NEW YORK Barbie has been an astronaut, an architect, a NASCAR driver and a news anchor.
Now, theres an online movement to get her to attempt what could be her biggest feat yet: going bald to fight cancer.
A Facebook page titled Beautiful and Bald Barbie! Lets see if we can get it made was started a few days before Christmas. After three days, the page had more than 15,000 fans. The goal is to get toy maker Mattel Inc. to create a bald Barbie in support of children with cancer.
Friends Rebecca Sypin and Jane Bingham, who live on opposite coasts but have both been affected by the disease, hatched the idea for the social-media movement because Barbie is an influential childrens toy.
Bingham lost her hair because of chemotherapy treatments to treat lymphoma. Sypins 12-year-old daughter, Kin Inich, also lost her hair this year in her own battle to treat leukemia.
Mattel didnt return calls seeking comment, but the women said they have contacted the company through some general form letters. In return, they said, theyve received form letters that say Mattel doesnt accept ideas from outside sources.
The women say a bald Barbie would provide a huge platform to raise awareness for children with cancer.
Barbie is one of the most well-known toys of all time. She can sell for $10 at Walmart or $7,000 on eBay. Shes taken on all sorts of incarnations throughout her nearly 53 years of existence, crushing stereotypes and showing little girls that they can be whatever they want to be. Theres been an elegant Grace Kelly Barbie; a Barbie in thigh-high pink boots; a tattooed Barbie; a pregnant Barbie friend, and another Barbie friend in a wheelchair.
But Barbie has also been dissed for not being as socially responsible as she could be. Shes best known for her curves, which long have sparked complaints by womens groups that say she imposes an unachievable physical standard for young girls. She was also lambasted when a talking version uttered an exclamation about math class being difficult.
The friends who started the Beautiful and Bald Barbie movement arent natural activists. Sypin, 32, is a special-education teachers aide in Lancaster, Calif. Bingham, 41, is a photographer in Sewell, N.J.
Were not demanding that the company do anything, Sypin said Wednesday. Were just hoping somebody sees this and can help us make it happen.
Overall, Sypin said shes been pleased with the response to the Facebook page. One fan of the Facebook page wrote of Mattel: If they are making dolls that are inspiring young girls with careers then why not make a doll that would inspire young girls who are dealing with cancer.
Some commenters suggested the friends take the movement further and extend it to boys. So they also started an accompanying Facebook page, Bald G.I. Joe Movement.
Hasbro Inc., the maker of G.I. Joe, didnt immediately return a call for comment.
The movement has its critics, too.
Some people have told the women to just take a normal Barbie and shave her hair off to make the same point. Bingham posted photos where she did just that resulting in patchy, unattractive clumps on Barbies head. She also posted digitally doctored pictures of a bald Barbie to show how beautiful the doll could be.
And to people who say that it makes more sense to just donate to cancer research rather than to buy a bald Barbie?
A lot of these people wouldnt have even thought about doing that without this movement, Bingham said.