Is America ready for a bald Barbie?
But a couple of cross-coastal friends are convinced that a bald Barbie doll -- in honor of those who have lost their hair to cancer and other illnesses -- will sell.
They've launched a Facebook campaign to make it happen.
Rebecca Sypin of Lancaster, Calif., and friend Jane Bingham of New Jersey launched "Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Let's see if we can get it made" on Dec. 20. It steadily picked up of "likes" over the holidays, and as of Tuesday it had 7,000.
After the online media got hold of the story (example: Mashable), the page exploded in the past week. At last check it had 101,288 "likes."
"I can't believe how fast it has grown," Sypin said.
Sypin and Bingham are hoping to convince Barbie's maker, Mattel, or another doll maker to come out with a doll that will help inspire those who have lost their hair to cancer treatment, alopecia, or something else.
It's something that both women have had to deal with in their personal lives: Sypin said her 12-year-old daughter, Kinley, is battling leukemia, and Bingham has lymphoma. Thankfully, Sypin said, both are progressing well with their treatment.
A doll would be a potent symbol that they are not alone, Sypin said.
"My daughter handled the baldness really well, but there were other little girls we met throughout treatment and it was harder for them," Sypin said. "They said losing their hair was the hardest part of it all."
She said that neither she nor Bingham are hoping to get rich off this.
"The profit is really not important to us," she said. "We just want a doll that people [who are sick] can relate to. I think it would make them see it as more OK and not so different. They would have something that looks like them and they could relate to."
Mattel's response to a request for comment from the Los Angeles Times:
Mattel appreciates and respects the passion that has been built up for the request for a bald Barbie doll. As you might imagine, we receive hundreds of passionate requests for various dolls to be added to our collection. We take all of them seriously and are constantly exploring new and different dolls to be added to our line.
Sypin was undaunted. "I understand," she said. "But with such a large demand, maybe they could make it happen."
She said she would be happy to see another doll maker pick up the idea. But "Barbie would just be more universal than any other doll," she said. "It relates to someone who is 3 years old on up to 70. Everyone knows who Barbie is. There's no other doll that reaches such an audience."
Sypin said she thinks that such a doll would be a money maker for the manufacturer. All the Barbie collectors would buy it, of course. And so would people with friends or loved ones who had cancer. Sypin also thinks that donors would buy up the dolls and donate them to hospitals where children are being treated for cancer. "I can see a lot of people doing that," she said.
And then there is the Facebook page. At least 101,000 people -- and counting -- say they would also "like" to buy one.
Twitter / renelynch
Illustration credit: Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham