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Mattel under pressure to make bald Barbie

Mattel under pressure to make bald Barbie

Sun January 8, 2012 7:07am

EVERY little girl wants to look like Barbie and four-year-old Ruby Kidd is no exception.

Just like her favourite toy, cute Ruby has bright blue eyes and a brilliant smile.

But unlike the plastic icon, Ruby doesn't have lustrous, flowing locks to match.

Ruby is a cancer survivor and toy company Mattel is under pressure to market a doll that reflects the battle of young sufferers.

A campaign using social networking sites is gaining momentum. It has taken root on Facebook, and has support from Queensland's major cancer groups.

They are calling for a bald Barbie wearing a headscarf or headband for kids undergoing chemotherapy.

Ruby's mum, Tracey Kidd, said a bald Barbie was a lovely idea and could help young girls who lose their hair.

Ruby's hair began to fall out two weeks into her first round of chemotherapy.

"There's so much emphasis, especially on little girls, on their hair and how they (cancer kids) look," Mrs Kidd said. "It's important for them to feel good, especially in hospital."

Ruby, who is from Biloela near Gladstone, is in remission, and staying at the Childhood Cancer Support charity in Brisbane with her family as she starts six months of treatment.

Last year, Mattel created a one-off Barbie with no hair for four-year-old US cancer patient Genesis Reyes. But it was sparked by a request from a friend of the Mattel chief executive's wife.

It has now prompted calls from Hollywood stars, such as Charlie Sheen's ex-wife Denise Richards, for the Barbie to be mass produced.

Supporters also reject the idea that girls could simply chop off Barbie's hair, as it leaves her with undesirable tufts.

Cancer Council Queensland psychologist Samantha Clutton said children were sensitive to the desire to fit in with peers. The doll could help them feel more beautiful.

The Leukaemia Foundation of Queensland also supports the design.

"A hairless Barbie would highlight that bald is beautiful," acting director Kathryn Huntley said.

The toy company did not respond to questions from The Sunday Mail.

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