When I started my blog a year ago, my intention was to post some of my poetry and writing about nature. I didn’t want my blog to become a platform for my opinions. There are already plenty of those. However, this morning’s story about the Facebook movement to create a bald Barbie has affected me so deeply that I just can’t refrain from using today’s blog to express my thoughts on this movement.
As an eight-year breast cancer survivor, I usually support any movement that would encourage people to contribute money for cancer research. The problem so far is that no matter how much money is contributed, there is still no cure for cancer. Over thirty-nine thousand women died in 2011 from breast cancer, and 13, 500 children are diagnosed with cancer every year.
I’m not a fan of the Barbie doll. I admit I bought Barbie dolls for my girls when they were pre-teens. At that time, body image for girls was not such a major concern as it is today with the emphasis on childhood obesity. We want our girls to grow up with a positive body image, but we don’t want them to believe that the ideal body image is that of a Barbie doll. My six-year-old granddaughter has an athletic build. She plays soccer, takes classes in dance and karate, and is active and beautiful. However, she recently has expressed concern that she is fat. Her arms are fat, she claims, and her clothes feel tight. We cannot take a chance on our children being affected by dolls with a so-called “perfect” body or a doll that is bald because of cancer.
I hope we will all continue to contribute to cancer research. I don’t see how we could not be aware of the need, and I don’t see why we need a Barbie doll to remind us that children get cancer, lose their hair, and fight for their lives. I am sure that the bald Barbie will not then grow her hair back like a child will. Will children with cancer fear they will always be bald even if they are told they will not be? Will the bald Barbie on their shelf remind them long after their cancer battle has been won of a time that was frightening for them?
Let’s contribute to cancer research without always buying a product. Let’s visit children in hospitals, hug them, bring them a soft, comforting toy, and reassure them that their hair loss is temporary and they will soon be well again.
I know this is not a black and white issue, and I sympathize with mothers of children with cancer. I too wish we could comfort children in as many ways as we can, and the idea of a comforting doll makes sense to me. But as a mother and grandmother who has reservations about the Barbie doll’s affect on body image, I’d like to see us find ways to directly contribute to cancer research without having to buy one more product to do it. Let’s offer children our love and hope for their future in a more positive way.
(I am still working on changing the theme for my blog, and one I like is PinkTouch 2 which I am trying today. I think the pink color is appropriate for this blog, but I have others I like also. I like change, so bear with me as my blog’s appearance may change again.)