doll garnered more than 157,000 supporters in early 2012. However, the doll is given directly to hospitals and is not yet sold on shelves.
"Why not sell the bald Barbie?" Galeotti wrote, asking, "Why is there no trace in the real world of this lineup of politically and educationally correct dolls?"
Galeotti goes on to note that Barbie has walked many paths in life with careers as an astronaut, a surgeon, a paleontologist and an ambassador for peace, according to USA Today. She also has a friend named Becky who uses a wheelchair.
Although Galeotti praises Mattel for the bald Barbie, she criticizes the company for the stigmas the doll has promoted for years, saying that Barbie is "one of the most [criticized] and [stigmatized] [dolls], and rightly so," according to Jezebel. Her "perfect and unreal" figure is a symbol of "plastic beauty and vacuous blondeness" and "plastic surgery was part of her DNA, before plastic surgery became routine."
The "The Beautiful and Bald Movement" was first launched on Facebook last December by cancer survivor Jane Bingham. The campaign took off, and in March Mattel agreed to make the doll, officially a "friend" of Barbie, but the company did not want to sell bald Barbie for a profit.
Bingham is elated with the Vatican's support of selling the doll on store shelves.
"We are thrilled with the Vatican's stand and appeal to Mattel to bring these dolls to toy shelves so that they can be in the public eye, not hidden," Bingham wrote to The Huffington Post in an email.
While it is great they want to donate a limited one time production to 'the sickest children' that doesn't help the children who are not in the hospital, or children whose mother lost her hair due to cancer treatment, it doesn't help boost the self confidence of young girls with hair loss all around the world who live with it everyday due to alopecia, Trichotillomania, chemo, progeria, lupus et cetera.
Our big goal is to reduce the stigma of hair loss in women and children, that they should not have to hide their heads and not be seen in public. This would go a long way in bringing awareness to the many causes of hair loss of children and women. Even a bigger step they could donate proceeds to a charity to help these children if they do not want to make a profit from them.
What Mattel is doing is great but it will cause a collector frenzie to get these dolls since right now they will not be sold. Let's make them so everyone who wants one can have one. We are so very happy that the Vatican is standing up for this initiative and sees the good that would come from them being on toy store shelves.
Last March, Mattel made a one-of-a-kind hairless Barbie for 4-year-old Genesis Reyes, who lost her hair after undergoing chemotherapy. When Reyes' hair fell out, she told her parents and doctors that she no longer felt like a princess.
“They can’t really, especially at her age 3 or 3-and-a-half, they can’t really process and understand why they don’t have hair, but they clearly have an understanding that they don’t think it’s right," Kim Krupa, spokesperson from the Cancer Center for Kids in Mineola, Long Island, told CBS News. "And it was so upsetting, and I said ‘We need to make her a princess, make her feel special.'"
That's just what Mattel did. “They made a doll that looks like her that’s bald in a beautiful princess outfit. The box, the packaging is completely ‘Princess Genesis’ and says ’100 percent princess’, it’s beautiful. It’s just amazing – a one-of-a-kind original doll only for her," she added.
Toys R Us currently sells "True Hope" Moxie Girlz and Bratz Dolls, bald dolls created in response to a social media petition to raise awareness about children undergoing chemotherapy, those affected by alopecia or those dealing with a parent with cancer.